Sea Blue Lens


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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

DSC_8508Mush!

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.

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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.

DSC_8662

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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.


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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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Scavenging the Yard

Had to go on the Sunday Scavenger Hunt today. It’s a great distraction from the wind, which is driving me to distraction. Wind is my least favorite kind of weather. It blows here a lot, but usually doesn’t bother me. Today it’s got me a bit on edge.

Let’s think about something else and go hunting. This week’s targets were Yellow, Getting Ready, Bright, Teeny Tiny, and Connections.

Yellow:

Eye of the Beholder

I found this tiny “weed” blooming all by itself early one morning and thought it a lucky way to start the day.

Getting Ready:

Rest Stop

This beautiful bird is pausing for a drink, getting ready to head off to wherever. I believe it’s a female Nutall’s Woodpecker. My bird book says it’s “uncommon.” This is not its normal habitat, so for me, it was a truly special sighting. Please pardon the pink and green blurs — I was shooting from my desk, through the window, between the branches of the crape myrtle, which was blowing back and forth. Yup, it was windy that day, too.

Bright:

Rose Red

This rose’s blossoms are only a couple of inches across, but it’s the brightest, most vivid red I’ve ever seen. The camera hardly does it justice.

Teeny Tiny:

Eensy Weensy Spider

Luckily for me, and for it, this tiny spider was posing for me on the outside of the window glass. His body was barely a quarter of an inch long, and resembled a small freshwater pearl.

Connections:

Two-birds of Happiness

This pair of Western Bluebirds has been here all summer. I’ve also spotted a couple of juveniles that could be their offspring, though I can’t know for sure. It pleases me to think of the connections of this little bluebird family. When they spread their wings and fly into the sunshine, they are like pieces of the sky.

The common theme of all these images is the connection that I feel to all the wild things around me here. They are a distraction, too, but in the very best way!

Linking with Ashley’s Ramblings and Photos for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. Thanks, Ashley!