When I was a kid, the best thing about Cracker Jacks was the anticipation of finding the “Toy Surprise Inside”. I loved digging down in the box and ripping open the little envelope that contained the prize. Of course, the prize itself was usually a disappointment, but it never kept me from wanting another box when we went to the ball diamond the following weekend.
Panda Portraits are a little like Cracker Jacks. If you’re not familiar with Panda Portraits, they’re self portraits taken while riding a bike. Taking a Panda Portrait is pretty simple. If you have a camera that allows you to manually set the shutter speed, set it to around 1/25-1/30 of a second so the background blurs, then while you’re riding along, take a large number of shots of yourself and/or the bike from different angles. Of course, because you’re holding the camera away from you, it’s impossible to know what you’re capturing. That’s where the “Toy Surprise Inside” idea comes in. The anticipation of whether you’ve captured any good photos is like that old feeling of digging through a box of Cracker Jacks. Typically, most of the photos are completely blurred or framed poorly or show some other defect, but once in a while everything comes together and a real gem pops out. With some practice you eventually figure out what works and your keeper-to-reject ratio improves.
Here are a few Panda Portraits from this morning’s ride.