I can’t seem to stop looking at the sky. And not just at sunrise or sunset. Some pretty amazing skies happen during the middle of the day too.
Clouds that streak across the sky, stretched out as though they are trying to reach from one side of earth to the other.
Or large dark clouds, heavy with rain that doesn’t fall here. Or fluffy white clouds, that promise nothing but beauty.
Beacuse of the beauty in the sky, and for other reasons too I’ve decided to put my camera bag in the car with me when I go anywhere, even to work. Sometimes the most stunning sky presents itself after a fitfull night sleep or after a hectic work day. So now my camera will be on hand to help me remember the beauty.
Towards the end of the day last Thursday I found myself in an all to common situation. Having finished work & grocery shopped, I literally had five minutes at home to get changed, feed my dogs & cover the bird cage before heading out to a flex class. Hurriedly I dashed outside to cover the birds. As I got to their cage I looked up to see the sun setting, creating a section of sky that looked like it was alight.
My brain kicked into overdrive – telling me I had to capture what I saw. At the same time I knew i didn’t have time to get my camera, put it on the tripod, ensure I had the right lens on & then finally take some photos. I knew however this was not going to happen. All I could do was reach for the ever present iPhone, currently residing in my pocket & be content with the results.
After taking a couple of photos I turned to dash back inside, only to be greeted by a double rainbow on the opposite side of the sky. Granted, the second rainbow was faint but it was clearly there.
I knew I had to photograph it, and knew the clock was ticking. So again I used my iPhone, this time taking a panorama as well as standard photos. This was clearly a situation where the best camera is the one you have on you statement rang true.
The resulting photos certainly aren’t as good as they could’ve been, but considering the circumstances I’m happy that I managed to get what I did. If only time could be on my side every now & again.
A week ago a friend & I headed out to a lake to capture the setting sun. Our hope was for some intense colour in the clouds. It was an area I hadn’t been to before.
I found myself drawn to the mud flats around the lake which contain decaying dead trees. As I made my way to them I noticed animal bones & just had to photograph some of them.
I’m interested in the juxtaposition of decay amongst natural beauty. It’s visually jarring however I find it compelling.
Conventional beauty doesn’t interest me a lot, even in landscapes. So I’ll continue to seek out a different viewpoint even if I’m the only one who enjoys it.
This weekend & last I’ve made time to do some heavy duty cleaning. I’ve moved the bird cage from the shaded fernery, placing the cockatiels in a better position to catch some warmth in the coming winter months. This meant I had more room for the potted plants so they were rearranged. I’ve used the line trimmer to get rid of unsightly weeds as well as mowing the lawn & doing some less intense hand weeding.
Inside I’ve rearranged furniture, getting rid of things that weren’t needed & adding a table that was. I enjoy this kind of work. I zone out to everything else in the world, focussing on what I’m doing, determined to get it completed. These larger jobs have each taken me a few hours of work but the feeling on completion is worth the labour. Sure I’m tired, but I’m also pleased with the changes & the feeling of renewal that comes with them.
The calmness I feel during this work is similar to the feeling I have after meditating. My mind is calm, clear & focussed. I like it.
Friday evenings sunset was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen for a while. I wasn’t in the mindset of wanting to take photos – I walked into the laundry to do something & caught a peek of the colours of the sky reflecting through the window onto a wall.
I dashed outside with my iPhone & was amazed by what I saw. The cloud colour was stunning with the colours being so deep it almost looked like the clouds were alight. I quickly ducked inside and grabbed my Fuji, capturing more of the beauty as the sun sank lower in the sky. I’ll process those photos during the week & hopefully will have a photo that I’ll like enough to print.
For a very long time I thought that to be a photographer I had to specialise. I had to find a subject & concentrate on it. Get to know it intimately so that when I print photos the viewer would feel what I was feeling about it.
Lately I’ve come to realise that for me this is not going to work. There are multiple things that I like to photograph & I can’t make myself focus on one thing. I like close up’s & macros, landscapes, architecture & abstracts.
This frozen flower image was created after reading a photojojo.com blog post. I love what happens to flowers after freezing them in water. It’s a great subject to photograph when the weather is bad, because all it requires is a well lit spot inside.
I need to love what I’m doing otherwise I’ll abandon it completely. If I continue to photograph subjects I love I won’t be abandoning photography.
One thing that is nice about digital photography is the plethora of options available to post process images & the ease of obtaining the software & learning how to use it. I mostly stick to using CaptureOne, but every so often I like to ‘play’ with an image to see what else can be done with it.
In the case of the above photo I’ve used Corel’s Paint It to convert a panoramic iPhone photo into a water colour sketch. On becoming a water colour sketch the fine detail in the photo is lost, though I still feel it conveys a sense of the location.
The sketch also provides inspiration. I’m slowly teaching myself how to use water colours; my preference is water colour sketching. Perhaps one day I won’t need software to create this kind of look. Although the beauty of Paint It is I’m not limited to water colours. There is among others oil painting & pastels, two things I know I’ll never learn. Transforming my photos to digital paintings will suffice.
Here is another instance where being on foot has allowed me to photograph an image I’ve thought about numerous times when I’ve been a passenger in a car, without having had the ability to stop to allow me to take photos.
I love the rhinoceros statues found throughout Dubbo. They immediately conjure images of the zoo in my mind & something about their various incarnations & locations brings a smile to my face. Of them all the mother & baby outside the zoo itself are my favourite. The material they have been constructed of implies a sense of life to the statues & it’s because of this material that they appear different every time I see them. The shadows in the crevices of their skin I find particularly fascinating & I wonder if I got that close to a real rhinoceros would I notice that too?
I think taking the time to experience a destination on foot is by far the greatest opportunity to get to know that place. On the flip side, experiencing a location by car does allow me to see a lot more of a place & if time during that visit allows or perhaps a return visit takes place then I can take a tour on foot of the places that captured my imagination while I was a passenger. Perhaps that is the best of both worlds?
Whilst taking a holiday is good for the soul, sometimes it can also be good for the mind. On holiday only days ago, I made sure I took some time out from catching up with my dearest friend to look for things of interest to photograph in her home town.
I had no expectations or goals to meet. I was on foot & alone which meant I was able to take as much time as I needed at any given location. I was happy to meander & observe the world around me.
I found myself lost to the beauty around me, capturing some of it with my camera but also happy to simply observe it. The sounds around me were particularly electric, consisting mainly of the raucous squarks of sulphur crested cockatoo’s. I stopped & observed them a number of times during my walk, enjoying the site of large flocks of them & marvelling when for a few brief seconds they ceased their seemingly endless noise.
When my few hours of photography time was done I felt relaxed & at ease. That’s when I know a photography outing has been a success. Sure the resulting photographs are important to me, but equally as important is the feeling of reconnection, mediation & happiness. All I need to do is work out how to get that into my life a bit more often.