Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Series 10 Great Photography Projects

I personally think photography projects, especially if they are challenging, are great tools to help with your photography growth as an artist or along professional lines.

Projects by their vary nature are time-limited events that have a definite start and end point and by their very nature, attempt to achieve some measure of quality or success, and this last point is key to me.

Being careful and flexible about what you define as your success or quality markers helps to make projects a lot easier.

Don’t pick a hard project or aim too high, and be willing to change your approach as you come to understand more about what is involved throughout its course.

One of the overriding caveats is that undertaking any of these photography projects is that it will take an investment of your time. When all the great photographers say, “always take photographs”  they mean always take photographs. Constant exploring does lead to discoveries and it’s these discoveries like stepping-stones that propel you further along your chosen path and even in new directions.

Over the next few weeks I will list 10 photography projects that could help with your approach as to how you think, react and interact with the photographic backdrop of what you see.

In the spirit of starting the series on projects, I am listing a mini photographic project of my own here.

If you ever wonder about the value of your photography just remember that at some point in the future, someone might be very thankful that your shot was taken, like I am with this group shot below.

I now have a few more precious scanned photos, which date back to the late 1800’s (my biological grandfather was born 1856) given to me by new brothers in Denmark (4 sisters also).

I am hoping that eventually my relatives or their friends from my adoptive parents side will fill in the missing information about this large group shot.
This is an image of my grandparent’s silver wedding anniversary  (65yrs) in 1954 when the whole family got together for a full day of celebrating their very long union. Two (2) years later my parents moved from Denmark to Canada and with time and distance those connections are almost lost now.

So far these are the people I know:

  • 4   My sister – Susanne Nielsen
  • 5   My Dad – Hans-Erik Henriksen
  • 28  Myself – Niels-Peter Henriksen
  • 29  My Mother - Vera Henriksen (Holler)
  • 44  My Grandfather  - (Petersen)
  • 46 My Grand Mother - (Petersen)
  • 50 Uncle - Ole Mersdaek
  • 54  Cousin - Carsten
  • 55  Aunt  – Tove Hansen (Holler) ( twin of my mother)

To all family members and friends if you know the names of anyone here, please add their name and photo reference number to the comments sections.

Thank you very much

Niels Henriksen

Next article in 10 Great Photography Projects is SoFoBoMo 2010

Related Articles

Are you creative enough

Friday, January 22, 2010

Light and Colour on Canvas Blog - Now Live

This is just a quick note to let my readers know that my new Light and Colour on Canvas Blog is operational and just published its first article.

The name and the site was originally a static website, built using Microsoft Front page, where I could display my photos and articles.

As you can imagine hand coding page layout, inserting images etc, can be a bit labor intensive using those tools and therefore it’s obvious why they call them static pages. Too hard to constantly update.

With the advent of good blogging platforms such as this site it became a lot easier to focus on content and worry less about the code thing.

Blogger and are both good but there are limitations to presentation layers. That is why after experimenting with Wordpress themes and configurations, I have finally settled on the version you see.

The Atahualpa theme has variable width, rotating headers images, auto-adjust image for smaller windows and plug-in ready.

I wanted a left and right column blog as I believe there is a need to separate content but I found that most sites with 2 columns on one side were a bit cluttered looking.

The big benefit with Light and Colour is that I will be able to provide links to eBooks, pdf articles as well as display the fine art photographs and paintings that are for sale.

It’s not all completely filled in but at some point it’s good enough and you need to let it go.

“Letting It Go!”  I love the expression on my wife’s face. This was shot from the other recumbent bicycle while still holding a handle bar and the other trying to guess on the right framing with the other hand and not run off the pathway.

Differences between the 2 sites.

Light and Colour on Canvas provides a forum where I can discuss all my art forms and not just photography.  I have, on My Camera World, occasionally presented some of my other artworks when I thought it would help explore creative ideas with photography.

Since photography is still a major creative driver, both sites will focus on photography and the articles will be different from each other.  There is some old and good content on this site, which will be refreshed and posted on Light and Colour from time to time.

I do use 3rd party sites like Imagekind for the sale of some images, but any fine art photo, which are signed, are only available directly from me. I need to hand inspect every part to make sure it meets my high quality standards.

Like any artistic journey I suspect these sites will develop their own personalities as I learn how to express myself artistically.

“The Journey”  My friend Neil, and others, out on  kayaking excursion to LacVert (green lake). Every now and then we would mash-up for some drinks, snacks and good stories as we venture through the connecting lakes.

Feedback is always appreciated because if you want to grow in your craft “seek criticism not praise as praise only makes you do the same thing over”

Niels Henriksen

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is Creativity?

Tough question, almost as hard as asking “What is the meaning of life?”

There is a general consensus of some parts and with my own experiences I will try and give my insights.

For the most part I think every human has innate creativity built within his or her collective genes. It is part of what truly makes us human and able to enjoy the richness and splendor of everyday life.

I also think that there is a formula that helps us unleash, expand and bring to life our creative thoughts.

Creative expressions = Desire + opportunity + technical skills

I am not really sure whether it is Plus, Boolean or other funny mathematical operators but the order does show relative importance, as I understand it.

The images I am displaying here are from an evening where I walked about looking for things that interested me.  Wasn’t sure what would develop but that was the fun part and it lead to one image I really liked and seemed to work that I wrote about in this article.

What I Saw, My Camera Captured and What My Mind Thought it Saw .

There was something that attracted me with the light at the door and walls peering through the trees.  Not every image can be a best seller and some are just for me to enjoy.


This is the key element and without this the other 2 don’t mean much.
It’s often called by other names such as passion, inspiration or even the muses.
It doesn’t have to be big or grand, just a willingness or urge to take something that stirs the mind and unfolds it for you or others in a form where they can see the same vision.

Since you are reading this article and probably other blogs, then the desire is already strong now.

 The lights provided an interesting lead into the bistro and the end of the alley. I just wish that there had been a couple sitting to really ad that strong interest.


For me this is the key element. Opportunity can be pure happenstance where by luck you have a camera with you and then the right scene at the right time presents itself.
This is great when it happens but what is the success rate with this mode?

Success can be increased. It is a lot like fitness training whereby the more you train the more you can do, both in the gym and in your everyday life.

Why not apply fitness-training techniques to your photographic and artistic growth. This part is not learning technical skills with the camera or understanding compositions, it is a lot like endurance training. IF you run a full marathon, as opposed to a half, you get to see more along the route.

That’s why I wrote this article, as a lead-in to the series of “10 photographic projects” that I firmly believe will help. I was going to write my standard one page article listing 10 projects that will help you improve your abilities to create.

I was concerned that to give it proper scope it would be too long and not enough of you would read all of it. Many blog readers tend to skim after a few paragraphs.

Therefore, I will provide more detail for each of these photo projects so that I can better articulate the benefits and joys and sometimes frustrations with each project. Some will only contain one project, others may include 2. These will also be of a greater frequency (2-3 days apart) than I normally produce to ensure that interest remains strong.

I came across a group taking night photography lessons. The tripod just seemed to compliment the legs of the giant spider.  With the slow shutter, you will see some people who are clear as they stood still and others blurry who were moving. I couldn’t find an image that was really strong, as I would have had to move the tripods of the other photographers and since it was a walk about, I didn’t feel like asking each one of them. Maybe next time.

Technical skills

I find this part has 2 components:

Skill with camera: being able to capture the image as desired by using exposure, DOF, focal length, shutter speed. There are many blogs that will help you here, such as

Digital Photography School
Epic Edits
Your Photo Tips

Compositional skills: Understanding how lines, shapes, colours, contrast, soft and hard edges, subject position all help the viewer to move the eye around the image and thereby creating a stronger story or emotion from your image.

George Barrr has written several books on creativity  and provides this advice on  Behind The Lens

These are focus of most of my articles.

I can’t say that I have all the right answers or even understand it completely. Not sure anyone does, but it has been my passion all my life and along that journey I learned some things that I enjoy sharing with you.  Even to this date I still learn from you and others, which is the great part about the blogging community.

Niels Henriksen


Related Posts with Thumbnails