An Observation Project

A double exposure, playing with expectations of a sunset

It has been a while since I’ve stopped to photograph the setting sun in my backyard. More often than not I’ll stop what I’m doing & notice it, observe the beautiful colours – even the skies that are appear to be a single shade of blue, making them a lot less interesting than the skies full of yellow, orange & pink hues – have a small amount of beauty to them – and then continue on with what i was doing. But actually picking up my camera & photographing it, well i just hadn’t bothered. I’d sort of thought, what’s the point? There’s only so many times something can be photographed before it’s boring, right?

Over the past couple of days I’ve read about photographers repeatedly photographing something, whether it be something around their home such as a magnificent tree or something further afield such as a lake or river. As i read about these projects i found myself wishing i to had something to photograph. Not daily, i find a daily commitment to one thing difficult to work with. But once a week, or every fortnight, that works for me. Then i realised, i’ve kind of been doing that already, with my backyard sunset photos.

Ok, so i haven’t been photographing them a lot lately, but I’ve been intermittently photographing them for years. Why not return to it? Why are backyard sunsets any less significant than anyone else’s projects? They’re not, of course. I just hadn’t afforded them any real significance. They were simply a thing I’d randomly capture, a small moment of beauty to admire. I’m going to change this a little. Formalise it if you will. My aim is to photograph one backyard sunset every fortnight. Sometimes it may even be more often than that. I’ll share my results here, with you.

Is there something you’ve been thinking about doing? Undertaking a new art project perhaps, or learning a new skill? Maybe you too have a project sitting in the back of your mind, not yet expressed. Why not give it a go? Yo never know what may come of it.

Backyard Sunsets & Zines

Sometime after my husband & I purchased a one acre block of land to build our new home on, I realised that the location affords beautiful views of the setting sun. These unexpected views have provided a source of photographic inspiration for me, especially on days when I have little time for anything other than taking a quick photo with my iPhone.

I thought I’d like to take advantage of these sunsets & set about working out how to predict when one would be particularly captivating. I found an iPhone app called GoldenHour & used it to forward plan sunset opportunities. I noted that if the cloud cover was not too heavy it would add an extra dimension, providing another place in the sky for colour to be reflected. If an evening storm was forecast the preceding clouds did something incredible to the sky, like in the above photo.

Slowly I learnt when to expect a sunset that required my attention & I began to group the photos into an album on my iPhone, allowing quick comparison of them but also allowing me to easily enjoy their beauty again. Flicking through this album I realised that I want to share these photos with others. I just wasn’t sure how to best share them.

After considering this for a while I decided that making a zine would be a great way to showcase these sunsets & share them with others. Each photo would be accompanied by the date it was taken & nothing more allowing the photos to convey their beauty.

I have never made a zine before. I’ve done some research, going down an infinite rabbit hole of possibilities only to stop myself mid way realising that this zine can be whatever I want it to be. I’m going to work on it during the coming weeks & will share my progress here, as well as the completed zine.

On the subject of zine’s I was excited to discover that a tea story I wrote was recently published in a new zine by Naomi Bulger on her website Naomi Loves

In the name of full disclosure I engaged Naomi as my mentor earlier this year. I feel it’s important that you know that although I doubt that is why my story was published. Perhaps talking about mentorship is something I should write about in another post.

It feels special to see my words printed in her zine & I wanted to share it with you. Without Naomi I wouldn’t be here blogging every week & updating this website. I hope you enjoy her Tea Stories zine. And make sure you check out the rest of her work. You’re bound to love it as much as I do.

Art For Breakfast

For the past couple of months I have been making art every morning as I eat breakfast. I began simply because breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. When I’m travelling I always take the time to relax & eat a yummy breakfast whilst either sketching, people watching or both. I decided to implement this practice at home so I could always take the time to enjoy my first meal of the day. And to linger over a cup of coffee too 🙂

I’ve deliberately left the door wide open in terms of what art I will make. Often I’ll wake up with no idea what to create but whilst I’m walking the dogs (which is done pre-breakfast) an idea usually will form. If it doesn’t then I’m not above creating random colourful shapes on the page.

Initially I was making art that meant nothing to me; I realise now however that it has come to mean a lot. It’s helping ease my anxiety around being a creative person. I’m more accepting that that is the sort of person I am. We can’t all be mathematicians or neurosurgeons or other high functioning sorts. It’s ok that I’m creative.

Someone please remind me of this statement when I’m an anxious mess because I’m offering nothing to the world because all I can do is create 😉

When There Is No Time

I’m trying to grapple with the fact that sometimes life gets in the way. There isn’t time right now for me to do the creative things I want to. So I’m left with making do, either by looking at photos taken in the past, trying to learn what worked in an image & what didn’t. There is also a stack of photos that need editing, which I’m working my way through. And there are photos I can think about making, that perhaps might require a trip somewhere or might benefit from a certain type of light. Then there are the moments when I grab my phone & take a photo of the setting sun. Yes I know the image resolution isn’t as good as it could be. But I think the actual act of making (taking) an image is better than not doing it at all. And it inspires me to keep on going.

A Black & White Setting Sun

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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.

Grateful For Sunsets

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Pouring oil into a pan, out of the corner of my eye I notice the colour of the sky changing. A pale blue that is becoming something else although I can’t yet tell what it will become.

Looking up I notice wisps of white cloud stretched long across my view.

The pan is warmed so I begin adding ingredients for tonights dinner; chicken pieces go in first. Letting the chicken brown I look out the window properly this time. Yellow is becoming the prominent colour. The wispy clouds are no longer white. They take on hues of yellow with the promise of another colour.

I quickly stir the chicken and dash outside grabbing my iPhone on the way. A couple of snaps and I head back inside to continue with dinner. Adding carrots, mushrooms and cooking sake I glance up and marvel at the deepening colours in the sky. There are hints of something coming, something spectacular but I pretend to ignore the possibility. Dinner must be made.

However I cannot resist and dash outside again. Quickly taking three or four photos, not daring to take more in case I ruin our meal.

Inside again I add noodles, honey and soy sauce. Stirring for a minute all the while watching the sky. Could it be? Will I get the colours I love?

Dishing the finished stir fry into bowls, I give David his bowl and put mine down. One last photo I say.

Outside the sky has deepened to rich tones of golden red. It’s fleeting beauty but one I revel in every time I witness it. I take another few photos then simply admire the view.

Satisfied I head back inside to eat my evening meal and remain grateful for sunsets.

Kim