Sea Blue Lens


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Still-life in Motion – Week 51

This week’s Be Still – 52 lesson was about creating a sense of movement in a still life — in other words, how to keep the viewer’s eye moving around within the photograph.

I’ve recently been inspired by Kim’s “Table and Chair” series to begin a similar series of my own featuring my antique maple writing desk and very old, mended Windsor chair. For this still life setup I added an armful of lilacs cut from the hedge at my daughter’s place and an assortment of treasures from that wonderful old house.

DSC_9362-2Workspace

 My starting point, illuminated by late afternoon sunlight from my southwest facing window.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t really trying to concentrate on reading or writing. The scent of those lilacs was more than a little distracting. It was all I could do to keep my mind on my camera.

DSC_9363-2Moodswing

This little book is titled, in full, The Ladies’ and Gentlemens’ Letter-Writer, and Guide to Polite Behavior, Containing Also, Moral and Instructive Aphorisms, for Daily Use. It was published in Boston and does not have a copyright date, but the sample letters printed within it all bear the date of 1859, leading me to think it must have been published in or near that year. It is smaller than you might think from the photos, only 3-1/2 by 5-3/8 inches by about 1/2 inch thick, but packed full of oh-so-useful advice.

DSC_9360-2Guide to Politeness

The section the book is open to reads “Rules for Polite Behavior for Ladies and Gentlemen, with Instructions for Dress. Also, Brief Rules for Daily Use.” There follows a long essay on “American Etiquette” which covers clothing, personal grooming, table manners, conversation, etc. The “Brief Rules” include such advice as “Avoid egotism” and “Avoid rude expressions.” It’s quaint and utterly fascinating. All I can conclude is that society in the mid-nineteenth century was much more polite than today’s is. But oh, so many rules! While I’d love to see more civility in civilization, I don’t think I’d want to be as regimented as the culture of that day was.

DSC_9373-2Shadows

 Kim’s Shadows preset really made magic happen with this one.

DSC_9372-2Resting My Eyes

It’s interesting how some presets just seem made for certain images. I’ve tried Kim’s kk_BeStill preset on quite a few photos before, but didn’t care for it. When I applied it to this one it just popped — it was exactly what I wanted before I even knew I wanted it!

DSC_9338-2Nocturne

Still one of my favorite presets — kk_Moody-ish. I liked this image but it felt a little flat straight from the camera. Now I love it!

My own eye finds movement in these images. I’ll be interested to see if yours does, too.


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Favorite Places

It’s time already for the {In the Picture} self-portrait linkup for October. At first I thought the month had passed awfully quickly, but then I realized that the last Friday actually came a bit early this month. Our optional theme was favorite places: to take our self-portraits in one or more of our favorite spots.

In Maine, I’d have had an abundance of places to choose from, especially at the peak of autumn. I’d probably have headed to the beach, since that’s my ultimate favorite. Here? I can’t say that I really have any favorite haunts yet. I take most of my photographs right here on the property.

Here’s a favorite spot where I spend a lot of time:

Daydreaming

As you can see, my desk is in front of a large window. Above my head is a birdbath you’ll recognize if you’ve been here before. It was unusually quiet when I took this photo. The birds are an almost constant distraction when I’m trying to work at my computer —

This Scrub Jay flew in for a bath while I was typing this post . . . .

— but I love them and can’t bring myself to reposition the desk or close the curtains. Besides, I’m retired, so who cares?

Speaking of curtains, these are only temporary ones, borrowed from another room to keep the sun out of my eyes first thing in the morning. Notice my lovely tiebacks? Binder clips are so useful! The small tree outside the window is a crape myrtle, and until last Friday, it was covered with pink flowers. High winds over the weekend took care of that, but the tree does provide a bit of a fall-ish glow when the morning light shines through it.

When I’m finished pretending to get anything productive done, I often head for another favorite spot:

Front Row Seat

Here I sit on the patio with my feet up and just watch the world go by. I sip tea or coffee, read a book, or . . .  just sit, listening to the breeze, the chatter of little bird voices, the flutter of wings, distant dogs barking, and the occasional airplane passing in the distance. It’s peaceful.

Much as I miss all those favorite places in Maine, it’s good to be here.

A note on this self-portrait challenge . . . I feel like I’m in a rut. Technically I’ve completed another month, but I don’t think I really put my heart or creativity into it. I want to do something different and see some progress and growth! I don’t know exactly what that means, but I’ll be trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile, here’s the linky party at Urban Muser. Let’s go see everyone else’s favorite places.

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