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.
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.
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 😉
I continue playing with apps to turn my photos into digital art. This isn’t something I want to do with all my photos. I prefer my photography to be about capturing something I’ve seen. But every now & again I like to step away from what I love & try something different. Digital art is an easy way to do this. I used Prisma to create this image & I like how it has turned out.
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.
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.
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.
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.