Sea Blue Lens


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Pastel Perfect

I love color. I love bright colors, flower garden colors, but I’m especially drawn to pastels. This week’s Be Still assignment was to create a still life featuring pastels, in honor of springtime and Easter. I thought about dying eggs, but it didn’t interest me much. And it would have required buying things — white eggs and dye to color them with — specifically for the photo shoot, which is against the “rules” I have set for myself regarding Be Still, to use what I already have.

Besides, I had other ideas. A couple of them.

The first was fashion, something that relates both to Easter and spring, right?


IMG_9881-2Pearls and Lace

IMG_9880-2Pastel Pretties

I used my desk chair for all the photos in this post. It was backlit by the living room window, with a linen curtain pulled closed to filter the light. Rather than spot-metering, I overexposed the images to compensate for the bright back light. Both of the photos above were processed in Lightroom with Kim’s “Pastelhaze” preset. What it did to the images felt like magic!

Well, now that I’m all dressed up in my Easter finery, how about a nice springtime tea?

DSC_8946Simplicitea

I found this irresistible little bird creamer the other day, and thought he’d pair well with my porcelain butterfly teapot, and that they would work nicely together for this pastel photo shoot. (See how arbitrary my “rules” are? But I loved him in his own right, so I wasn’t buying him just for a photo prop; therefore, it was okay. Besides, he was less than $3. I love TJ Maxx.)

DSC_8952-2Tea for Me

Both of the tea set images were processed with Kim’s “Breeze” preset. It gave me just the soft, glow-y mood I wanted.

I have actually learned quite a lot because of my silly, self-imposed rules and other logistical limitations. They have caused me to think creatively about how to adapt Kim’s prompts to my own life and style, and to come up with solutions for space and light problems. And I love finding ways to feature and highlight some of my own favorite possessions. It makes me happy to see my old keepsakes and everyday utilitarian objects become art!


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A Whole Lotta Catching Up . . . Again

I’m not sure how it is that I get all caught up in my Be Still class homework, then turn around a moment later and find I’m six weeks or so behind again. So here we go — again.

Vignettes

DSC_7862-2Where the Heart Is

Assignment: A vignette with something substantial and tallish, using pieces I love.  I do love these particular treasures. The old tin pitcher came from the barn of the house I lived in last winter. It was headed for the dump when I rescued it. The heart rocks I found on the beach, the cardinal’s nest came from a shrub in my daughter’s front yard, and the book (which I’ve wanted forever) was a surprise gift last summer from my lovely friend Becs of Catching Sundust.

DSC_7854Love Nest

Three Things, Part 1

DSC_7886Preserved

Assignment: A chair, a window, and backlight (with or without any additional props). These hydrangeas were a pale cream-to-pink when they were freshly cut. I was amazed when they dried to this gorgeous purple.

DSC_7945Petals

Most of my favorite images from the shoot didn’t actually include the window.

DSC_7917Pure Pleasure

I tried several setups using different objects and even different chairs. The day was overcast, and in this shot the light seems much less directional, even though the window was directly behind the chair.

DSC_7876Bowl of Apples

Same chair as the first, different props, different mood.

Three Things, Part 2

Outtakes-2Outtakes

Same assignment as before, but with sidelight instead of backlight. I had some trouble with this one. Low chair + high window = NO light. Finally I tried raising the chair up by sitting it on a large plastic storage bin.

IMG_6560Nana’s Wren

That worked, and I was really happy with the pretty light shining through the leaves. This little bird was a birthday gift from a dear friend, and is all the more precious to me because it was her grandmother’s. I feel honored to have it entrusted to my care and keeping.

IMG_6568Lady Lavender

This is the plant that grew from the lavender seeds I was given for Christmas a year ago. They were slow to germinate, slow to grow, have never bloomed, and look like no lavender plants I’ve ever seen before. But the leaves themselves have that wonderful lavender scent and I touch them to release the fragrance whenever I walk by.

One of the things I am really enjoying about this still life class is the way each “prop” brings its story back into my mind: memories of where and when I got it, who was with me, what was happening in my life at that time, what has happened since that concerned that object. It’s fun to look at things anew and put them together in ways I hadn’t thought of before.

More to come . . . .


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Seeing the (New) Light

Summer’s End

My next assignment in finding my eye was to do a photo shoot in a lighting situation that is different from what I normally use. As usual, the assignment asks that we notice our reactions throughout the experience.

I decided to take my photos at the end of the day as the sun was getting lower in the sky. Now, I actually do use that sort of light fairly often, since I love to head for the beach at the end of my work day. But since I’m on the East Coast, that means when I’m looking out to sea, the setting sun is behind me. This time I decided to stick close to home, and take photos along the narrow strip of riverbank behind my building. That put the sun in front of me and to my right, perfect, I hoped, for some nice backlight and sidelight effects.

I think the only ones who really enjoyed my “new light” photo shoot were the mosquitoes. (Has this been an unusually bad year for them, or is it just me? I can’t step outside without getting nailed!) I just wasn’t finding subject matter I was inspired by, and the light wasn’t all that interesting, either. I love sunset photography, when there are clouds to fill the sky and reflect colored light back to the ground. Sometimes, even when there are no clouds, the atmosphere at the horizon fills with beautiful, soft color. But on this occasion the sky was very clear and there was little atmospheric effect to be found.

Despite all that, I did get a few shots that pleased me. The photos below are not necessarily my best work, but they do show the effects of the low slanting sunlight.

The evening did have one final surprise in store. When I walked back around to the front of the building to go inside, I discovered this unexpected light effect. I love the contrast of the cool gray shadowed building and the last warm rays of the sun painting the tower.