Photographing small moments of beauty has – over the past few months – become incredibly important to me. When I am anxious I find myself unable to see the world properly. Effort is needed, either medical or physical – often both – to pull my mind out of anxiety. For some time afterwards I feel as though I’m teetering between two realities: the anxious & the non-anxious me. It’s a weird feeling but I have become accustomed to it. During the time of afterwards it helps me if I can distract my mind to help ensure it doesn’t become anxious again.
The easiest distraction can be found by cuddling my dogs. I swear that they are therapeutic! They sit with me, lick away any tears that may be lingering & do their damnedest to keep me calm.
My habit of taking my camera along to my pole fitness classes has provided me with countless opportunities to capture small moments of beauty. These photos are my favourite to take although I’m finding it difficult to articulate why. This is my fourth attempt at this post; I can’t find the right words to express how I feel when I take the photos of these women moving in beautiful & athletic ways, nor afterwards when I look back at them. The closest word I have to describe taking the photos is joy because as I look at the movements through my camera thats often what I see, but that’s not really right. Delight probably best describes my feelings when I look back at my photos but it isn’t really that either. Why is it so damn hard to describe these feelings? I suppose for you, the reader, my feelings don’t make much difference to my photographic results. Except I think actually they do. If I wasn’t enjoying myself when I was taking photos then I don’t think I would push myself out of my creative comfort zone. I wouldn’t be looking to improve my technique or try different things; I’d simply be happy phoning it in. Or not even bothering to try in the first place. Yet because I love what I am doing I keep striving to improve, to notice even smaller moments of beauty & try to capture them.
The photos that accompany this post were taken as we were getting ready for Aerial Showcase 2019. Yes, I took part & yes I had my camera. I couldn’t resist bringing it because I knew there would be moments to cherish later on. I found myself having to put my camera away, lest I be late getting myself ready but I’m glad I had it with me. The photos (I’ll be sharing more in a portfolio here) make me smile. What I’d like to do with them next is to have them printed. I think it will be nice to be able see the photos hanging on a wall, reminding me that yes indeed there is beauty everywhere if you look for it.
Recently I’ve rediscovered the joy of using a public library. This has happened for a number of reasons. My list of books to read is large & grows faster than I can read. And I don’t really need to own all these books. I feel a little guilty admitting this because I assume that authors earn more royalties from books purchased than they do from books borrowed from libraries. However if I purchased every book that I want to read I’d pretty soon run out of room to store them. Buying digital copies of them doesn’t always work for me either. I buy them occasionally but still struggle to enjoy the process of reading a digital book. They just don’t feel right to me.
Borrowing books instead of buying them also saves me money which is something I’ll never complain about. Most important however is sharing the library with my nephew Jensen. He is four years old & loves everything about being at the library.
Together we return books using the return chute located on the library’s entrance. A metal opening in the wall is unlocked by the presence of a book placed in front of a scanner. This is very exciting! A beeping sound is made when the chute is ready to accept another book & it shines a green or red light depending on what stage of accepting books it is in.
Once our books are returned we enter the library, and Jensen excitedly runs over to the children’s section. I don’t remember being allowed to run in the public library when I was a child. I remember the library as a place to move slowly, almost reverently & to ensure browsing was done as quietly as possible. The building that housed the library was old & dark & it did not feel welcoming to children. It was a stark contrast to the building that houses the public library today. This building is large, open & full of natural & artificial light. Chairs & tables are placed strategically to encourage visitors to linger.
Jensen isn’t discouraged by the librarians when they see him run. They don’t shush us to be quiet; they accept that this is the behaviour of kids having fun in a place they like to be. What a blessing this acceptance is.
The children’s section is full of bright colours & encouraging words about the wonders of reading. Sometimes we first pick books to sit & read, other times we play with the blocks before selecting books to borrow. I love watching Jensen as he decides what books to borrow. I honestly have no idea what his criteria is. About all I can say with any assurance is the the cover needs to catch his eye. He studies the covers quickly, in stark contrast to how I select a book; I take time to assess the cover then read the blurb on the back. For Jensen however if the cover image catches his eye with something fun or features an animal that he likes then it will be borrowed.
Once the books are chosen we go to the hold area so I can collect the books that I’ve reserved for myself. The excitement then kicks up a notch again as we go through the process of checking out the books. Jensen places my card on the computer bench so it can scan my library card. We then take it in turn scanning books & putting them in our library bag. Once done we collect the borrowing receipt that the computer spits out & then we make our way to the cafe. Because you can’t visit the library without enjoying a chocolate milkshake & something to eat!
One day I’d like to take Jensen & his brother Eli to the library, to read a book that I’ve written & had published. They have sparked my interest in writing for children & it would be a perfect day if we could read together a book that I have written.
I have struggled to articulate in this blog post what 15 years of marriage to David means to me, so penned the above words in an effort to do so. They fall short of what I feel but I cannot keep writing & deleting or I’ll be at my computer forever! I did consider posting something totally unrelated to our wedding anniversary today but that would feel like I wasn’t being true to myself. We aren’t actually celebrating today; I’ve got dress rehearsal tonight for Friday’s aerial showcase so we’ve decided to pick another day in October to celebrate. Maybe by then I’ll have something decent to share in a blog post 🙂
This weekend past saw me in Melbourne holidaying with a newer friend. When packing I decided not to pack my camera. My thought process being that I wanted to focus on relaxing, instead of feeling like I “had” to use my camera. Of course as we pounded the pavement of Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday the urge to capture the scenes that caught my eye was strong. I took out my iPhone with the intent of using it as my camera.
Weirdly enough I found myself stuck. I couldn’t use it. I felt ridiculous, wanting to use my iPhone in lieu of the camera I didn’t have. So I put it away. I replayed this in my mind that evening as I was trying to fall asleep. Without a camera in hand I felt exposed. Yet I have read probably hundreds of articles over the years about photographers who exclusively use their camera phones. Surely if they can then I can too? Everywhere we went people were using their phones for one thing or another.
So on Sunday I vowed to try again. This time it felt a little easier, I guess because I’d talked myself into letting go of the unease. I took photos that I’m happy with. Which is really all I want from my photography. I want to makes images I’m happy with, that I can hang on my walls to admire. Preferably with my camera as it seems I’m more comfortable using it as a device to capture things than I am with my iPhone.
This is a photo from 12 months ago that I found today whilst looking for another photo. As often happens.
I like that its in black and white. The blue colour of the sky wasn’t dramatic enough for me. Shooting in black and white is one of the things I love about my X-Pro1. Whilst I feel that I can see how a photo will look in black and white it’s nice to be able to look through the view finder as I’m taking a photo and see how it will appear as a black and white image.
Having only spent the past four years or so falling back in love with photography there has been a lot of catching up to do. Most of it has centred around post processing. I grew up with film photography. When digital photography became an option it was, for me, prohibitively expensive. I couldn’t justify the expense of moving to digital when my film cameras were continuing to service my needs.
Once I felt the need to take photographs again my cheap, dated pocket digital camera would not cut it. Eventually settling on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 I rapidly fell in love again with photography. However I was unsure how to go about processing my images. Following a recommendation from a long admired professional photographer as well as researching the options I finally settled on CaptureOne Pro and Aurora HDR.
It has taken a lot of time for me to feel like I am finally ‘getting’ digital post processing. I’ve watched a lot of CaptureOne & Aurora tutorials, reading and re-reading their user guides upteem times. It took me a long time to get over the fear of ruining a photo by editing it ‘wrong.’ I’ve embraced the fact that if I get any element of an edit wrong it can be undone. That’s certainly more freeing than dodging and burning in the dark room which could also be done wrong.
Buying a new iMac last year has also gone a long way towards being able to see my photos properly. I’m now going through old photos – like the one above taken in 2015 – and seeing there is a lot of photos that are actually ok.
Moving fast, trying to breathe life into something that should have given up a long time ago.
Back and forth. dashing here, there. Spraying something cold. It fires. then stops. Again. this cycle is repeated.
I see the tension pulsing through his body. Tamping down an underlying anger. This is not what he wants, not now. Now he should be relaxing. Not this.
I expect him to yell, can see it rising up inside. Not yelling at me. Yelling at the car. At life. At the world.
He contains it. Pushes it down. I watch as he takes control of his body, stopping it from doing what it wants.
How does he do that? Has his breathing changed? Perhaps. I’m not sure. I go to ask but hesitate. Will that make things worse? I let the question go.
Success. The engine turns over and this time stays running.
It sounds terrible. My untrained ears know this. It doesn’t sound like it used to. When it was not so old. I cannot describe it but it is a sound I have unconsciously came to know.
Now it sounds unwell. Old. He knows this but doesn’t mention it. Instead, as the engine continues to run he guides me to see what he’s found under the hood. It’s not the problem he thought was there but something else. It’s a good thing this knowledge as now he knows exactly what to replace.
I think perhaps, he is happier. Relieved. But tired.
The part can be replaced. The car will continue to function. Not as it was; its much too old for that. But for long enough to see him through until a replacement can be found.
This evenings sunset was a stunner. The sunsets over the past few evenings have been bland, with little colour in the sky, although the sun has reminded me of a large burning ball, which i guess it kind of is.
However this one was a show stopper. At the end of a long, tiring day, I walked into the tiny bathroom of our apartment, where a glowing pink light washed the walls. I knew immediately I had to step outside to see what the sky was doing. I was literally stopped in my tracks. With a view of the above, it’s little wonder. I like to see what the sky is doing at any given point in the day (not only at sunset or rise), so when a show like this is on display my heart races a little bit. I grabbed the closest photographic device I had, namely my iPad Pro.
Yes, I sometimes take photos with my iPad. I know certain people think this is crazy, but I’d rather get a photo, than miss out all together. If I’d have taken the time to get my camera out, find the missing plate for my tripod, put it on the camera, attached the tripod & headed back outside I’d have likely missed the majority of what was on offer.
I realise this points to my unorganised-ness (is that a word?) but still I was outside, enjoying the beauty around me & got a few photos while I was at it. Far better than sitting around inside, ruing not being organised enough. One day I will be. For now I’ll enjoy photographing with whatever’s at hand during those quick one off situations like a stunning sunset.