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One year with Sony Alpha cameras and ZEISS E-mount lenses. Developing my own photographic eye in a in a scratch book manner. Hunting the stream of inspiration and sharing it through a popular blog platform.
This is what 'Days of Zeiss' is all about.




Start a project!

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Touit 2.8/12 – f/14, 0.4sec, ISO100, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Touit 2.8/12 – f/14, 0.4sec, ISO100, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

In the previous post I wrote about using one prime lens plus some limitations to come up with interesting images that convoy your own way of seeing things and world around you. This is of course an interesting exercise which one should definitely try out, but on a general level it is also all about having limitations and working within them to produce something that is different from your everyday photography. There are of course different ways of introducing limitations to your photography and using them as a tool to drive your own development as a photographer. Now that I've wrote about this simple 'one prime exercise' I want to encourage you to pick up a project.

Starting a photography project is a superb way to develop your photography in a meaningful way and I encourage everyone who identifies himself as a photography enthusiast to try it out. Doing a photography project is about having some common theme that connects your individual photographs and sets – figuratively speaking – limits to your photographic endeavors. It could be anything from documenting a single happening, person or thing to more abstract ideas like finding your own photographic style or creating a new look to your photographs. One simple way to define your project is, for example, to choose a theme you think you're interested in and then try to come up with a common repeating theme inside that theme. Landscapes with some common element, color or something else within them, or similar portraits of the persons that are important to you – the possibilities are endless of course. Once you've decided the theme of your project you will soon find out how it changes your photographic eye and how you search for suitable pictures. It will also give your photography some reference points and your images stops to floating in the air: with the guidelines you've set for yourself you will easily separate the good ones from the rest. All in all, the project you have determined yourself will give guidelines to your photography and also some limits which will force you to work with your photographic eye.

The 'Days of Zeiss' is of course my own photographic project for this year and one goal that I've set myself is that I should stay photographically active throughout the whole year and keep on pushing myself to create (hopefully) interesting pictures. Finding my inspiration again and staying there with the flow to record and capture the life I'm living. Creating those pictures that I find meaningful later on and being grateful for those little moments that matter most. I know that without this project I would eventually just slide off, give up or have notable pauses because that's the way the human mind works when there is no clear guidelines to follow or goals to achieve (bad light, not feeling like it, too hurry to concentrate on it, etc., we know it all). Doing it in public and with some support from Sony & Zeiss will force me to work for my inspiration and pictures - and in the end I will be grateful for all the photographs I did and all the small moments I captured.  

But starting a project is not the only advice I give as I also want to emphasize that with all the modern technologies available one should do it in the net: build a blog, start an Instagram-account, work with different picture sharing services like 500px and such. However you are going to do it, I cannot recommend sharing your work with others enough as it will have so much positive benefits to your photography starting from inspiration and ending with some constructive criticism that will make you see your own work in a different light. With the self-initiated projects there is always a risk that one will give it up, but once you've build the blog and everything for your project and have found the people who are genuinely interested to follow up your endeavors, you'll see how much the shared positive energy with other photographers like you out there can change your photography. Thinking of starting a project? Highly recommended!

Ps. I did a quite in-depth and lengthy interview with Dr. Michael Pollmann from ZEISS who is a product manager for the Batis lens family. Head over to ZEISS's own Lenspire to check it out as there is lot of interesting stuff about the Batis lenses: New lens family for the new era – interviewing Dr. Michael Pollmann from ZEISS.