Friday, May 22, 2015

It's Really Simple

by Dotti

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
                                                                                                                                ~ Confucius

The first of this year, I joined Kim Klassen’s The Studio|On Line, as many of you did. This is a still life oriented gathering and as I’ve shared before, although I love a beautifully composed still life with beautiful props as much as the next gal, it is not the first thing I think to shoot.

But does that mean I don't 'do' still life?

What I’ve come to realize now that our garden is coming to life is that my still life photos are different than most of the still life photos one would expect to see. In the winter, I’ll do my share of gathering props, surfaces and backgrounds, but I soon tire of all the busyness of it. What I’ve learned is that I like my still life photos to be simple, photos that are filled with simplicity instead of props. It still qualifies as a still life but with a less is more attitude.

Composition is key in any still life photo and focusing on simplicity is no exception. In the top photo, I’ve used a lot of negative space to contrast the pink on the rose and placed the jar in the corner of the photo to lead the eye up to the rose. The white background is provided by the white prop chair that sits on my back porch. It couldn’t be any easier.

 Here’s another less is more photo but there are still a lot of things going on here: the leading lines in the bench create opposing lines to the curve of the flower and the neutral color provides needed contrast. Again, I’ve placed the stem of the rose out of the frame in the right hand corner of the photo to draw the eye to the color of the rose. And the bonus in this photo is the wonderful texture in the old bench. So what appears at first glance to be a simple photo really has a lot going on yet it was created with a minimum of fuss.

In my final example of simple still life photography, I’ve placed the rose still in the jar on top of the same bench in photo #2. But instead of using the leading lines of the bench, I’ve used a shallow depth of field to isolate the rose, bringing the eye to rest on that portion of the photo.

So if you’re like me and don’t like to spend a lot of time gathering props, backgrounds and surfaces for your still life photos, take a different approach. I find that this time of year is perfect for this kind of photography because the garden is coming into bloom and many days all I have to do is go outside and snip a few blooms. But if you don’t have a garden or you live in the Southern Hemisphere where it’s autumn instead of spring, be sure to visit the garden section of your favorite grocery store. For just a few dollars, you can buy yourself a wonderful and fun creative experience … without a lot of fuss.

And it doesn't have to be flowers. Cups of tea or coffee, cool drinks, book, the sky's the limit. Use your imagination! See what you can create using a less in more approach and then share it on our Flickr page. I'd love to see what you do!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finding Time

by Judy

"Time is a created thing. 
To say 'I don't have time,' is like
saying, 'I don't want to."
-Lao Tzu-

In a recent chat with my husband, I mentioned that I never seemed to have time anymore to do what I want to do each day.  Sure, I made the time to do the things I needed to do, but I didn't feel like I was ever doing what I loved to do. And then it hit I was just sitting on the sofa in our family room, chatting with my husband as we both half watched the evening news. I realized that there was probably some time in my day, maybe a lot of time in my day, that I was wasting instead of doing what I love.  

Now, before I go any further I want to say that I completely believe in down time.  Time where you can just sit and do absolutely nothing if you so desire  - or chat with your husband and half watch the news. But I realized that there were so many things in my days that sucked the living daylights out of my time.  And I realized that there are large chunks of my days where I am the one in control of my time. I knew that I could do better.  I knew that I could find some time to do the things I loved instead of just griping about having no time at all.

This is what I did:

1. I made a short list of what I really wished I could fit into each day, or at the very least, several times a week that I just wasn't finding the time for.  My list =  Photography, yoga, reading, and finding time again for my personal blog. 

2. Then I opened a blank page in my journal and sketched out a squares labeled Monday through Friday.  (saner people may just get a calendar and do this step that way).  For me, taking the time to sketch it out seemed to make it more important.  

3. Next I wrote a list of the things I do in my "free time" that are time wasters.  My list = Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the internet in general, and TV watching when I really have no interest in what is on.  

4.  Then I scheduled my "want to do's" in my weekly calendar.  I scheduled my "have to do's" around my "want to do's." Now my "want to do's" had their own specific day and time to be done  - very important for someone like me who loves lists and schedules. And what an eye-opener!  I realized I did have plenty of time separate from the things I have to do each day.  Believe me - plenty of time! And I still left free time to sit and do absolutely nothing too!  

Do you ever feel like you don't have time for the fun things in your life? Try what I did. I think that you will be amazed at just how much time is spent doing things that you're not enjoying, and that are wasting a lot of your precious time.  It worked for me! We are all given the same amount of time each day.  24 hours. 1440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. How will you find time to do what you love? 

"The bad news is, time flies.
The good news is, you're the pilot."


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Focus on You

by Leigh

What a joy it is to browse the FOL Flickr group and see all the amazing photographs! The talent is truly top notch. This photo by Evangelina Murray caught my eye as I was scrolling through.  Please take a minute and visit her Flickr stream to see more beautiful images like this one. 

© Focusing On Life