Sea Blue Lens

Hunting and Gathering


Inspired by this week’s Be Still – 52 lesson, I took a couple of nature walks to gather materials for creating some still life photographs. My first impression, as I thought of “gather – drop – place and prop,” was that Mother Nature does such a fine job of gathering and dropping that she doesn’t need any help from me. All I needed to do was “place” my own two “props” and snap away:

IMG_5376 Fall FeetMagic Carpet

However much fun that was, it didn’t really satisfy the requirements of the lesson, so I set off to collect some autumnal miscellany around the neighborhood. There can be hazards to this kind of still life photography. Did you know that if you bring certain dried wildflowers into your house, you will soon have seeds of said wildflowers everywhere? The Queen Anne’s Lace was so messy that I didn’t use it after all, in spite of its fascinating structure. I’m still vacuuming up prickly little seeds. My basket of goodies also contained other unintended “organic matter” that was inclined to make itself at home in my home, but don’t worry, I put the little spiders safely back outside.

Anyway, after gathering a basketful of colorful leaves, berries, seeds and twigs, more than enough for a dozen still-life photo shoots, I came home to arrange and photograph them. I’m still working on where and how to set up still lifes in this apartment — finding space, light, and clean backgrounds is a challenge. My workspace for this project was an antique folding sewing table set up by the living room window.

DSC_6941 work spaceMy Garden and Reflecting Pool

DSC_6942 fallen leaf pondFallen Leaf

DSC_6926Autumn Joy

This was my final composition, taken from above and processed with Kim’s moodswing Lightroom preset. Okay, assignment done, I thought.

But then . . . Sunday I woke up in a melancholy mood. Thinking it might be interesting to try the assignment with odds and ends I could find at the beach, I headed to one of my favorite places, the Audubon Walk at Biddeford Pool. Five minutes of sea breeze and sunshine, and I was a new person. It works every time. I must remember this!

P1040477 Wood Island LightWood Island Light

I took my usual path, which was more overgrown than I’ve ever seen it before, probably due to the very rainy July we had this year. The only birds I saw were sea gulls and chickadees, but there were lots of butterflies and bees on the wild asters.

P1040389 butterfly-bee-asterAutumn Feasts for Tiny Beasts

I came home with over 100 photos in my camera and a much lighter heart. Oh, and a few bits of this and that in my pockets.

DSC_6961 beach treasures_aboveA Day at the Beach

Some granite eggs, a few shells, a bit of old brick and scrap of wood, seaweed, three hearts (I only asked the Universe for one!), and two tiny bits of sea glass. I was amazed at how many red-berried trees and bushes I saw. These were only one of at least a half-dozen different kinds of red berries I discovered. The yellow ones are bittersweet berries. There are tons of it out there, but it’s not quite “ready” yet — the outer casings haven’t yet opened to show the orange berries inside.

DSC_6971 beach still lifeBe Still, My Heart

Lesson learned from this week’s still-life photo assignment? I must get out more. Literally out: outside, into nature. I need it as much as I need food, water, sleep, and air to breathe.

24 thoughts on “Hunting and Gathering

  1. Wow, you found a lot of cool stuff! You must have sooome pockets! 🙂

  2. Mother Nature is indeed an amazing artist!
    I am glad you went out. It really does make one feel much better, no matter what, and no matter what the weather.
    How fortunate you are to live so close to the ocean.
    It is truly my favorite place to be.

    I wish you a wonderful week, my friend. xo.

  3. Your lesson about “getting out” is one I needed to hear, too. It’s so easy to look at what needs worked on or unpacked, and I almost feel guilty if I spend time outdoors. But that sunlight and fresh air do so much for me, even if there is no camera involved. Thanks for that simple reminder. Love your bits and pieces that you gathered…as well as the images you created!

  4. Be Still My Heart captured mine… love your found treasures. Yes, it is important to get out and commune with the world.

  5. A good lesson to learn! Lovely gatherings from both woods and beach:)

  6. Beautiful vibrant colors!

  7. All the images are so Autumn – but I love the Magic Carpet best of all.

  8. So lovely. I feel just the same about nature – but I always need reminding too! Love your autumny collection but I think your beach finds are my favourite. 🙂

  9. This exercise was really good for you! I love all the things you collected. The beach finds are my favorite. I would collect those same things and did while we were on vacation. Great from above shots!

  10. I so agree with getting out more! Just a few minutes can make all the difference. Love your little pond, I’ve never seen anything like that! Wonderful collections both of the beauty of fall and the beauty of the beach. I can’t believe you found three hearts!!

  11. Beautiful set of collections — you did such a lovely job of arrangements. The Day at the Beach really speaks to me. i wish I could experience a real fall here, but with drought and a heat wave things are not looking good. Thanks for sharing your joyful and loving still lifes.

  12. Your images are so lovely! I loved reading your story and seeing your process. Your from above images are beautiful.

  13. Thanks for reminding me how it is important to get down to my beach.

  14. Your post is a great reminder for me to go to “my” lake again and out to the beach as well. What you described about your melancholy that just disappeared while you were on the beach is something I experience over and over again. I wonder why I don’t “use” it more often? There’s always the excuse of being “busy”, but seriously, it’s only an excuse. Isn’t it important to feel well and healthy, too?
    Beautiful still life photos. I’m starting earnestly with still life, taking Kim’s “start to finish” and enjoying it big time.

  15. Love all the images but do have to say that your beach finds touched a chord in me. There is something about being by the water – especially a large body of water – it seems to clear away any fog. These are lovely photo’s..

  16. What cool treasures! Love that sea weed stuff and your heart rocks.

  17. Gorgeous finds and processed so beautifully.

  18. Those are really beautiful images. And the still life you created radiate autumn and the season’s colour. Very nice.

  19. I agree, a nature walk is needed on a regular basis. Nice shots!

  20. Just wanted to thank you for the info on Waterlogue. I love it, it’s habit forming.

  21. I can see how much fun you had gathering your finds, and I feel lighter of spirit after looking at the photos. Nature walks are indeed both refreshing and essential. You have a beautiful blog here! I’ve added it to a list of positive blogs I keep on my own site. 🙂

  22. Your account of difficulties with seed pods and spiders made me smile, as did your photos. I especially liked the flower and butterfly image.

  23. Thank you first and all for visiting my blog, I am a CA gal also as I read in your about section. I lived in SJ for 38 years before retiring to the coast, but my husband died a month after moving there. The fog got to me after San Jose and depression began after his death so I moved to Phoenix to be near my daughter and still here. My heart is still in CA however but this is where I need to be in this time of my life. The point of all of this in saying is it takes time to find where we should be. Maine is a beautiful state and I hope you have found your heart. Love your heart rock and your gatherings.

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