Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Be Still 52 - Week 38

Why would a person who loves nature have trouble with an exercise to photograph something organic? Because, I want my organic to be mushrooms, lichen, bark, or seedpods and I want them outside in their natural setting. But, since Be Still is about still life photography I gave it a try.

I gathered a few things; a little metal pan, a wooden vase, dried seedpods, natural potpourri, cheesecloth, and burlap. I used weathered boards for the base and black fabric for the background.

I worked for three hours and took 93 pictures! Yet, what I find fascinating was that I enjoyed those three hours. I was calm. I was still. I played. I just didn't get the results I wanted. I felt like I was fighting the light, which surprised me because I was using light from a north window and it was an overcast morning.  I had quite a bit of difficulty with the sidelight shining on the pan and leaving blown out areas. I managed to solve that by tilting the pan, putting up a piece of foam core to block some of the light, and using sheer fabric over the window.

This weeks photo for Be Still will be somewhere near the bottom of the list of favorite images I took for this class. I think you can tell that my heart just wasn't in it. If I made a list of things learned, this would be near the top. You just have to get the light right. It's all about the light!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Renewing The Journey - Part 1

It doesn't take much in nature to make my heart sing.

The tiniest little things, the surprises, and the treasures fascinate me.  I photograph these things.

As I wrote this a murder of crows were in the trees outside my window. Their silhouettes against the sky decorated the bare branches. They were never still. They were diving and soaring from tree to tree. Finally I could stand it no longer. I had to grab my camera and capture the antics of these loud, rambunctious creatures. As I ventured closer to the trees, their hoarse caws became instantly silent. It reminded me of an orchestra conductor whose baton silences the orchestra at the end note of a performance.  I wonder who is the conductor of the crows. I photograph things I wonder about.

I have always been drawn to nature; the beautiful, the not so beautiful, the quiet, the loud, the landscapes, the skies, and even the weather. If you take the time to look, really look, you can see something new in nature every day. Every sunrise and sunset is different. Every leaf, rock, or flower is different. The need to discover these unique differences is what motivates me; what keeps me outside exploring no matter the weather. I photograph these differences.

I am most happy with the tiny treasures that I discover when I don't rush, when I look closely. I've been know to walk around and around a tree looking for that special something like the small feather adorned with ice crystals above. There is always something magical to discover. I sometimes have to remind myself to step back and also look at the treasures to be found in the big picture. I photograph the tiny and the landscape.

I've found that my camera helps me to forget my anxieties, be braver, and more confidant. Nature and my camera are calming. When I first began taking pictures, other than the normal family/vacation/holiday pictures, I would take a small camera and wait until no one was looking to take a picture. Now, I rarely notice anyone is around and I carry my big girl camera. Now, I even stop and talk to people about what I'm photographing. I've been amazed at the kindness of people who want to share information about the places I visit or other paces to explore. I photograph my discoveries.

Some days and even weeks I loose my desire for photography. That's when photo trips, photo projects, classes, prompt groups, visiting flickr, and reading blogs, keep me inspired and motivated. Oh, I must not forget to mention the inspiration I get from reading two of my favorite magazines, Artful Blogging and Bella Grace

Photography has led me to a calmer and more peaceful life. Just the daily pleasure of being outside and observing nature has brought joy and gratitude to my life. 

I mentioned above that taking photography classes inspires and keeps me motivated. In these classes you sometimes find a small group of special ladies that share the same interests and a relationship develops. The connection remains long after the class is over through blogs, flickr, and emails. There is a small group of us that took a class several years ago that decided we'd like to review the class material again. We are interested in seeing if our thoughts about photography and our photography has changed over the years. We're calling this review "Renewing The Journey." In the first lesson we are answering these questions. Why do we take pictures? What draws us to photography?  What motivates us?  What keeps us excited and interested in photography? After I answered these questions I went back and read my responses from when I took the original class. I wasn't too surprised many of my answers are similar. One thing is for sure, I'm still in complete awe of nature!