Backyard Bliss

Some of you, who have followed me for a time, may know that I have this ongoing, unpretentious photo project. It’s as simple as photographing my backyard. There is no prestige or any achievements associated with the project. I do it in order to have a project I can turn to whenever I have a spare moment and don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort to get started. It’s as easy as can be to just pick up a camera and step outside into the backyard.

What more is, I want to have a project in which I can experiment to my heart’s desire, throw myself off the usual rut, do anything differently just to do something different. On assignments, I can’t take chances, not to the same extent at least. Neither do I want to when I am working on one of my “serious” projects. Therefore the backyard project.

It’s really not a photo project about the backyard, I am not trying to make a story about it or convey some of its mood or the feeling it can evoke. The pictures don’t have to say “backyard”. The only condition I have set to myself is that all pictures will have to have been captured in the backyard. Furthermore, I have imposed onto myself to not photograph the way I usually do, but rather break anything and do opposite of whatever I do when I am in my usual flow. Everything is allowed and nothing is ruled out.

My first post of the backyard projects goes back to July 2011. If you want to look up previous posts and photos, you’ll find them here: Experimental Backyard, My Photographic Retreat, My Backyard Project, My Personal Challenge, The World from the Backyard, Instagram my Backyard, Out of Comfort Zone and Challenge and Expand.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken a Canon Eos 1D with either a 16-35 or a 24-105 mm lens. The photos were processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex.

On a different note. If you would like to have a photo critiqued—almost like I do in my workshops—remember I only keep this offer open a couple of more days. By the end of the month I will again close the picture critique. If you have a picture you would like to have feedback on, post a link to it on my Picture Critique-page.


65 thoughts on “Backyard Bliss

  1. Beautiful shots, Otto. I have much the same project since I moved to my present location but I think your photos have inspired me to do more. Thank you.

  2. Otto, I love your inspiration! What a great idea that is so simple and fun. I think I’ll do that this week. Thank you!

  3. I looked at these photos early this morning and thought I hadn’t quite woken from my slumbers! Another look and they bounce off the screen, full of hidden life. I love your backyard project. I was inspired to take photos of our allotment every month for a year. Great for improving photography skills and something quite different. It just proves you don’t need to visit far flung locations to capture special images.

  4. Otto, I love your backyard project! But… you have a beautiful backyard! Backyard project is a bigger challenge for some of us 😉
    Still, I am inspired. Thank you.
    Have a wonderful day.

  5. I’ve always loved the idea of you simply stepping out into the backyard, rejecting just for a moment, those amazing locations you usually photograph and saying no, I can find something just as special in my backyard and I think this is important for photographers starting out. It really isn’t always about those amazing locations and I think it’s important too for those of us who have been lucky to travel to those places. A wonderfully grounding project Otto. These are very interesting images indeed. 🙂

    1. You say it very well, Adrian. One can really photograph everything. One’s everyday life or environment is often more interesting for a photographer because you are emotionally attached to it. However, it can be harder since it feels very mundane.

  6. I love the idea of your challenge to yourself, Otto. When I read backyard and viewed the images, it reminded me of summer days as a kid laying in the grass looking up at the trees. Wish I was doing that right now. A good message that great photos can be made close to home.

  7. Happy shots – in all sorts of ways. Make me think of sitting in the garden with a glass of Prosecco, mind wandering free, sunlight on half-closed eye-lids, end of summer sounds. Mmm.

  8. Hello Otto, what a wonderful idea to keep photographing and also just for your own pleasure with no pressure. I love bokeh so it’s a winner for me 🙋🏻💐

  9. I just clicked on all the links to previous backyard photos, and what a pleasure! I really like the variety of views and ideas you’ve shown in this series. I’ve been taking photos from my third floor deck on and off since I lived here, but more to document seasonal changes. Sometimes I experiment, but not as often – maybe I’ll do more of that, before it’s too late – we’ll be moving next summer, up to the Bellingham or Anacortes area. Then there will be another backyard to investigate!

  10. The Swiss-American naturalist Louis Agassiz once said, “I spent the summer traveling; I got halfway across my back yard.” Clearly, the two of you would get along.

  11. I really like the photos you’ve posted here, Otto. They make me think of watercolors. And thank you for the reminder that just outside my door is an opportunity to experiment!

  12. These blurry abstracts are very interesting me me, Otto. I have found myself playing in that direction lately, too, and having a lot of fun with it. Most of my experimental photos are not what I think of as “good,” but they are successful in that I’m enjoying myself trying new things, stretching my imagination and my creativity, and that’s a good thing!

    1. “Good” is always relative and in the eyes of the beholder. I really what is more important is having fun in the process, as you say stretching the imagination, and continue to develop.

  13. Great bokeh Otto ~ and also I like the idea of having a place where you can experiment with the camera. A place to play and find a new way of expressing yourself with the camera…and if this place can be someplace where you always have access how could you not learn and find something new. Very cool.

    1. I am happy to know you like the project, Randall. To have something right outside the door, makes it very easy to play and experiment. Doesn’t require a whole lot of organizing for sure.

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