photography and photographs understood

Daily Photographs

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: Jul 2013; revised: Mar 2018; readers past month: 531

For the past couple of years, I’ve been transitioning away from SLR cameras and others, to rangefinder cameras. I have a film rangefinder camera, a Zeiss Ikon that I like very much. And I have three m-mount lens for which the Zeiss Ikon is made. To go with these lens, I’ve been wanting to buy a digital rangefinder camera, but they’re expensive. This past year the price dropped significantly, by about fifty-percent. So, I sold three cameras, a couple of lenses and several other pieces of photography equipment to be able to buy a Leica M8.2 camera, a digital rangefinder camera.

To help me to become more familiar with the Leica M8.2 camera, I’ve decided to go out and take pictures each day. My plan is to use the same camera and lens combination, my Leica M8.2 camera and Zeiss 50mm f/2 ZM lens. By taking pictures each day with the same camera and lens, I hope become so familiar in time with the equipment that I will be able to focus on improving my skills as a photographer.

There are a few rules on which I decided for this project. The first rule is that I must take thirty-six pictures each day—no more and no less. This is the number of photos in a typical roll of film. Although I’m using a digital camera, by confining myself to a fixed number of photos, I force myself to be prudent in taking pictures. When there is no limit to the number of photos, I find that I tend to photograph carelessly. If I were to allow myself to take less than thirty-six photos, I might somedays stop after a few photos, thinking I have one good shot for the day. That would preclude me from getting the practice I need. So, thirty-six photos a day is the rule.

Another rule is that I must take pictures away from my home. I cannot rely on sitting at home and photographing things about me. I need to get out and photograph people on the street or in stores or elsewhere. For now, I will require that the photographs of the day be of people that I don’t know. It’s not fair having a friend pose for me. I want to free myself of my inhibitions of photographing strangers; I need to be a bit daring. The Leica M8.2 camera is fairly quiet and inconspicuous, so it shouldn’t be hard to do. However, photographs from behind do not count. At least one of the persons in the shot must be facing me, or it must be a profile shot. Besides photographing strangers, I want to avoid tourist scenes. I want daily life on the street, wherever I am each day.

From the roll of photos of each day, I will select the best one. I will allow myself to edit that image using post-production, image manipulation software. I use generally Adobe Lightroom and GIMP. Although I may edit excessively the image of the day, I won’t edit it once the day has ended. That’s another rule for this project. I want to see how my photographing and editing improve over time. If I go back and edit old images days or weeks later, I would mask that progress.

Once I have selected and edited an image for the day, I will post it on a page of this site. If you’d like to see the photos, look occasionally at the Street Photography album on this site.