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.
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.
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.
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.
The construction of our new home has provided me with a lot of unexpected photographic opportunities. I initially thought that my photos of the build would be of documentary style only, showing progress as the house is built.
However I’ve found ample there has been opportunity to get creative with my photos. The strong lines of the house frame has provided me with a couple of fruitful photographic shoots, one of which I’ve already blogged about.
These two photos were taken after I’d mown our lawn (and weeds!) last Sunday. The garage slab had been poured then topped with water so it didn’t dry too quickly. I sat in the house & noticed the shadows cast by the frame. I took advantage of having my phone & took some photos.
Documentary style photography of the house build is important to me; this type of creative photography is proving to be equally important. It provides another way of looking at something that might seem mundane.
An unexpected gift of flowers from David for Valentines Day provided me the opportunity to get a little creative.
As soon as he handed them to me I knew getting in close was going to be the way to photograph them. The intricacies of the tiny little petals that make up one large flower head were begging me to photograph them. Best of all, the bunch has three of these large beauties, along with an assortment of tiny flowers and gum leaves. For the purposes of this post, with its valentines theme, I’ve posted a couple of photos of the red flower, however the creamy colour of the other two flowers are equally as interesting.
Having not yet committed to buying myself an extension tube for my Fuji, I grabbed my iPhone this morning to see what I could achieve. I find the Camera+ app is a great tool for this type of photography giving more flexibility than the native camera app. I’m happy with the results, with a good number of photos that I like and a couple that I might even print during the week.
Of course this exercise has fuelled my desire to get in even closer to subjects like this. I think next time an online camera store sends an email offering free delivery I’ll jump on it and buy myself an extension tube. I’m imaging now the fun I’ll have getting nice and close using one of those 🙂
I have been considering buying a macro lens for my X-Pro1 for some time. I’ve seen some amazing macro photos, and it’s a genre I feel I would enjoy. If I look around my current surroundings, there are a lot of things whose detail is often missed. There is the grain on the wood clothes basket, the patterns in the skin of apples, or fine details in my jewellery for instance.
However purchasing a good quality macro lens doesn’t come cheap. And I’ve so far had no luck obtaining a cheap second hand lens via eBay or gumtree. So for now, I’m content with using the close up filters I bought for my X-Pro lenses and using the macro setting in the Camera+ app on my iPhone. These options don’t give me true macro, nor do they allow me to print large quality photos, but for now they whet my appetite.
The past fortnight has seen a lot of movement on our building site. The floor was completed, thankfully as the frame was ready earlier than expected. It’s been amazing to see the progress take place relatively quickly. It’s not quite finished yet, as the garage slab needs to be poured. Once it has set it’s frame and roof trusses can go up.
While I was walking through the house frame I realised the trusses create some fascinating angles. The best way to photograph them? Laying flat on my back! I then had a little fun playing around in post processing, creating these two images. I think they are a nice contrast against the ‘boring’ (read taken from a normal angle of view) photos that I’ve taken of the frame.
My home is surrounded by a table grape vineyard. I enjoy keeping an eye on the progress of the vines throughout the year. They go from being heavily laden with bunches of grapes, to being empty of fruit as its snipped off by workers, then slowly as the season changes the leaves begin to fall, leaving bare branches. Long, woody & bent in weird ways, I love the architectural look they produce. Eventually they get cut short and tidied up, and in what feels to me like a blink of an eye green shoots start appearing, and a new cycle of growth begins.
I amazed by how quickly the vines grow. And by their tenacity. The vines behind my back yard fence grow up and over my fence, draping downwards, growing along the ground. I leave them there, because although there are no bunches of grapes on them, they are covered in leaves that are a beautiful shade of green. And they also provide a little bit of shade; at the right time of day my dogs happily take refuge in it or go looking for critters hiding among the leaves.
It feels to me like the vines in this photo are growing so much they are trying to reach for the sky. Of an evening, when the colours produced by the sunset are just right (which thankfully is more often than not), I like to take a moment to stop & drink in the beautiful view.
Unfortunately the view has now changed. The vines have been covered in plastic wrap to protect the still growing grapes. Lots of white plastic isn’t pretty, & of course it’s stopped those vines from reaching for the sky. I look forward to next season when I can get back to capturing photos like this.