Sea Blue Lens

Something New


For the past few weeks, our Find Your Eye lessons have had us exploring our photographic inspirations and becoming familiar with our favorite subjects. This time, the assignment was to photograph a new subject – something different from our norm.

I take most of my photographs outdoors, of subjects as I find them, such as landscapes, trees, wildflowers, birds, old ruined buildings, and so on. So for this challenge, I decided that I would try still-life photography, deliberate setups that I would create in my own home and capture with available, natural light.

This seemed like the perfect plan, since with the predicted arrival of Hurricane Irene over the weekend, it didn’t seem a propitious time for an outdoor excursion, and I was happy to have a plan that didn’t require leaving home. Friday after work, I headed for the supermarket to stock up on bottled water, TP, and canned tuna . . . and fresh fruit and flowers for my photos-to-be.

Irene's rain

To set the mood . . .

Sunday morning dawned – or rather didn’t. I hadn’t reckoned on how dark it would be with the sky solidly overcast and rain coming down. I was actually dreading this whole session, to be honest, because it seemed so contrived and felt very awkward. But after some procrastination, I gathered together some odds and ends and headed upstairs to turn my bedroom into a temporary studio.

I thought I’d have trouble taking the required 100 photos of my new subject, but that wasn’t a problem. Once I got started, I had a blast arranging little vignettes and photographing them from various angles, then moving things around to try other ideas. I spent a couple of pretty intense hours taking almost 200 photos, and I never even got to the flowers. By that time I was hot, tired, and hungry, so I gathered everything up and went downstairs to refresh myself by consuming some of my props.

Here are three of my favorites from this photo shoot.

Sunday Morning

Pair + Pear

Lemon Lime

In the end, I loved this assignment, and I love some of the images I got. To my eye (ohmygosh, I do have one, don’t I?) they seem quite characteristic of the images I “find” when I’m out taking my normal sort of photos.

What do you think?


12 thoughts on “Something New

  1. There is something very organic and domestic about all of these images, the simplicity of home and domestic pleasures stands out. These images make me imagine a life without the rat race.

  2. You definitely have an eye for still life. I especially love the breakfast tray in bed. It is so calming.

  3. Hey Neighbor….
    Looks like you may be right on the Saco. You’re a brave woman. Hope you stayed high and dry and didn’t blow away on Sunday.
    My fave is the lemons/limes. You captured beautiful light through the window. I just finished my 365 and in the midst of winter, often used the morning light in my kitchen to capture images….especially on those snowy days. It is a great technique.
    I applaud you for creating still lifes. I could have done that….that is out of my comfort zone too-but I didn’t think of it. I understand your feeling that it is contrived. I too can feel that way, yet I see some amazing results from people who do this often.
    Do you know about light boxes? I don’t use them, but I know a lot of people who do and get amazing results. Might be a good thing for us Mainers to do in the dead of winter.
    Looking forward to the next challenge.

  4. All these images are so lovely, but my favorite is the tray on the bed, with such wonderful light. Thanks for sharing your experience here. To go out of our comfort zone is challenging, scary, and so worth it. You expressed all that so well here.

  5. Fantastic images! Great job working with the available light and pushing through your comfort zone. Still life can feel contrived, but you can’t tell from these images. They look “found” to me! I find still life challenging because there are so many options. Move this object a tiny bit to the right, move the camera angle – infinite opportunities, as your 200 photos suggest. I’m glad you had fun and I can’t wait to see more of this type of photography from you.

  6. You’ve done a beautiful job with your still life photos. I like them all!

  7. You did an amazing job with still life!! I would never have known you were out of your zone! I love the light and I think the lemons are my favorite!!

  8. What a productive session you had! I love the light in your still lifes. And you managed to do this during a hurricane? Your pear image is my favorite — the composition is lovely. Well done!

  9. Hey, these look great! Can you please take all of my Etsy photos from now on? I will totally pay you with like, snacks or something. I can see that you like pears. And tea. I also have tea. 🙂

  10. These are lovely photos. You certainly made the most of a “snow” day. I think my favorite is the tea tray.

  11. What a delightful experiment! And delightful results! The pears are my favorite.

    In my college photography courses, we had a number of still life assignments and my reaction was the same as yours – I felt silly setting up these contrived arrangements but then ended up taking tons of shots of my little scenes – its kind of addictive! And as you discovered, a great solution when nature doesn’t cooperate to allow for outside shooting.

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