Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A day in the life of the world project
On May 15th I participated in a world wide documentary photography project that is essentially "A day in the Life of the World" though ADAY.org
As a kid I was a huge fan of the book "A day in the life of America" shot by the worlds most credible photojournalists. I have long waited to do a project such as this.
You can find my shots at www.aday.org/profile/32599
So about that day:
On May 15th I was super excited about the event, I even met with my local photography group the night before to brainstorm what to shoot. I have wanted to do a project like this for years.
I originally planned to really focus on people, local religious groups, dance groups, something very social.I was going to really live that National Geographic journalist dream for a day. Of course things don't always go as planned, long work hours and a wrong turn down a country road changed the story.
The morning hours were fine, mostly I focused on my young daughter as she woke up and got ready for school.
I visited my dads who is an antique collector so I knew that would be a good shot. Getting him to actually be in the shot was a challenge as he said "Well just shoot the stuff, that is interesting not me". I had to explain that him being in the shot puts this collection of stuff in context.
I did take some commute shots by rigging a magic arm to the passenger inside door handle. To shoot I used an intervalometer, the shots I felt out turned out just so so.
I did shoot some food shots for breakfast and lunch but neither turned out as anything cool. The lunch one had to be shot with a cell phone as not to freak out my co workers with a big camera.
I had about 45 minutes before lunch to escape. I debated where to go to get good people shots. I went to Leu Gardens a popular Botanical Garden in Orlando Florida thinking at that time of day many older couples would be there, Ironically the only thing I ran into while walking around the massive garden was a turtle crossing the walkway. I got a few garden shots and then went back to work.
I work in the video game industry so I am very restricted what I can shoot at the studio due to intellectual property issues but I was able to set up my room for a single shot to really show what that world is like...sometimes I feel like I work in Willy Wonka's mysterious Chocolate Factory.
After work (had to work an extra hour..dang it) I headed out to a sleepy town called Winter Garden to capture the laid-back culture there. Unfortunately I met with a massive rainstorm as I approached the town (I did get a quick shot of it through my sunroof from the highway). The town was damp and mostly empty by the time I got there except a grandfather and his very young grand-kid who was out to play in the fountain.
After leaving Winter Garden I was going to explore some of the backwoods behind Lake Apopka, perhaps to find some cool old buildings or the like. I got totally lost and had to use the GPS to get me out of there. Perhaps the only cool thing that happened on this mishap was that I passed by an impressive group luxury homes on a hill with some dramatic clouds, that I shot.
30 minutes later I found myself on a familiar highway but had felt like I had wasted valuable time. I went to Lake Apopka to get the sunset (a lake famous with local photographers for sunsets) . Once at the lake I chatted with a couple local photographers there also shooting; neither knew about the aday project so I gave them the details. I stayed for probably 30 minutes to catch the twilight and then started home.
I rigged up my "Magic Arm" for some long exposure night shots while driving , once again using my handy intervalometer trigger. Out of the 20 or so shots one was clearly the winner.
I arrived home and ate dinner and pondered what to shoot next but everything that came to mind was about to close or had closed. Rather than drive around without a clue I just shot some scenes at home that reflected my life.
I don't know if I ever got that perfect "A day in the life shot" but the experience was certainly a good one. You need a project like this every now and then to remind you to get out of your shell and see the world.