My beautiful Valentine’s Day tulips are fading, so I took the time to trim stems and take a few Lensbaby shots.
As I look out at the melting snow, this image seems out of place- yet I did take it a week or so before Christmas. Let it serve as a reminder that the days are now getting longer, spring is on its way, and the strange, turbulent, and sad year 2016 is almost over.
Shot with Lensbaby Velvet 56
The theme for my AAUW photo group today is Locks and Keys. I selected several past images of padlocks to bring, but then I decided that, since I wanted to play with my Lensbaby Edge 80, I would take a couple photos of keys to bring as well.
After taking a few shots of keys spread out in different configurations, a small branch I have on my shelf of props caught my eye. I ended up hanging keys on twigs, and came up with these two images:
When I was all finished shooting, I combined two other images in camera, which I then converted to a split toned black and white in Lightroom. What looks like an added texture is actually the garage floor!
I was at the right place at the right time last week and was able to bring home this sweet bird nest that had fallen out of a tree at a friend’s house. Sadly, little egg shells were nearby. I intended to spend all of Mother’s Day morning in my garage studio photographing the nest (and beautiful Mother’s Day flowers from my daughter) using different lenses and backgrounds. However, rain and hail put a stop to the project after an hour.
Here are a couple lensbaby shots of the nest. More to come!
I love trying to create impressionist effects with my Lensbaby.
I took the photo above a bit farther by editing it in Photoshop and Topaz Impression.
On Saturday, Lonnie and I got OUT OF TOWN! After a couple weeks of illness- and then a water leak which will eventually lead to our floors being replaced- we were more than ready for an outing. We didn’t go far- just southeast to the town of Superior to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, where we walked and walked and walked admiring all the different cacti and wildflowers. It is a beautiful spot! I took dozens and dozens of photos; it felt so good to get out and use my camera again.
These rocks form the backdrop of the state park, which is right by the highway. Octotillo was in bloom everywhere!
I brought my Lensbaby Edge 80 along too, which I used on these flowers (along with a bit of enhancement from Topaz Impression).
I was somehow compelled to stick a sunflower in with my branches and kind of liked the contrast between the shapes (and of course the lensbaby blur). So here is the result- two ways.
More branches in a jar. This was shot with the Lensbaby Edge 80 again, but then I used an oil painting filter in Topaz Impression and a Flypaper texture after that. Yup- just playing with sticks. . .
What can I say?- I am in the mood for BLUR!
These photos were shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 56; the resulting softness was further emphasized by editing with Topaz Impression.
My little AAUW photo group was discussing gesture in photography- a term used by Jay Maisel all the time to describe what he waits for when choosing a subject for his photograph. I can’t say that I fully understand the concept- but I usually know it when I see an obvious example. It seems to be a quality that makes the subject unique and isn’t only limited to living subjects. Even Scott Kelby was having difficulty understanding the meaning when interviewing Maisel.
To my eye, this tulip exemplifies gesture; in fact, it seems to have a definite attitude!
When we went outside last weekend, the melting snow on the evergreens sparkled in the sunlight- and I couldn’t resist going back in to grab my camera!
Both photos were taken with Lensbabies. I think the second one was with the Edge 80- but I can’t be sure (aperture and lens aren’t recorded in the metadata- frustrating at times).
I started my photography journey in the summer of 2010; it’s been 5 1/2 years of excitement and learning and practice and discouragement and more excitement. I am now starting the sixth year of this blog, which has become a record of my photography progress and also a bit of my life. I had no idea it would extend beyond the first year, but I’m not thinking of stopping. Things got more manageable when I stopped the whole photo a day commitment; some days my photos are just not blogworthy. I still have the commitment to myself to publish five days a week, which may not be the best practice either, since I sometimes just post the best of the mediocre shots I’ve taken lately. But my photography, like life, is a work in progress.
Pondering my photography goals and the progress I’ve made in the last year is something I do as the new year approaches. I’m happy I can point to a few areas of progress:
- Lensbaby- What a challenge that has been! I can’t say I have become a Lensbaby master, but I have produced some photos that I really like. And I love Lensbaby photography!
- Landscape photography-Although this often involves getting up early and using a tripod (two things I’m not crazy about doing), I’ve done it enough now to feel better about my skills and also enough to know it’s not my favorite type of photography to actually do.
- Showing my work- This year, I again participated in my photography club- and also showed photos at the fair and our group show at the Raven. In thinking ahead to next year, I thought one of my goals would be to have the courage to submit photos to a local gallery or two. But then, just before Christmas, two opportunities were presented to me unexpectedly, and, before I could think about it, I now have four photos in two juried shows at two different galleries in town! It’s a fun experience- and not as daunting as I thought. I don’t know how often I will want to do this, but it is nice to get the pat on the back of having your work recognized.
So then- what are my goals for 2016? I was talking to my friend Carol about what she is learning on all the photography trips she takes with expert wildlife photographers. One of the things that resonated with me was the importance of being intentional when taking photographs. I know this. I’ve read this over and over. I intend to be intentional! But somehow, I just keep clicking away- especially when I am out and about. When I am at home doing macro or still life- or just walking around the yard with my camera, I find it easier to look and really SEE. This process all too often disappears when I am out in the world. So my over-riding goal is to be more intentional.
A couple years ago, I started the practice of picking one word for the year, rather than making New Year’s resolutions. My previous words- TRUE and JOY are great words, but this year I wanted something that would have a meaning that could be interpreted broadly but also very specifically to photography. My word is . . .
I love my word! It can be about bringing light into my life, living lightly on the planet, spreading light- but it also has a very specific meaning for me in photography. Photography is all about light and using it to enhance the image. My goal is to be very intentional about finding the best light as I shoot. The photographers I admire all use light in beautiful ways. I want to become better at that- that’s my word, that’s my goal!
What are your goals for 2016? Do you have a word?
Photography notes: The tulip photo above was taken using the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I was intentional (I am wondering how many more times I can use intentional in this blog post?!?) about finding early morning light and placing my tulip in the light. 🙂 I have no idea how the beams got there- they just appeared! I’m not sure if this is a quality of the lens (I have had this happen with the Edge 80)- or if I was using my new diffuser at this point and it had anything to do with that. Something more to figure out!
I practiced with the Velvet 56 on our ground cover out back. I like the glow produced at wide apertures!