Friday, June 26, 2020

Choices - Making a Still Life

Daisy Photo Shoot
I have heard some photographers say that they only press the shutter once or twice in each location. They spend most of their time walking the site, framing the best angle in their mind and then take the shot.

I don't do that.

I do spend time thinking things through ahead of time (provided it's not something that you just need to raise your camera and grab shot). However, there is something about the process for me that makes it a necessity to press the shutter. It helps me think. For a still life, whether it's out in the field with a landscape image, or in the house with an actual still life, I make many photographs. Different backgrounds, different angles.

Then when I look at the images on my computer, I make more decisions. There are as many ways to process images as there are to take them. I decided that I liked the image on the right the best - just a solid background, slightly off centre. And then I played a bit.
The original image is on the left, with a slight vignette added. The next image is desaturated, with some colour left on the daisies. The third image is a wild card, with heavy textures and processing done with the press of a button. For my final, and favourite, image....I took the original (on the left) and darkened it, adding some moodiness that I decided I liked.

For me, the image on the right has taken a "ho hum" still life and added some drama.

The final result, a little larger: 
A Touch of Sunshine
I always find it amusing when someone says that photography is just the press of a button. Okay, let's be honest. Sometimes I don't find it funny...I just want to sigh.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

how mood affects an image

An image making challenge for me this month over at Inspiration Collaboration involved bubbles, specifically a painting by Helen Eaton called Blowing Bubbles.

This challenge took me in a few different directions, and was a good example of how mood can affect the outcome of an image. I'll show you two paths my creative journey took me.

First, a photograph of bubbles in my drinking glass, courtesy of club soda, got me heading for my camera.

This is a "real" photograph, with the colour amped up a bit. My clear glass was sitting on an orange placemat when I took the photo. I thought the image was interesting, but it didn't really grab my imagination.

A few days later, I was thinking about the image again. It was a terrible week in the news. Marches and protests were held all over the world. Years of systematic racism, and the filmed murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, erupted into outrage not seen in years. I am white. My whole life has been what some might call privileged. I cannot, just cannot, imagine what anyone who does not have white skin must face on a daily basis. My heart actually hurt at some of the things I saw reported on the news. How can people treat each other like this? Worse than animals? 

I was in this mindset when I tried to work with my bubble image again. I changed the image to black and white, overlaid with a gritty texture. This is the result:
The Rising
I don't make political statements, and keep my thoughts to myself. But in my mind these bubbles symbolize people. People coming together. People rising up through the darkness from oppression.
Where will it all end? I hope for a better world. And I hope...really hope...that my hope starts to be stronger than my fears.

My emotions came out through my editing when I was working on this image. Dark and brooding, it was a good exercise in how working with art can release inner feelings.

But it was not a good match for Helen's Blowing Bubbles painting. So the next week I had another inspiration. This is my creation...another "real" photograph:
Bubble with Joy
Happy bubble...bubble over...bubbling with joy. Where do I feel like that? In my garden. No matter what's going on in my life, or in the world around me, walking through my garden brings me joy. Yellow, the colour of happiness, a flower to convey a sense of place, and bubbles to signify joy, combine to visually express how I feel in my garden.

As I said, this image wasn't created on the computer. Here's how I accomplished it:
I have a clear paperweight filled with bubbles, and I took the photos while holding the paperweight over the flowers. Sometimes creativity can come into play without a computer :)