Thirteen Exercises – Part 2: I Shot that Cow Ten Times

INTRODUCTION/RECAP: I recently read through ’13 Creative Exercises for Photographers’, an article by Todd Vorenkamp posted by B&H Photo Video (recently discovered a version on petapixel.com – links to both at the bottom of this post) and thought it would be interesting to go through each and bore you with the details. Today I did the second exercise.

Exercise 2: Ten of One

The instructions for this exercise were simple: Take 10 unique and/or abstract photographs of 1 small subject. For my subject I chose a small plastic cow my daughter had brought home with her from a class trip to Spain in 2007 when she was 13. Her name is Lechesia. She had been filled ice cream [from my daughter: If memory serves, it was like those cafeteria cups with half chocolate, half vanilla]. Until earlier this week, she had been sitting around our kitchen since then near the stove where it had been accumulating a veneer of cooking grease and dust ever since. (Relax, I cleaned it up a bit before starting this exercise.)

My daughter in Spain the day she got the cow [From a 7 megapixel picture (which was good stuff back then) save) that was converted to .3 megapixels when Facebook got a hold of it. Used GIMP to clean it up a bit]

Again, here’s how I cheated:

  • I will admit to taking an initial ten pictures not liking any but a couple of them and starting over again so, closer to twenty pictures (do the others count if I deleted them?)
  • Not sure if this is cheating, but for the past few days the cow has been sitting on my desk – this was before I started doing these exercises, so the cleanup and move were not premeditated. The directions, as I quoted above, were pretty spare, so I’m not sure it counts as cheating that I took the cow outside for a couple of shots.

    There’s another exercise later on (7: Portable Subject) where I’m supposed to carry an object around with me and make sure that it’s included in all my shots, but I feel this is different. My interpretation is that in this exercise the subject is the object, in the other is it’s the location.

I’m sharing all ten photos here because… well, who wouldn’t want to see ten pictures of a plastic cow? Who? (Might be you, so… oh, well, sorry!)


Image 1: Happy cows, they say, come from California. This unhappy cow came from Spain. I can’t make a blanket statement about the mental state of cows in Spain, but I’ve never seen this one smile. Ever.
Image 2: European cows tend to prefer soccer (‘Fútbol’ in Spain). When asked about the game, Lechesia, attempted to demonstrate using some large marbles I had, but it’s been so long that she got a little confused.
Image 3: No longer filled with candy, Lechesia has been using her copious stomach to store coins she finds around the house. She’s amassed a small fortune (for a cow).
Image 4: An unruly bit of hair on the top of her head. Yes, Lechesia has a cowlick.
Image 5: Lechesia often stands in front of the window, longing to go outside. I accommodate when I can
Image 6: Lechesia, like most cows, loves grazing. American lawns, however, don’t taste as good as the ones in her home country. ‘Moooooooooo!’ she says. [Moogle Translate tells me that she said ‘you’d think they’d spice it up a bit with some saffron!’]
Image 7: What makes Lechesia an extraordinary cow is her ability to climb trees. Getting down is a bit difficult, but fortunately she didn’t climb beyond my reach.
Image 8: Enjoying themselves until the cow comes home
Image 9: Lechesia enjoys art and has a collection of paintings by a famoos Russian artist and statues of eastern origins.
Image 10: Lechesia imagines what it would be like to be a Picasso painting of a sexy cow. Very nice, I think.

link to article on B&H:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/13-creative-exercises-for-photographers

link to article on petapixel.com:
https://petapixel.com/2015/07/16/13-exercises-for-photographers-that-can-help-jump-start-creativity/

Undressing Magnolia at Breakfast

Magnolia Blossom was lying under a tree at Pomerance Park when I met her, near the ruins of Wyndygoul, the old Seton home.

A chance encounter, almost didn’t see her, almost stepped on her actually.

I found her interesting and took her home where I set her on my desk then proceeded to ignore, and eventually forget, her as I worked.

I found her there this morning as I was getting ready to go out for my morning coffee. She was pretty much as I had left her. Though having lost some of her freshness and looking wilted, she was still attractive, interesting, still so full of colour.

I took her out to breakfast.

Alone together in the upstairs room of the coffee shop, I began to undress her.

[Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5 MarkII Lens: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm F4.0]

56mm; f/13; 4.0s; ISO 250
20mm; f/4.3; 1/60s; ISO 400
22mm; f/4.5; 1/60s; ISO 400
70mm; f/5.5; 1/160s; ISO 1600
25mm; f/4.7; 1/60s; ISO 320
20mm; f/4.5; 1/60s; ISO 320
150mm; f/5.6; 1/160s; ISO 1600
25mm; f/4.7; 1/60s; ISO 320
150mm; f/5.6; 1/160s; ISO 1600
22mm; f/4.5; 1/60s; ISO 250
150mm; f/5.6; 1/200s; ISO 1600

all images edited in Snapseed: Cropped or expanded to 5×7 ratio; a little vignetting, detail reduction to give a soft focus look