Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Adventures in Seeing - Open

Hi! And welcome to what might be a regular or occasional post in the year ahead. I received a new photography book from my son for Christmas, called Adventures in Seeing, by Kim Manley Ort. The chapters take you on a journey and invite you to slow down and connect with what you see before you take a photo. This appeals to me. As a keen photographer I have always taken my camera everywhere and been open to what inspires or draws me but recently, caught up in other things, my passion has got lost. I got lost. So I am trying to find my way back.

I like projects and focus and for a number of years I did Project 365. But when I got too busy with other things the photos just piled up as computer downloads and eventually I gave up. I did complete a year of Tree Following, and posted a monthly blog about the changes I saw. I enjoyed this but decided not to continue for a second year and so last year I took a break from both these projects.   

And now, with a new camera and an intention to reconnect, I am excited to discover this book and the closed Facebook group where members will work together.  There are 45 weekly themes and as I want to enjoy the course and not feel pressured I do not plan to post regularly. But I will share from time to time and thought I would start with some of the photos I have taken this week.

The theme is OPEN. It connects with me, because I am practicing ways to be more present, such as meditating and taking time to pause or go more slowly. Open is a good place to start, and it invites all kinds of ideas. Here are a couple of examples:

These reeds drew my attention, the different textures and the way they gently waved in the breeze. However, it was my husband who pointed out the sound of the stems as they gently touched. I realised my eyes might be open but not my other senses.
A good lesson learnt.

On our way we noticed part of a building that interested us. Usually hidden by trees it now stood out clearly so we left the river edge and ventured down a path that led towards a row of houses. We paused to admire their location and unusual architecture then retraced our steps.  It is good sometimes to explore and be open to what the day brings.  To follow the path unknown.

I hadn't intended to take a photo, I simply opened the front door and noticed frost on the car windscreen. I immediately had the urge to pick up my camera. I am getting used to the new settings and features and after a couple of shots I noticed that the frost was quickly melting. A few more minutes and their crispness would be lost. I learnt that sometimes you have to grab the opportunity while it lasts, as some are fleeting.

On my walk this morning this gate and hedge make me think of the word OPEN. I like taking photos of gates, doors, windows, and what look like openings - they invite investigation and mystery. A portal into the unknown. So I walked closer for a different perspective.

And sometimes what first appears open, isn't.

An opening suggests a way of entry, a coming and going. There are cattle in this field so the padlock might delay or deter rustlers. But it might have another purpose too. Last year someone abandoned a pony into the field, leaving the farmer with responsibility for it's welfare. Who'd have expected this?

Sometimes being open invites surprises and unwanted outcomes, but wouldn't life be dull if it was safe and predictable? So, take the unknown paths and didn't forget to pause to look more closely as you go about your day!  I'll be back sometime with more Adventures in Seeing.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

5 in 5 - Melanie - January 2017

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography.  Every month since the start of this challenge Melanie has taken part in this monthly meme and as she doesn't have her own blog I post here. I love that we have found a way for her to take part, so over to you Melanie:

Happy New year to all and sundry near and far.  I hope 2017 will be a good year for you.  I am beginning the year with some shots of my sunflower crop.  I am very pleased with the results of planting sunflowers this year as I have many flowers and they give a great splash of colour to our back yard.  Admittedly the earwigs and caterpillars are enjoying them as well but the holes in leaves and petals just add to their appearance.  This week we are experiencing temperatures in the mid-thirties so have the sprinklers on our veg plot working first thing in the morning.  These sprinklers just spray the heads of one group of sunflowers and in the photo on the bottom left hand side you can spot the water droplets.  If you are living on the side of the world where it is now winter I hope you enjoy my touch of summer. 

Thank you for sharing these photos, Melanie, and as always, for taking part!  

On this cold frosty day it was a treat to see these photos of sunflowers. I love their big smiley faces and yellow is such as uplifting colour. I am looking forward to Spring and to seeing my own garden in colour but it is important to appreciate what the day brings. And so I took photos of frost crystals this morning and I hope whatever season you are enjoying, that you find something to appreciate and want to pick up your camera.  

 Hopefully Melanie will be back next month and I look forward to you joining us. Thank you for popping by, it is great to have your company.

If this has inspired you to pick up your camera and join in please go to the original post where you will also find out how to link in.

And to find out more about this monthly photo challenge, and how this started, please go to this post.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

5 in 5 - January 2017 - Happy New Year!!

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

A very happy new year to you!  I hope you enjoyed the festive season and that your year will be especially good.

Did you have any nice surprises?

My lovely husband bought me a new camera, so unwrapping that on Christmas day was exciting. I have thought about buying a new camera for a good while as my old faithful was bought in 2008 and is looking a bit tired now. I am sure the images are not quite as sharp and technology moves on, but there are so many cameras to choose from so it was difficult to choose a replacement. In the end I chose to stick with Lumix because I have always been happy with my camera and the reviews of the newer version were pretty impressive.

To go with the camera my son bought me a book that I wanted: 'Adventures in Seeing' by Kim Manley Ort. Have you heard about it? 
The book is accompanied by a Facebook group where you can work through the book with others. I look forward to doing this.

I started the 5 in 5 photo challenge to help me pause and focus on taking photos - the 5 minute time frame helped me to see things differently, to challenge myself in different light or to take interesting photos of the mundane. But sometimes I get carried away in the excitement of the moment, or am rushed and don't pause to really connect with the photo I am taking. So I look forward to doing this more this year, and my plan is to take less photos. If you read my last two posts on 'Time to Photo Prune and Propogate' and 'It's only stuff', you will know that I am trying to regain control of my photos and to be more organised in future.  As well as saving to the cloud, today I backed my photos onto an external hard drive: over 57,000 of them. I am sure feeling overwhelmed takes away the sparkle, so I am starting the year with a contemplative approach to taking photos and trying to find the connection I once felt. I hope '5 in 5' and the new book will help me.

My new camera has some creative settings so I thought I would play with these as I celebrated the New Year watching fireworks. I didn't have to go far as I was watching on TV, cosy on my sofa in the warm! So here are my 5 photos this month, taken in 5 minutes, and it proves you don't have to go far!


I might keep some of these photos as textures. I used to enjoy playing with Photoshop and creating layers but I haven't done this for a long time.  Now I have forgotten how to, and so the learning starts all over again. My interest has returned because I wanted to order a photo canvas as a Christmas present. But my picture was spoilt by an ugly plastic bottle in view, so I decided to try and remove it. After a few fumbles I picked a book off my shelf - Photoshop for Dummies - and within a few minutes I had done it! This has inspired me to get back to playing with my photos because while I was at university digital creativity kept me sane and happy. Once I had time and opportunity to get my art materials out again I forgot about Photoshop. But I love experimenting and creating different effects so it's time to get the book out again and relearn. But first I will finish deleting and organising photos I already have. That makes sense, doesn't it? 

What about you?  Do you have plans or ideas for what you want to do this year? I'd love to hear about them.

And if you are inspired to pick up your camera and join in with this challenge it would be lovely to have your company.  

Here is the plan, and there are more details here

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.

                              You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

A big thank you to everyone who has taken part over the past year. Some of you have become friends and regular contributors, I really value this. I appreciate not everyone wants to join in with the photo challenge and that's okay, because visitors are very welcome too! So thank you for popping by and feel welcome to leave a comment or link with 5 photos, and I will see you back here next month!

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