Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Found My Thrill

by Kelly

As I sit here typing up this blog post, it is about 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the north wind is howling something fierce.  Needless to say, I am not feeling inspired to bundle up and head outside to find something to photograph for my 365 project.

To be honest, I had sort of forgotten how uninspired this time of year can be, photographically speaking. Seems like the other seasons are practically handing inspiration to us on a silver platter...an ever-changing array of colors and textures.  It's not hard to find magic.  But this time of year, it takes a little more work.  

So the other day, I decided to take matters into my own hands and look for some inspiration.  I happened to be cleaning out some old Southern Living magazines and in the process I stumbled across this photo.

It's that just so delightful??  I loved the gorgeous color combination and textures.  And so standing there over the recycle basket I decided that I would try to recreate this photo.  Use the relative quiet of Winter to practice on my still life skills.  Something that does not come easily to me.

So the first thing I did was to gather my supplies.  I bought two containers of blueberries from the grocery store.  I pulled my colander from the cupboard. I didn't have any blueberry branches, but I did have some greenery from a bunch of flowers I had bought earlier in the week.  And finally I dragged my favorite old, white chair from the other room.

Next I scoured my house looking for the perfect spot to set up my shot.  This time of year, my front door (which faces north) gets very soft, indirect light.  

{Thank you for not noticing how dirty my baseboards are.}

And then once I messed around with the placement of the berries and the greenery I started shooting away. Here is one of my first attempts SOOC.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the light and the composition.  Like I said, I had to improvise with the greenery, but I still think it works for this.

Next I moved the berries around a bit.  

{Please...don't say it...I'm probably the only person in the world who could overthink a basket of blueberries to this degree..  But it's a special talent I've mastered through years of practice.}

Now I'm pretty happy with this shot.  Nice composition.

But one of the things I really liked about my inspiration photo was the deeply saturated colors and the square crop.  So I played around with the processing in Lightroom.  I increased the clarity, vibrance, and saturation a fair bit. 

Yeah.  I like that.  Fun.

But of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I played around a bit more with the placement of the berries and the colander and came up with this composition which I think I like even more.

And then that got me thinking....if what I love so much about this photo is the green/blue combination, what would happen if I put the blueberries in a green bowl?

Yeah, I like that too.  Completely different feel, but still pretty.

See what happened there?  I started out trying to recreate my inspiration piece, and in the process, got completely inspired.  And after an hour of photographing blueberries I got inspired to make some blueberry bread.

It's like the gift that keeps on giving!

So I thought it might be fun if you wanted to play along!  Take this opportunity to play around inside and have some fun with your photography.  Find a photo either from a magazine or one of your favorite photographers - it doesn't have to be food (although that does have benefits) - and try your hand at recreating the shot.  

And just to be clear, what we are doing is learning from the masters.  Copying the works of art they have created to better our own art {painters have done this for years}. Finding our own inspiration. But the key here is to give full credit to the artist of the inspiration piece {asking for permission to use the photo if applicable} and not passing it off as our own.  Because that's not cool.

Anyway, if you want to play along, feel free to post your inspiration piece {with appropriate permission and/or credit} and your own, original take on it to our Flickr pool.  It's a great way to learn and have fun at the same time.

Happy Shooting!



Sarah Huizenga said...

I LOVE this idea! Because all I have been able to do for the past few weeks is Still Life work. I think the fun and challenge of Still Life is moving things around and trying different placements, angles, apertures, etc.

Sarah Huizenga said...

Ok…just had a thought while I was in the shower, walking and showering are my two best places to think. Anyway, what if you (FOL) posted an inspiration photo (it can still be something found in a magazine or on Pinterest, etc) a week and those who wanted to could replicate that in their own way. Or they can come up with their own inspiration photo. The idea came about because I really want to try the blueberry shot :) Just a thought :)

Dotti said...

Hmmmm ... Sarah ... we'll have to roll that suggestion around a bit. With a rotation of bloggers, we'd have to think a bit ...

But, Kelly ... YES! Winter is indeed the Season of Still Life photography for me. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather {and so is my camera} so I buy a lot of flowers. And, yes, I love, love, love my flowers. But you know, you can get in a rut. A couple of weeks ago, I bought some pears and got a lot of mileage out of those. Fruit is always a good subject.

Excellent suggestion and wonderful challenge! But I'll have to wait for it to warm up a bit before I run out to buy my blueberries. {It's -5 here right now.}

Great post, Kelly!

Beverly said...

Such an inspirational post all in one place - beautiful photo from the magazine and excellent photos Kelly!! I love that old chair. Bowl, colander they both look perfect. I like your front door setting for great light. I have a very big stack of original editor Victoria magazines that I peruse through often to get inspired. Yes, I'm in the same deep freeze as Dotti - it is -5 or something like that right now. Well done!!

Linda said...

Kelly, your post is great and your photos are so lovely! I do like the one with the shallow DOF the best! When I got to the part about making blueberry bread, I cracked up! Totally something I would do! I will use any excuse to include some food! lol! Anyway...I do more still life in the winter doldrums. I was just thinking today how I need a worn, old looking surface for a table.. Your chair is perfect!

Jeanne said...

Great shots and lots more fun that sitting around wishing for spring! And especially like that this is a gift that keeps on giving!

terriporter said...

Love that you found an inspiration photo and then took it to a whole new level! Perfect idea for finding something to shoot on a cold winter day. (Of course, I wouldn't know anything about cold winter days! :-) I have been wanting a chair like yours ever since I saw it and this past weekend while I was up in the mountains, I looked all over for one but no luck. However, I did find some lovely old bottles and an old aqua Mason jar with the original zinc lid and can't wait to do some still life shots with that! I love finding an inspiration photo and then seeing if I can recreate it. If you got one of my Christmas cards, the inspiration for that was found on Pinterest and I played an entire morning creating my version of it. Unfortunately, no food was involved! I like Sarah's idea and we will have to think of a way to make that work on FOL!

Anonymous said...

Great inspiration Kelly! Although ALL of the photos are great, I think my fav would have to be the one with the blueberries spilling out of the colander! This post has got me to looking around the house for a decent photo bench…btw, I love your old wide baseboards! Looks like a beautiful vintage home:) Stay warm and thanks for sharing!

Focusing on Life said...

I love this post, Kelly! Isn't it amazing - that process. This is how it always feels to me...You start by thinking "I have nothing to do." Then (for me anyway), you say "OK, this is lame copying someone else's work." But then you start, and you see things, and you add things, - and suddenly it's at least a half hour later, and you feel like you've been lost in creativity - and somehow this "lame" project idea has become your own and come out the other side as a totally original creation of your own ( and no one else's - vision.) It surprises me every time! But that's the difference between inspiration and copying. And inspiration is everywhere - indoors and out. If you like something, then you should explore it - and then, when nice people like you, pass on the process - we all get to learn! Love it, love it ,love it

janice said...

I like the idea of an inspiration photo also... Kelly, great job playing with the blueberries! Beautiful shots and the bread looks delicious too.

Linda/patchwork said...

Great idea.
We don't have the really tough weather some do. Today isn't so great. But, I'm already seeing I'm going to get stalled with ideas for 365.
I guess that's part of the idea...be creative.
You nailed it.

heyjudephotography said...

Kelly, these photos are all beautiful. When I was a student at the New York Institute of Photography, my professors would give us assignments just like this. Unless we are copying and pasting someone else's photo, or work, and not giving them credit, there is no copying. Using another artist's work as inspiration is used by many artists. Since I've been "holed up" at home for a couple of weeks now, I've found myself having to find inspiration in anything and everything for my photos. Taking a photo a day has really challenged me when I have mostly had to take shots of things in my home. Now that I'm beginning to feel better I will take on this little assignment of yours and see what I can do!

Ida said...

Oh this was fun. I've never thought about doing that but it sounds like a great idea. We have horrible lighting in our house though. You got some great results with your photos.

Kim Stevens said...

I would have to make a trip to Marshall's for a cute colander though...my vintage yellow tupperware one just wouldn't cut it! Beautiful recreation with your own twist, and I love that you made bread with them afterwards! xo

Cathy H. said...

What a treat to read your post today! Every one of these images are beautiful! I love the added texture from your chair! I agree that inspiration is hard to find during the winter months, especially if it's too cold to go out doors. Trying to take a still life photo totally overwhelms and stresses me out. Mine look more like FLAT life!!

susan said...

Great post Kelly and looks like you had a fun day of photography which ended in some yumminess! I can just taste the blueberry bread.

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

Love love the green bowl and blueberries are particularly photogenic (can a fruit be photogenic ?)

Unknown said...

I am beyond inspired! What a fantastic idea and your images are breathtaking, I just love them. I plan to do this soon. Thank you, Kelly.

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