I have started and never finished a few 365 projects, and considered trying again this year, but decided I feel about those sort of the way I feel about New Year resolutions or other things that could be “good for me” but end up becoming a burden as the sense of obligation mounts. I also don’t need to be “forced” to take a lot of pictures. I take a lot of pictures already. Some days, though, I don’t want to take one because I am not feeling inspired.

I thought briefly about doing a “52” project, committing to just a picture a week, too, but that’s not a challenge; that’s just what I do.

I would, however, like to stretch a little, break habits, come at things with fresh eyes. So I’ve landed on something simple, which is to just pick an idea each week and pursue it. Maybe it’s a shooting theme – night, dawn, architecture, lights. Maybe it’s a constraint – a particular lens, some editorial constraint, monochrome. My goal will just be to produce a collection reflecting the idea.

So, this past week, I decided to make it “just light.”

Over the past year or so I’ve put a lot of effort into making presets and playing with color in my images. Though I haven’t set out to rigorously A/B test any of it, I do have one preset that gives my images a particular character, and really, really works for people. I’ve learned a lot about editing in general, and I’ve let myself explore a lot.

I don’t have a real problem with that. I firmly believe that darkroom work is just part of the process of making a good image. It may be delightful to get exactly what you want out of the camera, but it’s beyond okay to explore everything that raw image can be.

At the same time, and especially where color is concerned, I’ve found myself sometimes getting lost in the edits. I lose track of what my camera does, and sometimes I think my presets are a little heavy-handed with color. So my inaugural “idea week” is “Just Light.” I set a few constraints for myself:

  • I shot with my Q2’s “Natural” preset. If I were shooting with a Fujifilm camera, that’d probably be the Astia preset. The JPEGs out of the Q2 aren’t spectacular, so I did give myself a bump on the color setting in camera.
  • In post, I let myself work with contrast, highlight/shadow tone, clarity, texture, and vignette. I didn’t touch vibrance, saturation, or any color controls.
  • I didn’t touch any presets or film simulations in post.