Hinshaw column: Home photo project

Published 12:05 am Monday, November 9, 2015

By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post

On days when the weather is rainy, on days when it is easier to curl up and take a nap, on days when your creative juices have turned sour or bitter to the taste, take on a home photo project.

Yes, a home photo project. You don’t have to travel. You don’t have to go out into the rain, although there are good home photos to be made in the rain. Look around your home and see if there are not some items that catch your eye. Maybe you have a collection of salt and pepper shakers. Maybe you have a gorgeous flower sitting in your window. Maybe you have a dozen pairs of old shoes that have well-worn character. Get out your camera or smartphone camera, if you must, and get to work on your home photo project.

When an idea registers in your mind, it is time to get started. Being creative can be a psychological relief to express yourself. Even pick an idea that might seem hard for you to express. Force yourself to tackle the struggle. Look for the little things in your daily life in your home, and inspiration will come. There is more inspiration for projects in your home that you might think.

Do it for yourself. Create for yourself.

Photography writer Scott Bourne wrote, “What’s NEW in photography is not NEARLY as interesting as what’s YOU in photography. It’s the YOU in your pictures that we all care about. It’s YOUR interpretation … that will be different from all the rest.”

You have a “point of view” about your project that you would like to share with others. In your heart, in your mind, in your memories there is a personal “point of view” that is important to you.

Bart Jacobs says you become more creative when you “water the seed.”

“Watering that seed means being creative by doing what you enjoy doing.”

That is what I did with my home project of making photos of the things at my home that we keep in mason canning jars. Admittedly, most of my canning jars are antique glass jars, but that doesn’t really matter in the photo.

In one jar, I found a handful of the glass marbles that I played with in elementary school. There were marbles of all colors, even some “cat eye marbles” all chipped and scratched up from hitting gravels when I played at 8 or 9 years old. Oh, yes, “cat eyes” are the clear marbles with a streak or wave of bright color in the center.

My mother had collected old buttons in a jar, just in case someone might ever need a quarter-sized red or blue button on another dress in the future. My wife, Sammie, has added her own stash to the button jar.

I have an old blue-tinted quart jar with homemade hard candy of all colors stored there. The colors of the  rainbow and more are piled in the jar. They taste good, too.

In the workshop, there is a Gerber’s baby food jar filled with an assortment of nails. There are roofing nails, fence nails,and finishing nails jammed into that jar. The jar sits next to my grandfather’s old hundred-year-old hammer with its homemade wooden handle. Oh, yes, the baby food jar is a reminder that my 37-year-old daughter, Heather, once enjoyed the creamed carrots or whatever came in the jar many years ago.

My photo setup was quiet simple. I used a black cloth on the kitchen table. My base was a  small light table once used for editing my negatives with a light over the arrangement. It could have been a home lamp or reading light, but it was a cheap LED photo light.

I used a 55mm micro lens so I could photograph really close, but another lens would have worked as long as it would focus within a foot of the jars.

For the jar of buttons I did use an 8mm fisheye lens to get some distortion into the image. Hey, I did have to enjoy playing with the image. You will enjoy figuring out this image.

Look around your home. Pick out a project and challenge yourself to be creative and have some fun with the project.

Wayne Hinshaw is the retired photo chief for the Salisbury Post.