This assignment reminds me of one of my first-year photo classes at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a studio class, and we had to photograph an egg. Yes, a simple egg that you fry for breakfast.
It was one of the more difficult yet one of the most memorable assignments of my college years. We not only had to create the perfect optical density in the shadows and highlights, but we also had to make an interesting photograph (we were shooting and hand processing black-and-white film). We had control of three aspects: the exposure, camera position, and lighting. It's essentially what you had to work with, albeit with unlimited subject matter.
But what the assignment really came down to was the lighting—seeing, creating, and looking at how light can change the look and feel of a simple object like an egg. If you haven’t tried photographing the same scene at different times of the day, you should give yourself the assignment. It can really open your eyes to see how light can change the look, but mostly the “feel,” of your photographs.
I hope this assignment will make you look at light in new and invigorating ways as you continue to make pictures. I really have been enjoying your photographs, which show such a wide breadth of geography, subject matter, and people, but, most of all, everyone’s enthusiasm for the photographic process. As the assignment window closes, I’ll be editing my favorites and will comment on each image to provide my insight. I wish you all the best with the remaining time.
Ben Long is an award-winning photographer and senior editor at Macworld magazine. He lectures around the world.
Ben Long is a San Francisco-based photographer, writer, and teacher. The author of over two dozen books on digital photography and digital video, he is also a senior contributing editor to Macworld magazine, and a senior editor at CreativePro.com. His photography clients have included 20th Century Fox, Blue Note Records, Global Business Network, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Pickle Family Circus, and Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Don Byron and Dafnis Prieto. He has taught and lectured on photography around the world, including workshops at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence and a class for imaging engineers at Apple, Inc. He occasionally dabbles in computer programming, and has written image editing utilities that are used by National Geographic, the British Museum, and the White House.