Sea Blue Lens


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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.


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Up a Creek

With a Paddle

So, say you plan to meet a friend after work for a photoshoot. It’s kinda last-minute, so you dash home at 5:00, quickly change clothes, grab your camera bag, toss it into the car and head out. You get to the appointed spot, open your bag, and . . . .

There’s no camera in there, just a lens and some accessories.

What would you do? More to the point, what did I do? Well, after saying a couple of things to myself that I won’t repeat here, I decided I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day. It was another crazy-warm-for-March, beautiful day, and the evening light was gorgeous. It would be great just to be out in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and the company of my friend. Besides, we were going for pizza afterwards. Life was still good, though I did feel a little silly.

And then I remember I’ve got my iPhone with me — I can take some photos with that! My iPhone is still fairly new to me, and I haven’t used the camera much. So my expectations aren’t very high, but I figure, what have I got to lose? So I wander around, snapping this and that, trying to frame subjects on the viewscreen. In that light, the surface is like a mirror and I’m mostly seeing my own reflection. Still feeling a little silly, but having fun.

Maybe it was because I didn’t expect much. Or because I wasn’t taking myself or my photography very seriously. I wasn’t trying very hard. But to my great surprise, I got a bunch of images that I really like. Here are a few of them.

Dock

All Tied Up

Loner

Seawall

Gossip

Inner Light

Outer Glow

Molten Sky

At Rest

These images were taken with the iPhone camera, no apps involved. Some were lightly processed in Lightroom, but many are SOOC — or should I say SOOP (Straight Out Of Phone)? I was impressed with their color and clarity.

May I just say that I love my iPhone? I’m really glad I gave it a try that evening. It turned out to be a great night. (And the pizza was delicious.)

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