Instagram is pretty much my favorite social media platform. It’s like auto-tuning for photographers – it’s definitely cheating, but I’m not selling it, so it’s okay.

As an experiment, for all of January I used the new “Slumber” filter on Instagram and hashtagged them #januaryslumber. I was curious to see how it would alter my photography choices over the course of a month. (Ordinarily, I use the “Sierra” filter exclusively.)

When you know in advance which filter you’re going to use, you tend to learn to take photos with your phone that will pair well with the filter. So I gave myself a month to learn the new filter and see how that altered my photo habits.

What was my hypothesis?

I hadn’t really played around with “Slumber” much, but I had a suspicion it was going to turn things more red, so I figured it would force me to focus more on blue and green things like the sky and outdoor stuff.

What were the results?

On the whole, it turned my feed quite brown. It really had the effect of removing most of the green from everything, so I wound up avoiding the color green instead of chasing it.

As for shoving me outdoors, “Slumber” didn’t do that at all. As it turned out, my favorites on that filter were taken indoors under fluorescent lighting. That was unexpected.

In fact, I noticed I gradually started taking fewer and fewer photos of things outdoors. Too much natural lighting, I found, mixes poorly with the “Slumber” filter.

I’m not sure why the Instagods decided to call this filter “Slumber,” because it doesn’t strike me as a “dreamy” filter. If anything, they should have called it “Insomnia,” because it looks like the world when I’ve had too much coffee after dark.

I like “Sierra” for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it has a tendency to draw me in. “Slumber,” on the other hand, has a tendency to push me back.

…Which is actually a pretty cool effect. There’s a real sense of distance, both in space and in time, with all of those photos under that filter. I think it’s because of the lack of a vignette (darkened corners), which Sierra has, big time.

It was a nice little experiment, and I might decide to play around with another filter later this year, but for now, I’m happy to be back on the “Sierra” filter. It’s my drug of choice.

See #januaryslumber here.

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