Advantages of goal-based photography projects

Oh my! Have things degraded so quickly that at this point in my blogging career that I’m already resorting to dispensing self-help advice. Well, not quite. You might recall that I said that this blog would be about photography and related topics. So what does the title of this post have to do with photography and accomplishing capturing images for one purpose or another?

Well, quite a lot really. A few weeks back, we were experiencing a heat wave here in Cape Town and together with windless and cloudless days (kind of like today) it brought about a flat, glassy ocean along the road that I travel to work daily. Owing to a variety of factors, this meant that there were many boats (vessels for the more nautically inclined) parked (anchored) just offshore, obviously where the water is significantly deeper than my ankle-deep (my perfect depth for swimming). Having travelled for a few days with my camera gear in the car, I decided to stop a few times to capture my vision of the boats offshore and see what happened.


After a couple of hundred frames, I began to wonder where this was going and what I’d do with the images once they were buried in my photo catalogue. I began to ponder what a cool collection of images they would make as a series. The beginning was easy – that was the first press of the shutter, but what would be the end? 1000 frames, 5000 frames? Until there were no more boats?

Well, I decided that the best option would be to travel with my gear and keep my eyes peeled for more images matching the predefined theme i.e. boats offshore, and shoot them when time allowed. Or even make time to get out there and shoot them at any time of day or night. And to get it done in all kind of weather. Weather permitting of course :-)! I’d shoot until winter, then collate the best 100 images and then perhaps self-publish a book on the theme.

This gave me a number of parameters on which to base the project. By its nature, a project cannot be open-ended, and must have a defined start and end. There should also be a scope to work with as well as a set of deliverables by which the success can be measured. Note, if purposefully left out failure as I’m shooting for my own edification and so the only real failure is if the book is never published. But stay tuned, it’s going to happen!

So, there you have it. My photographic project. Or at least one of them. It’s bite-sized and well defined. I’ve included a few images that I have so far. Are they the best images you’ve ever seen of boats? Probably not, but hopefully, as a body of work, they’ll be able to stand their ground.  And there are plenty more where these came from… 😀

     Aperture: ƒ/4.5 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Focal length: 190mm ISO: 100 Shutter speed: 1/1000s
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One Response to Advantages of goal-based photography projects

  1. Leslie Ives says:

    You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful city… with every changing weather conditions. I look forward to seeing more of the boat series. I guess the boats (vessels) don’t come close in unless the weather is good so no chance for reeling seas and the like. But I do see some early morning wake ups in your future.

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