Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Every Fifteen Steps

I began the story of my trip to Garvan Woodland Gardens in last week's post. I went to the gardens with a list of intentions: things to photograph for four classes I am taking.

Mission #2

This exercise was for a class I'm taking called A Year With My Camera. It started with the basics of taking your camera off automatic and then moved forward into light and composition. Most of those first lessons were things I knew, but it never hurts to review. The lesson for this past week was a creative one. She gave us several options to pick from. I chose to go on a photo walk taking a picture every fifteen steps. 

As you can imagine a photo walk through a garden would bring endless possibilities of photos every fifteen feet. Knowing that, I chose to take a woodland path where there weren't many flowers blooming.

Sometimes as I stopped I had to look very closely to find something interesting to photograph. This lesson was not about taking amazing photos. It was not about learning our camera. It was about looking closely, what I call seeing. It was teaching us to let our eyes slowly scan the area instead of taking a quick look and snapping the shutter at the first pretty view.

I took a total of sixteen pictures for this exercise. My last steps brought me back to a paved path that led to the welcome center. And who was there to welcome me back? George, the peacock greeter! He's been at the gardens for several years. Last year he was alone, but this year he has two peahens to keep him company and oh, how he loved to show off his feathers for them! He was the perfect ending to my photo walk!

"We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there.
We have been conditioned to expect . . .
but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs."
~ Aaron Siskind

Friday, May 12, 2017

Setting Intentions

It seems life is sometimes slow and easy and then other times there’s so much to do! Photographically speaking, this week has been a very busy one. I participated in four different photo groups. Two of them are weekly, one is monthly, and the last one was for this week. Whew! It can be overwhelming sometimes, but I enjoy each one of them.

This week I was able to complete the exercises for all four groups in one trip. I had them all written down and the paper in my pocket so I wouldn’t forget what I was looking for. I thought a good bit, mostly in the middle of the night, about where I could go for a photo walk. I decided to go to Garvan Woodland Gardens which is about an hour’s drive from me. This was the first time I’ve been to the garden by myself, which is strange since I’m always going places by myself. Anyway, I usually go to the garden with my two best friends who happen to be my sister and sister-in-law. We have such fun together laughing, talking, eating, and pointing out what catches our eyes. It’s a splendid place for walking and talking, but this time I needed to be focused on my mission, fulfilling the four exercises!

Mission #1

I’m part of a group on Facebook who are taking a yearlong adventure through Kim Manley Ort’s book ADVENTURES IN SEEING. I’ve taken this class on line with Kim several years ago, but she has recently turned the class into a book; a good book which you can find here. The adventure for this week was to go on a photo walk with set intentions. We were to walk looking for something specific. There were a lot of things I could have focused on at the garden: flowers (not much of challenge in a woodland garden!), animals (there are more in the garden than you think!), water (beautiful waterfalls and creeks abound here!) or landscapes (maybe?). What I finally decided on was to find flowers and rocks together, which was a little bit more of a challenge than flowers or water.

I think I’ll let you scroll through the pictures of what I found. No words are necessary! I’ll meet you at the end.

Kim also suggested in her Facebook post that we keep our eyes open for red. Red is a color that will quickly catch your eye. Here are the shades of red I found in the garden.

There is one other picture I want to add. It’s not a rock or a flower, but it is hard-as-a-rock!! While walking I noticed a lady with two small girls staring into the woods. The girls were excited. The mom was taking pictures. As I approached I asked them what they were looking at. It was five armadillos! I’ve never see a real armadillo other than at the zoo. They are not so pretty, very noisy, and fascinating!

I tried to do each of the four exercise separately so I could concentrate only on it. Exercise number one was completed, now it was time to move on to the next one. To keep this post from going on forever I’ll tell you about the other three exercise in future posts.

“All the technique
in the world doesn’t compensate
for the inability to notice.”
~ Elliott Erwitt

Monday, May 8, 2017

Scene & Story - April 2017

Every year we wait and wait and wait! This young tree in our yard is always the last tree to unfurl it's leaves each spring. Every year it makes me a little nervous until I see those first leaves begin to form. We have a lot of trees on our property, but this one is special. It was just a little seedling when we got it. It was so scrawny that I never expected it to live, but it did. Maybe it lived because it was planted with love and care. Our oldest grandson, Jake, was only four when he helped Jerry plant the tree. I remember his excitement as he helped dig the hole. He held the tree straight as Jerry packed the dirt around the roots and then he gave it lots of water. It's been ten years. Jake has grown unbelievable fast and so has the little tree. Jake is taller than me and the tree is now at least 15 feet high. Each year as I wait for it's springs leaves I think of a little boy with a big smile and dirty hands helping his Gramps!

* * * * *

I'm linking today with Scene & Story hosted
by Lee and Sarah.
You can see all those who link up on Sarah's blog.
Join us each month as we choose a photo and tell a story.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lately. . .

It's spring! I'm supposed to be lively and energetic, but I'm not. I've been fatigued, yawning my head off, and feeling irritable! It's called Spring Lethargy. The opposite of Spring Fever, where energy levels rise! Leave it to me to do the opposite of everyone else! I've been trying to overcome this ailment through photography.

So, here's a list of twelve things I've found or done lately.

1. I went to a photography exhibit featuring Ansel Adam's early works. Very impressive and inspiring. Makes me want to take more black and white photos!

2. I worked in my shade gardens getting the last of the fallen leaves removed and burned.

3. I picked one of my mom's peonies to bring in the house to enjoy. Of course, I waited until the bee left.

4. I walked in the woods a little. Not much, the mosquitoes are out in massive numbers. I had to wait for a cool, windy morning!

5. I found some honeysuckle and tasted it. Did you do that as a child; hold the honeysuckle in one hand, pinch off the end,  pull out the stamen and then lick the drop of nectar?  I did! For some reason though, they don't seem to be as sweet and tasteful as when I was a child. This photo makes me laugh. The bloom on the left looks like it's sticking it's tongue out trying to get rid of the spider web!

6. I mowed again! The weeds seem to be winning the battle!

7. I did a little traveling. As Jerry drove, I took pictures out the window. I enjoyed the beautiful spring greens surrounding my favorite barn!

8. I finally purchased a plant I've been wanting for a long time; a hellebore. They aren't showy flowers, just very simple with elegant colors and lines. They do like to keep their heads down which makes photographing them difficult. They remind me of myself when I'm walking; always keeping my head down. There's such interesting things on the ground, but I miss the view that way!

9. Quite by accident I was able to go into a small, old post office (someone left the door unlocked.) It was once the Detonti post office and now sits with an old church and historical home in a town near me. There's not much inside, a bulletin board with old pictures and papers, a typewriter, and a book, The 1932 edition of the Postal Laws and Regulations. Among the papers was a copy of an old envelope. The postmark reads North Hollywood California Feb. 4, 1946. The postage was only 3¢. The fascinating part is the address: This letter is going to Uncle Lee down in Tull, Arkansas, Grant County, between Mud Creek and Saline River, and across the field from Uncle Hardy's, better know as Detonti, Arkansas RR#1. Uncle Lee got the letter all the way From His Nephew Grady DuVall out in California! Wasn't the world simpler back then!

10. I've been watching for the buckeyes to form on our buckeye tree. We had three last year, but the squirrels got them first! This year there are several and also a strange looking bug!

11. We took our car to the shop where it will getting it's new upholstery. You can't tell by this picture, but there are six people in this little car. Jerry, our son, and four grandsons! Just so you know, no child was on the road for the making of this photo! They met Jerry at the end of our long driveway and road to the house. I say that because there are no seat belts yet and three of the boys were on their knees facing backwards. There is no back seat!

12. And lastly a fun surprise as I was driving down some country back roads. I spotted a camel enjoying himself in the spring sunshine. I imagine he was glad to be done with winter! The strangest thing is he doesn't live too far from me and I've never seen him before! Maybe he was there to bring me a laugh!

That about wraps it up! I'm trying very hard to get through these few weeks of low energy. All will be well as soon as I adapt to the seasonal changes. I'm hoping your spring is filled with beauty and that you're enjoying it RIGHT NOW!