Since you’re forced to slow down anyway, take advantage of it.
Like most smartphone photographers I find myself being the family historian—it’s only fair since we always have our cameras with us. And even though most of us aren’t thrilled about having to follow “shelter in place” guidelines we can still make the best of it by practicing and getting better at our photography. We’re most likely spending this time with our family and furry friends so let’s take advantage them! I mean, take advantage of the time.
Children and pets make great subjects while you’re practicing, but don’t try to force them to model. As the historian you can get some really genuine moments if you’re patient, and if your children and pets are like mine they won’t model anyway. Remember you’ve got time to just sit back and observe—photograph them when the moment is right.
If you’re indoors look for light (the softness of window light is the best). If you’re outdoors look for light (best times are morning and evening walks) think sunrise and sunset but because you have a smartphone you can prolong the sunset hours and look for nice shade if it’s too late after sunrise in the morning. And if you’re shooting in the middle of the day (not recommended but still can be done) I put myself and my camera in the shade—even if what I’m shooting is in direct sunlight. Also, foggy misty mornings or just after it rains are great times to run out and get some landscape shots.
Or try some flowers in your garden. You’re practicing—you can shoot whatever you want as much as you want. I would recommend not shooting the same subject exactly the same way over and over. If you feel you need more than one shot of something, change your angle and perspective. You’ll be glad you did when you go back to edit. Also, try some apps to add back what the camera didn’t capture. I absolutely love Lens Distortions. It’s perfect for enhancing the rain, mist and lens flares you capture. And I would recommend only enhancing at first, save putting in something that wasn’t there for later—much later.
I’ll talk more about apps in another post but for now I hope this is helpful.
Love is a verb. You can give it by showing kindness, through a shared experience, or by simply listening to someone. If you manage, somehow, to accomplish all three of those at the same time? Well, that’s a little bit of heaven on earth. This image is from a moment like that, and I will hold it in my heart and never let it go.
I started out as a traditional artist, and I mean from the time I had my first vivid artistic memory. My father was drawing a pencil sketch on an entire wall of our home, and I remember watching him (while he whistled) and feeling at peace and thinking how beautiful the drawing was — I felt joy. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s, and questioning my mother about the drawing that I was told, “You can’t remember that you were only six months old!” Hahaha! I was always drawing, painting, singing, feeling and looking for wonder. It’s in my blood. My great-grandmother was among some of the first women to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. It was while she was there, that she met my great-grandfather, who had been invited to this country to perform violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (He had been brought up in the King’s Court in Austria where he achieved Concertmaster). There are ballerinas, painters, singers, writers, storytellers, and musicians on both sides of my family, so I don’t think I could have outrun art, even if I’d wanted to. I was lucky enough to know, and be influenced by many of them. However, I never met my great-grandparents — but I feel them all the time.
I told you all of that to tell you this…
I believe that seeing is so much more than seeing. Seeing is also feeling, and making a mental note about how you feel. Take this seagull photo I recently captured in Norway. I was standing hillside and looking onto this beautiful scene when all of a sudden this seagull showed up and flew right next to me, in front of me and soared high above me. I felt joy! As soon as I recognized my joy I went for my camera because I knew that something magical could happen (and so did that seagull). Sure enough, with a little patience, things lined up. Haven’t you ever been driving somewhere and looked out your window and saw a beautiful sky or shoreline, or tree, or haven’t you been present and heard a child giggling and felt joy? Or peace? Or wonder? Whatever the feeling was, you felt something, right? Oh man, when you do, when you feel that something, make sure you stop or go back or do whatever you have to do to see, see what you felt. Once you feel it, you can see it, and once you see it you can capture it.
I wish you joy, peace, wonder, feeling and seeing.
I’m not one for resolutions but I don’t want to leave 2017 without saying something to you so I’ll let my late uncles do the talking for me. Since they’re all passed this should be interesting. My mother’s three brothers were all characters and very different from one another—making them the best uncles ever and I loved each one dearly. You can take their advice into 2018 (or don’t) either way, they were awesome, and I wish you a bright, healthy, and Happy New Year!
From the oldest to youngest…
The Coach/Businessman who said, “Don’t let anyone just bring you a problem. They also need to show up with three possible solutions.”
The Cowboy who said, “Never follow a snake into its own hole.”
And the Hippy who said, “Give and keep it—to yourself.”
A best friend is someone who lets you venture out or someone who lets you stay close to the shore. Whichever friend you are there is no judgment in love—you just need to stand together in life’s current. I like that about best friends. 💛