Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter's Beauty

by Leigh

Winter….my least favorite time of year. Work is slow, the sun shines less often, the cold brutal wind chills me to the core and then there are the snow days.  Snow day after snow day after snow day……you catch my drift.  So here I am stuck at home as the snows falls outside.  The kids are ecstatic that school was closed and I tell myself that's it's better to be inside my warm cozy home than out in the elements.  I had my post for this week all planned out.  I was going to use the monthly focus as inspiration.  But that idea quickly faded as I realized that I have very little red in my house.  No problem…I'll just head to the store and pick up some red flowers to photograph.  Oh yeah….the roads are too slick.  So here I am stuck at home and my plan isn't going to pan out.  Thanks a lot winter.  You suck.

But then I remembered the fondness I discovered for winter just a couple weeks earlier.  My friend Jamie, a landscape architect at Olthia and I hosted a Native Plant + Photography Workshop.  When she first approached me with the idea of a workshop in the middle of winter I was skeptical to say the least.  Who in their right mind wants to photograph plants in the winter!  But after we met at the park and she showed me the plants she wanted to focus on….I understood her vision.  I took my camera out and began to shoot….and there was beauty to be found everywhere!  so the seed was planted for our workshop with the tagline, 

"the plants aren't dead….they're just sleeping." 

Our goal was to show people the beauty of these native plants in the winter and how to capture that beauty with your camera.  As Jamie called it, "an out-of-the-ordinary adventure into the soul of indigenous plants, via your camera lens. The seed continued to grow and I got more and more excited about this new adventure.

I chose to focus on five aspects of photography.  Jamie took these and married them beautifully with her five plant focuses.
  • Be Composed-and get in the thicket of it (Sumac)
  • Shift Perspective-to find that which feeds you (Persimmon)
  • Be Focused-and discover a hidden gem (Beautyberry)
  • Seek The Light-but have firm roots (Little Blue Stem)
  • Be Detailed-to see the cosmos in a single flower (Sunflower)
We offered a morning and an evening workshop.  The two different times allowed it to be a new experience for us with each group.  The five days following the workshop we had carefully crafted emails sent to the participants with even more info about the five plants and their corresponding photography element. Planning is now underway for more Native Plantography workshops.  Our goal is to have one every season with different plants and photography subjects.

I am so thankful for Jamie encouraging me to "get out in it".  It is so easy to shut ourselves inside when the weather doesn't suit us.  But just because the days can be dreary, the temperature cold, the sunshine non existent, doesn't mean there isn't beauty to be found.  I have found inspiration in winter and inspiration for new ways to share my passion with the world.  

Thank you Jamie from the bottom of my heart, for opening my eyes to ideas that I would have never pursued on my own.  


Sarah Huizenga said...

That workshop would definitely make me feel good about Winter, at least for a day. I loved your You Suck comment. Totally agree! I like a little Winter but I have had enough!

Kim Stevens said...

And even though we haven't had it nearly as bad as most, it has been cold for us here and rainy and I haven't felt much like going out. But you know how the sunrise whispers to me...I am always so glad I go, and it's pretty cold some mornings in the low 30's and then there is the gulf winds. I have found some of the most wonderful grasses this winter. I love the idea of your workshop - I have wanted to do something similar with kids and sea life on the beach when the seaweed comes in. At least we know it's not if, but when springs comes.... :)

Dotti said...

This is a wonderful perspective on outdoor winter photography and illustrated with photos that inspire. I will tell you upfront, I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather. {So is my camera!} Some of my snow photos this winter have been from the window of my back porch. :-D But you have inspired me {when it warms up a bit and the snow/sleet/rain thing stops} to venture beyond my own backyard and find some organic winter beauty. Good job, Leigh!

heyjudephotography said...

Your workshop looks great, and what a great idea to do one each season. I do like to get out in the winter and shoot photos. It gets harder to find inspiration though after the winter has dragged on and on. I'll take your advice and continue to get out there - right after the 10 inches of snow that we got over night clears a little!

Katie said...

being on our TENTH snow day since winter began here in the Barren Tundra (a.k.a. northwest Arkansas), this post makes me look forward to getting back out there once all this frozen stuff melts away and stays away.

and that, "winter, you suck" has been my mindset for weeks now. : )

Ahayes1225 said...

I would love to take a workshop like that...

kelly said...

yeah i'm right there with you leigh. but i think there is something to finding beauty...even when you have to look a little harder. and you do it better than anyone. :)

Carol said...

I so wish I lived near enough to take your course. I know very little about plants, and I am sure I would learn buckets! Your brochures and posters look professionally done. I'm sure you did a great job!

Anonymous said...

Great job at capturing the winter beauty. I would love to take a workshop like that…but in the spring! I seriously think I have SAD when I can't get out in the sunshine and romp around in the woods or on the beach. Love the "you suck"comment…made me laugh. Thanks for sharing!

Cathy H. said...

I LOVE THIS POST! I love winter! (Now, granted, I'm not buried in snow, but it is very cold) To go out and find beauty in starkness thrills me! I would love to live near enough to you to join you in these nature groups.

Ida said...

Well I must say I've been trying harder this year to appreciate winter more (still struggling with that idea) and look for the beauty around me. That I've found a little more then I normally would. - Your photos are quite lovely, especially the berries. The workshop sounds awesome. Sure wish there were workshops like that around here.

susan said...

Such a great idea Leigh and so glad you are pursuing this! Love all your images…especially the last one. I'm 'assuming' that's you in the field and it's spectacular! :)

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