The April 2020 Challenge - discussions and insights

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
In my case, it will be three household shots to get me over the line ... and to go with the other 27 household shots I have taken over the course of this challenge. This quarantine has got to end or else!
Antonio, I'm tempted to put a "funny" as my reaction to your post, but I know just how easily that could be misinterpreted. To get my true meaning such a comment would need to be made face to face when facial expression and inflection in my voice would spell out my true meaning. I can so easily understand how you feel despite not being locked down in my cottage because I luckily have access to private open space. In my case I've been using a rather specialist lens, namely the Olympus 60mm macro for m4/3 and I'm reaching a point where I'd like to change the type of photography I'm able to do. Sadly the social restrictions would prevent that even after the end of the challenge. My lens choice was made with the idea of limited opportunity to roam about outdoors and macro work seemed to be an obvious choice. If I'd been tied down to photography indoors I'd have long since run out of ideas so I congratulate you and indeed others like you in this challenge for finding subject matter from such a limited canvas.

Barrie
 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Location
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Real Name
Antonio
Antonio, I'm tempted to put a "funny" as my reaction to your post, but I know just how easily that could be misinterpreted. To get my true meaning such a comment would need to be made face to face when facial expression and inflection in my voice would spell out my true meaning. I can so easily understand how you feel despite not being locked down in my cottage because I luckily have access to private open space. In my case I've been using a rather specialist lens, namely the Olympus 60mm macro for m4/3 and I'm reaching a point where I'd like to change the type of photography I'm able to do. Sadly the social restrictions would prevent that even after the end of the challenge. My lens choice was made with the idea of limited opportunity to roam about outdoors and macro work seemed to be an obvious choice. If I'd been tied down to photography indoors I'd have long since run out of ideas so I congratulate you and indeed others like you in this challenge for finding subject matter from such a limited canvas.

Barrie
Had you put a "funny" I would have completely understood, as my comment is very much tongue-in-cheek. I don't mind so much not being able to go outside of my home to photograph as I mind not being able to do everything else that I normally do outside of my home (starting with working at my office, meeting clients face-to-face, and engaging in actual advocacy activities). I also really miss the beach. I know, first world problems.

On a more serious note, I do feel for those who have been afflicted (and in some cases, killed) by the virus and for those who are being economically impacted by the lock down. My family is safe and sound and I am very grateful for that.

On a less serious note, there is no way I could have restricted myself to one lens during this challenge. I've used one camera body, but many lenses, including zooms, as the photo (or my whim) have indicated. Finding things to photograph within 500 square meters of living space is tough enough. My hat's off to you for pulling it off.

Cheers,

Antonio
 

MB007

Regular
This month has been interesting, and I'm grateful that you all are here doing this 'thing' and that you welcomed me into your midst. I decided to 'retire' from being a professional photographer shooting special events and portraits as of the first of this year. Since that time I haven't even wanted to look at my camera or all my gear in the basement. My pal David Silberberg told me about this challenge and I thought it would be a good way for me to at least start using my camera again. This was after him giving me advice these last couple of months about mirrorless and 4/3 cameras. Since I still haven't made a decision in that direction, I thought that the easiest thing for me to do would be to pair my Canon 5D MarkIV with my 50mm 1.8. Thinking that I'd focus on shooting wide open and try for some of those moody shots with out of focus elements to them that I've gotten in the past hasn't proved quite as easy as I had thought. My biggest realization and disappointment about the 50mm has been it's lack of a macro capability. I've looked at many of the images others have presented that have a wonderful dreaminess to them, seemingly done quite close-up, and I've been envious. I've also liked the consistency in type of images that some have presented. And the creativity of so many! This challenge certainly has gotten me to create something every day, and for that I'm proud and grateful.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
...I think in the past I've been too concerned about things that shouldn't matter or other oddities.
  • You have to upgrade from the p14mm, it's only an f/2.5.
  • The O17 looks and feels so cool with it's MF clutch and proportions (wider at the mount / slimmer on the end).
  • You can use the aperture ring on PL15 with an Oly body*.
  • The PL15 has the opposite proportional and feel to the O17 as the aperture ring makes the end bigger.
  • You can't reverse the hood on the PL15 so it seems so much bigger.
Hey, David, just a quick question for you - and you'll see I have added italics to one part of what you said ("You can use the aperture ring on the PL15 with an Oly body")---

Well, the thing is - I have the DJI-branded version of the PL15 and when I used it on my GX8, I often used the aperture ring - but now that I've been using it on my Pen F for the last few months - and shooting primarily in A or aperture-priority mode - the aperture ring doesn't seem to work at all when the DJI PL15 is mounted on my Pen F.

Does yours? Or could it be a weird particularity of how Panasonic manufacturer the PL15 for their partners at DJI? or is my copy messed up? or...am I doing something stupid that might be possibly rectified in one of the many complex sub-menus that Olympus is legendary for?
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
This month has been interesting, and I'm grateful that you all are here doing this 'thing' and that you welcomed me into your midst. I decided to 'retire' from being a professional photographer shooting special events and portraits as of the first of this year. Since that time I haven't even wanted to look at my camera or all my gear in the basement. My pal David Silberberg told me about this challenge and I thought it would be a good way for me to at least start using my camera again. This was after him giving me advice these last couple of months about mirrorless and 4/3 cameras. Since I still haven't made a decision in that direction, I thought that the easiest thing for me to do would be to pair my Canon 5D MarkIV with my 50mm 1.8. Thinking that I'd focus on shooting wide open and try for some of those moody shots with out of focus elements to them that I've gotten in the past hasn't proved quite as easy as I had thought. My biggest realization and disappointment about the 50mm has been it's lack of a macro capability. I've looked at many of the images others have presented that have a wonderful dreaminess to them, seemingly done quite close-up, and I've been envious. I've also liked the consistency in type of images that some have presented. And the creativity of so many! This challenge certainly has gotten me to create something every day, and for that I'm proud and grateful.
Meri, I'm glad you're enjoying and that it's also given a bit of insight on what you might want in a new system, m4/3 or other. As I said, one of the benefits of this group is we shoot so many different systems and none of are really flaming fanboys.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
Hey, David, just a quick question for you - and you'll see I have added italics to one part of what you said ("You can use the aperture ring on the PL15 with an Oly body")---

Well, the thing is - I have the DJI-branded version of the PL15 and when I used it on my GX8, I often used the aperture ring - but now that I've been using it on my Pen F for the last few months - and shooting primarily in A or aperture-priority mode - the aperture ring doesn't seem to work at all when the DJI PL15 is mounted on my Pen F.

Does yours? Or could it be a weird particularity of how Panasonic manufacturer the PL15 for their partners at DJI? or is my copy messed up? or...am I doing something stupid that might be possibly rectified in one of the many complex sub-menus that Olympus is legendary for?

NOPE, that was a typo :doh:, you can't use it on an Oly body. I added a visible edit to that original post.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Thank you everyone for your kind words! I have to return them right away: Overwhelmingly, it was a joy to organise this challenge due to all the supportive and engaging attitudes I had the pleasure to witness! It was truely rewarding, thanks you all very, very much.

My personal wrap-up is a bit of a lengthy one (who'd ever thunk it ... duh). I'll start with a couple of personal observations and finish with more general things.

First and foremost, I truely loved seeing everyone's images and felt empowered by our collective efforts. We gained many interesting insights (pun intended) and saw wonderful creative work as well as praiseworthy perseverance. Congratulations to all participants - fantastic turnout, great outcome!

As for myself, I was virtually forced to give up on my original project, getting to know the GR III and make it work for me, because the camera caught some serious dust that I can't seem to remove with the means I have at hand. After that, I dithered - and made that a part of the challenge by using another neglected camera with seriously neglected lenses for the last 10 days. The results I was able to get from all this feel mixed, but very much worth it - mainly because I had to push myself at times to go out and shoot, and for the most part, I succeeded, and that's a good thing in itself in these trying times. My impressions, summed up:
  • The Ricoh GR III is superbly capable, but fiddly and just not my style - and frankly, it just doesn't meet my expectations as to how I should be able treat such a camera; I certainly didn't rough it, so the outcome is very dissappointing. Time to move on (i.e. to move *it* on once it's been restored to good working order).
  • As much as I like the Nikon 1 V1 in principle, it certainly feels a bit sluggish by comparison, as well as fiddly in actual use, even though I have to confess I like shooting with it a bit better than using the GR III, mostly because of the EVF and the quick AF action. I'm a bit lukewarm about the 10mm f/2.8, though: It's an okay lens, but doesn't have the magic of the 18.5mm f/1.8.
  • The last phase with the Nikon D750 was the most revealing and interesting: Shooting a DSLR with old style AF (screwdriver action) was interesting, though I have to state here that so far, three of the four old lenses left me somewhat cold: The 28mm f/2.8 AF (I), 35mm f/2 AF and 50mm f/1.8 AF (I) aren't that reliable optically, though the 50mm f/1.8 is quite capable (I just don't like its signature much) - even though sometimes they pleased me with distinctive classic rendering - they can be fun, but not much more. The 50mm f/1.4 AF (II) is a mixed bag (which definitely explains its somewhat controversial reputation), though a surprisingly enjoyable one: It's sharp wide open in the images center *at closer focussing distances* (under roughly two meters/six feet), but really mushy for higher distances - so, it's a solid enough people lens wide open and nice for documentary work, but not so good for mid-range subjects. Stop it down to f/5.6 to f/11, and it really starts to deliver at all distances; f/2.8 is the "safest" wide aperture - which is fast enough for most outdoor work. That's good enough for me on the whole - definitely a keeper, and worthy of my fond memories of it from my film days. Finally, the 20mm f/2.8D, really merits the "sleeper" moniker for me - it's a much more interesting lens to shoot with than I had thought, and quite a good performer, too.
All in all, I was lucky that the rules were less strict this time around; however, I'm ready for a different kind of challenge next time (as in: A true traditional "Single in" would be something to try and get through again; but maybe that's just me).

Now, the outlook:

The next official "Single in" Challenge is set to be held in October. This stands as long as, and I don't say this lightly, the community doesn't wish for an earlier date. Furthermore, a couple of our senior members, among them long-standing participants, have voiced their desire for a more restricted format - and called for a traditional "Single in" round; I think that should be doable, but we still have to keep in mind that it's much, much harder with any kind of lockdown in place (too many restrictions can kill the best of intentions), so I leave it to you to tell me what would work for you - and when. On a more personal note, I'll definitely do a personal project come July, so opening that up for the community wouldn't be too much trouble. However, a formal Challenge needs careful considerations and manageable conditions - it wasn't easy (or even possible) to balance *all* needs this time, but we got there for the most part, again, thanks to everyone involved.

And now, another little incentive for those interested (and only for them!): If there are enough takers, I'll continue the daily shooting and posting routine for the foreseeable future - simply because it's something I almost always do anyway, and because I think it's something useful, considering ... Anyhow, if you want (and I'm talking about a handful of people here, that's good enough for me), there'll be daily threads in the "Challenges" subforum (or in a dedicated sub-subforum if necessary). The only condition: one single(!) shot taken on the day you post it. It'll be impromptu otherwise, so no obligation to participate or to restrict your gear choices. And as for duration: If it peters out, it peters out ... but why should it? I definitely think it's worth a try ...

M.
 

jyc860923

Veteran
Location
Shenyang, China
Real Name
贾一川
Thank you Matt for the beautiful thoughts, it's sad to hear about the problem with the GRIII, I had a chance to try it out before and I didn't end up liking it despite what people say, I guess I'm just not sure what I'd do with it.

As for the continuing daily threads, I for one would like to try take the challenge as I've found with the monthly challenges I'm left with many memorable shots, so it's definitely worth doing, I'm not proud of skipping too many days on this Apr.2020 challenge but I've felt it being much harder to do in Apr. than last summer/autumn, anyway I'll keep shooting.

And I also want to thank you guys for, I don't know how you recommend photos to the front page but one of mine got up there and imagine my excitement when I saw that, so thank you for making this place so nice and supportive.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
Definitely a big thanks to @MoonMind. I probably won't be able to keep up with an ongoing daily, but I may post from time to time.

More restrictive, "traditional" Si is fine with me. I think I only missed 2 days (3?) with my selected kit. I probably could have grabbed "something" around the house with the selected kit, but it would surely have ended up being that the more interesting shot of the day would have ended up being in the alternatives thread. Not the really a problem, just an observation.

So if the next Si is October, maybe a less restrictive in between and then alternate? Or maybe some other personal theme in between so maybe it's the theeme and not the gear that's consistent?
 
Thanks Matt and all who participated. The challenge was useful and enjoyable for many reasons, I try to open up a bit later (if anyone is interested :) )
About the future challenges, I must admit that the more strict rules are maybe something that interests me. It challenge ones creativity a bit more, and gives your brain more to consider. But I'm happy to take part whatever. Regardless whether it's going to be easy for me or a bit difficult.

This year lockdown situation gave some really good opportunities to take pictures otherwise impossible. Some of those pictures touches me very deeply, and my own I don't dare to share publicly.

The challenge is good way to learn something about yourself and your photography. And this time I learned a lot, also things I would have liked to stay unfound. About the gear, I love my Dƒ and even more I like the idea owning it and being capable to shoot with my first Nikkor lenses. But to say the truth, Dƒ is not going to be my everyday camera. The quality it has build-wise is certainly more than I need, but ergonomics, not so much. And I also found out that the photo-taking process is somewhat broken for me, and it distracts a lot. With certain lenses I got lots of keepers and enjoyed using it. But with some others, only pleasure from nostalgia.

I also realized that I'm not fully recovered from my difficulties past years. Nothing too serious, only sorrow because of the death of my father being the most important and the situation my younger son has. And it effects heavily how I can concentrate and commit to these type of challenges. I pushed myself out with the camera, and occasionally during this April challenge I really enjoyed and had fun. Photography certainly is therapeutic for me, but I longer for zen type shooting now and look forward doing it during the summer.

But thanks to all being part of this month's trip and we'll continue next time. Take care and be safe and healthy.
 
Also from me a big Thank You to Matt @MoonMind. Great organization and moderation.

Good things of this challenge for me:
  • The incentive to go shoot every single day. I made pictures I wouldn't have made otherwise.
  • The abundance of pictures from fellow participants with very different visions, really inspiring.
  • The freedom to switch lenses during the challenge. I discovered soon enough that sticking to one lens, and a prime at that, wasn't going to work for me. As I said earlier, I get frustrated by limiting myself to one lens and I don't get anything positive from it. This means I very probably won't participate in a future standard "Single in..." challenge where you have to pick your lens for the month.
Can't think of any negatives really, it has been a good ride. I'm curious to find out if I keep on shooting every single day from now on, probably not, but it reaffirms my notion that going out shooting is the best thing I can do in this hobby.

Matt @MoonMind has put down out a thoughtful overview about options for future challenges. I don't feel I can add any meaningful insights to that, I'll be interested to see what the future will bring.
 

pictogramax

All-Pro
Location
Zemun, Serbia
It's interesting to read these comments, as was following all the diverse images throughout the challenge. Completely opposite to Ad's feeling, I find it quite enjoyable and overall liberating to shoot with one camera/one lens combo - it frees me from debating with myself what to choose and what to use and puts me on track of focusing more on the subjects. The first two or three days I didn't get along too well with my decision to use Jupiter 8, I found it's inability to focus close a bit annoying, but continuing to work with it I got to know it, got to know the distance and "look" it will give me, and started adapting to it's vision. This created a certain unity and overall style to the whole series. In the end I am more pleased with the results than I anticipated at the beginning of month.

A good part of April I kept looking for another vintage Russian 50mm I have, an Industar 50, that I remember being quite pleased with, but it was nowhere to be found :-( Only recently, by giving up and looking for something else, I found it at the bottom of a bag a stopped using several months ago :) So I made a couple of side-by-side shots and I still like it more, even though it's 'just" f3.5 lens. It cannot give the same amount of shallow DOF, and is not as dreamy as Jupiter, but I prefer it's rendering. A candidate for the next challenge?
A - INDUSTAR50 VS JUPITER8.jpg

C - INDUSTAR50 VS JUPITER8.jpg

E - INDUSTAR50 VS JUPITER8.jpg

F - INDUSTAR50 VS JUPITER8.jpg
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
Call me a purist or a masochist but I like the idea of one camera, one lens. However I'm beginning to have more trouble with the posting of one photograph a day on the day it's taken. I live in a small rural parish, am retired and don't travel a great deal, indeed have little reason to travel outside the parish. Over the years I've probably exhausted many of the subjects in the parish, so whilst I would like to feature some of the nearby villages or small towns it seems perverse to make a special trip to then only be able to use one of the photographs taken at that location, and making 30-31 special trips to get a wider variety of subjects is not on. In using one camera, one lens the learning is in the use of the camera for a variety of subjects that would present themselves in a new location, I don't feel that the learning is in using the combination every day. But there, as I stated one day in the challenge I'm usually out of step with my fellow human beings. Given the insistence of posting on the day of capture I might not be participating in future, I'll be just photographing the same subjects and you'll be seeing the same subjects.

In respect of the suggestion of a continued challenge thread starting now I might dip in and out of contributing to that, but it won't be every day by any means. It certainly wouldn't have been today for example, frequent gusty showers. Tomorrow looks better and I feel the need for a change from macro work.

Thanks all for another successful challenge.

Barrie
 
And now, another little incentive for those interested (and only for them!): If there are enough takers, I'll continue the daily shooting and posting routine for the foreseeable future - simply because it's something I almost always do anyway, and because I think it's something useful, considering ... Anyhow, if you want (and I'm talking about a handful of people here, that's good enough for me), there'll be daily threads in the "Challenges" subforum (or in a dedicated sub-subforum if necessary). The only condition: one single(!) shot taken on the day you post it. It'll be impromptu otherwise, so no obligation to participate or to restrict your gear choices. And as for duration: If it peters out, it peters out ... but why should it? I definitely think it's worth a try ...
That would be right up my alley!
 

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