Sea Blue Lens

A Tiny Spark


Well, we got another 13 inches of snow over Saturday and Sunday. It’s a good thing I have Be Still – 52 to keep me busy indoors! This week we had a spread from a catalog to draw a spark of inspiration from, with instructions to do basically whatever we wanted. “No rules.”

I like rules. I like guidelines. I like instructions to follow. The inspirational image wasn’t very, either, as far as I was concerned. The largest photo in the catalog layout was a springlike outdoor scene — a model in a lightweight white dress, sitting casually on a wooden chair on what looked like an outdoor patio, with a lovely textured plastered wall behind her, framed with blooming vines. Have I shown you what it’s been like around here lately? Here’s the view from my living room window:

DSC_8499Fairyland – but even the fairies are getting tired of it


IMG_7225 Maintenance Parting the Snowbank

Well, you get the drift (pun definitely intended). There won’t be any springlike outdoor photo shoots around here any time soon. So I tried setting up something in the spare bedroom that I call my studio, trying to capture that outdoor patio feeling. It didn’t go well.

DSC_8640Trouble Underfoot

Ugh, that carpet. It was newly installed when I moved in here, but it’s landlord-standard, industrial grade brown and beige tweed, and it’s wall-to-wall in every room except the kitchen and bath (neither of which have a window). I tried various textures and Lightroom presets, but there was no getting around that ugly carpet.

I remembered that one of the smaller photos on that catalog page showed a jewelry display, so I decided to work with that idea. I picked out a few pieces that, to me, had a bit of the flavor of our jumping off point, and moved in close, avoiding the whole background problem.


I kept the white cotton skirt and the potted plant, and used the patio chair as my support. The stone necklace and silver bracelets are pieces I’ve had for years, and each carries its own memories.



Of course if I were doing a real jewelry layout for a catalog, I’d need to either arrange all the pieces in the same plane, or use a depth of field that would keep them all sharp. But since this is my own “artistic” still life, and there are no rules, I can do whatever I please. I enjoyed bringing attention to the pieces individually while letting the others play a supporting role.

17 thoughts on “A Tiny Spark

  1. You attempt at the outdoor patio scene in your studio made me laugh 🙂 The dog was perfect for the weather. Yikes on the snowblower shot!

  2. I love how shared some humor despite the circumstances. That being said, I think you nailed the spark. Even with your carpet. Love the jewelry images too.

  3. I enjoyed that you changed your depth of field in the jewelry shots. It does give one an opportunity to see the individual shots…..Stay warm

  4. I looked at the first 3 shots and thought “Ugh!” since we basically have the same, or similar, views. Again, I love your process. My favorite is the second of the 3 shots with the necklace and bracelets. The freedom to play with the focus allows you to highlight the subtle colors of that necklace. I am so weary of living in a black and white world!!

  5. I do enjoy your sense of humor, Leon — it must be a requirement to get through this crazy winter. I’m in agreement with you about this latest prompt for Be Still, it doesn’t inspire me either. I’ve got nothing. I think your jewelry still lifes are just perfect — I especially like the last one with the shallow DOF. Hope it warms up soon there!

  6. p.s. I love your header.

  7. I think I like the first jewelry shot best. The wider depth of field and composition maybe? I went and checked out Be Still – 52. Looks like a great class, Leon? I’m thinking about signing up. I’m always looking for more training in Lightroom and it looks like Kim’s class is very helpful.

  8. I need a blizzard to keep ME inside to get MY “Be Still” stuff done! Can you lend me some snow? 🙂

  9. I hear you on some prompts they just don’t speak to you and for me that is ok. I move on to something that does speak to me, I feel that not all prompts will be right. I do like that you attempted them and found it hard and that is ok, I always think we learn in our attempts. My goodness that is a lot of snow, these are magic but I am sure you all are tired of this. It will make the spring even sweeter for you all.

  10. As I sit here reading this post it is snowing outside yet again! Seems neverending this year! Love your jewelry photos and I think it is a well done take on this prompt which was difficult for me too:)

  11. Yes, I can see how a spring-like image would be of little inspirational use for you. That’s a LOT of snow! We are having extremely cold temps (record-setting wind chills) but we don’t have quite the snow build-up as your white fairy land. Again, I love how you share with us your process – what works and what doesn’t quite work. To give us a better understanding of the effort it took to get the final shots. I like how you experimented with depth of field, giving each image a different look. Very creative!

  12. I love your interpretation. Beautifully done.

  13. The snow…that’s mind boggling to me! We got our first snow last night, a dusting, but it did snow! I love your jewelry photos. My favorite is the last one with the focus on the bracelets! Beautiful shots, beautiful jewelry! It took me quite a while to find a spark from the magazine layout! Stay warm!

  14. What a process, its good to have something to keep you busy indoors!
    Love the snow & I think you’ve been very creative with your jewellery & plant.

  15. Wow, you’ve got a lot of snow, Lee. We have a lot here too, and although it is pretty, I am ready to “move on!” 🙂
    I really like what you did with the jewelry.
    Have a wonderful week ahead, my friend. xo.

  16. Love the winter images. very nice.

  17. It’s fast approaching winter again, isn’t it! I hope to see some of the same amount of snow you had last winter. Would be very cool.

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