There are two sides to my personality, and they are very different. There's this one side that's traditional and very methodical - it's most comfortable doing what's expected, pleasing others, and coloring inside the lines. But then there is this other side that's downright rebellious. It values doing the unexpected, surprising others, and coloring wherever it damn well pleases. Take the little tree in the photo above. It stands in a park near where we live, and someone decided to decorate it around Christmas time. It wasn't me, but I admire whoever did it because they clearly like to color outside the lines. Even though it's March that tree makes me smile every time I drive by because it's a splash of color in the dreary brown winter landscape and I'm thankful for it.
Those two sides of my personality are relevant when it comes to photography because photography has lots of rules. Rules about exposure, composition, light... all the things that come together to make a classic "good photograph." And just about anywhere you read about the rules of photography, you will also read that it's okay to break those rules. Okay to break them, that is, if you understand them and know that you're breaking them.
The rebellious side of me is also my creative side, and it wants to jump straight to breaking all the photography rules. But the methodical side of me knows I haven't done a thorough job of learning and absorbing all those rules, to the point where they are second nature. So for the next few months I'm going to spend a lot of time studying, practicing, and writing about those rules. I'm thinking about this project as "Learning to Color Inside the Lines." My goal isn't to educate the world about the rules of photography--there are lots of other sites and blogs for that, written by people who are much more knowledgeable about photography than I am. But I will share the resulting photos here along the way.