Who would have thought muscle memory had anything to do with photography? Scott Bourne explains that, just like musical ability, practising with one’s camera is vital in aiming for that perfect shot, or lots more perfect shots! Scott explains:
During the pandemic, I am practising my modal scales on the guitar every day and I am handling my camera every day. I see the benefits right in front of me. Both my musical ability and my photographic ability have improved. If you do not use them, you will lose them.
So give this a try. Grab your camera and your camera manual. Open any random page in the manual and then whatever it describes, do that with the camera. Not only will your muscle memory improve, your knowledge of your specific camera will improve and then all that stuff will simply go away and drift into the background while you use all your brain’s conscious processing power to SEE and compose the next great image.
For me, I practise my art techniques – that is: painting and drawing and blogging, of course.
I can never produce anything of substance, if I do it once every three months or so. If I do it daily, or as often as I can, – I notice a HUGE improvement in my skills. I paint in a particular form of traditional Norwegian and Dutch art, called Rosemaling and Hindeloopen style. I have been practising this for many years, on and off.
So often we walk around in nature failing to notice the details, the grass under our feet.
Subtle changes in colour and appearance indicate the passing of the seasons. Many varieties of grass remain invisible, yet are an integral part of the natural landscape.
The theme for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge is:
‘Splendour in the Grass’
Using Grass to Frame a Landscape in Photography
In photographic terms, grass can be used to frame the shot or make an interesting feature in the foreground.
This ‘Moon viewing,’ photo captured during the Tsukimi festival in mid-Autumn, in Japan.
Japanese Senga Grass Fields at Mount Fuji
The Japanese find Splendour in the Sengakuhara Pampas Grass, by strolling along a walking trail, at the western side of Mount Hakone. For it is here that the changing colour of the tall grass offers stunning vistas. In November, the grass turns a shimmering, silvery gold. Wedding proposal and selfies abound at this time of year.
In Australia, a country fringed by blue oceans, you will find grass the colour of sunburnt earth, which often makes me yearn for the vivid fluorescent green grass of wetter climates.
Australian deserts display different kinds of saltbush grass.
In the arid conditions of the Australian landscape, plants have adapted to grow under extreme conditions, such as the grass tree.
Grass Trees in Australia
A relic of the Age of Dinosaurs, Xanthorrhoeas, also known as the Grass Tree, grow very slowly and are resistant to bushfire. In fact, fire helps the grass tree produce its flowers. They also have a unique symbiotic relationship with the soil. The presence of a mycorrhizal microbe in the soil around their roots allows them to flourish, even if the soils are nutrient-poor.
Grass Trees are highly sought after in Australian horticulture and as such are often illegally removed from their natural locations. They fetch high prices as ornamental plants. Little do the owners realize that if the soil in their garden does not contain the mycorrhizal enzyme, the grass tree that they paid so dearly for, will wither and die.
Imitating Nature in Growing Grass Trees
Here’s a secret that an old-timer once told me. Take a cup of brown sugar, put it in a bucket of water and water your grass trees once a month for two years with that mixture. The sugar feeds the mycorrhiza and gets it going and your grass tree will survive.
Is taking photos just a whim, a bit of fun? A hobby you would like to improve? Or a serious pursuit? Whichever category you fit into, (or don’t), we notice photos that are striking, ones that capture attention, (pun not intended).
Scott Bourne has some thoughts on the magic behind photography and it was his post that made me re-consider how we take photographs.
Do we snap a shot just as a record of what you saw?
Do we compose for interest?
We might even find an angle that portrays a little more emotion, particularly for street or portrait photography.
If so, we convey a feeling through the photograph to the viewer.
Scott explains a little more of what he looks for in a photo:
Unfortunately, in today’s instant gratification-hungry world, it’s rare to find someone who will look past the superficial to find something special. Everyone just wants a magic camera, or lens, or camera setting or post-processing, preset. Unfortunately there is no magic anything. What there is well, that is all about SEEING. I want to encourage you to “feel” your way to a photograph.
Scott Bourne – picturemethods.com
Some people have an eye for photography. Others have to work to develop it. Regardless of your camera budget, if you do have an eye or can develop it, your photos will attract attention.
Friendly Friday Theme – ‘Capturing a Feeling’
This week for Friendly Friday, when you take a photograph try to compose to capture a feeling or emotion.
If you are using your archival photographs, you might crop a photo or edit to exhibit a particular mood that you wish to create.
Today for example, we made a new friend.
A young magpie landed on our fence, literally right behind our heads, as we sipped our morning cup of tea. The bird was bold and curious and his reward for that, was a morsel of cake. We watched his confidence and trust, in us, slowly grow as I hand-fed him a small piece of ham.
I cropped the following photograph to create a feeling of intensity, of concentration and to convey the beginnings of trust in the bird’s eyes.
After tasting the morsel of carrot cake, he must have thought his luck had changed.
I like the contrast of nature and the stark white and ultra modern built environment behind, but feel that some editing would help the photo stand out. But today, I left it as is. What do you think?
This afternoon the bird returned with his mate, who was much more cautious about the ham and preferred a lawn grub or two which is far better for them, anyway.
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Many years ago, whilst travelling through country Australia, I snapped a photo of a patch of forest in an old park, where we’d stopped to have lunch. This was the days when you had to drop off your camera film and wait for several days, for it to be developed.
Weeks later, a friend saw the photo in my album and insisted the photo depicted a fairy pointing her finger towards something in the bushes. It was a mystery and a tad spine-tingling to remember there was a plaque, on a monument in that same park where I’d taken the photo, which said, “ in memory of the first white child who died in the valley.”
Photographers often claim to have captured photos with unexplained objects in them. Some turn out to be a simple case of double exposure, minute dust particles or even reflections, called Orbs, whilst others cannot be fully explained at all.
Do you believe in UFO’s or the Unusual?
More recently, as you can see in the photo below, I was in the picturesque town of Sandane, in Norway. I’d arrived in the early afternoon and was snapping photos of the fjord. Actually, it is pretty difficult for me not to take photos when I am presented with such natural beauty.
Walking further along the fjord, a shower of rain interrupted my progress, so I snapped a few photos and quickly turned back for the Gloppen hotel, where I was staying that night. Something strange appeared in the photos, that I noticed only when back in the hotel.
There was a pacman in the sky.
Or was it some kind of chopped Photo Orb?
What is an Orb?
Orbs are a somewhat new phenomenon that appeared at the dawn of the digital camera in the 1990s. At first, the camera manufacturers believed these orbs to be malfunctions of the camera, but to this day they claim that these balls of light are microscopic particles floating in the air. On the other hand, those in the paranormal community hold firm that these orbs are the presence of spirits.
How to Tell if an Orb is Dust or Something Unusual
From the abovementioned website, here is some information:
*If the orb or orbs in the photo seem to be behind a person or thing, as if peeking out or passing by, it could be supernatural. That’s because reflections don’t fall behind an object or person in a photo.
*If the orb has more density in the photo, it might not be a natural particle like dust.
*On film, if the orb or orbs seem to have a light of their own and move independently of wind or motion, it could be a spiritual encounter.
There are ‘Unusual’ things all around us.
Have you ever seen anything unusual?
Weekly Friendly Friday Prompt
For this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge, show us something you have photographed that was –
When Amanda asked me to write a post with the prompt, “Pink,” my mind went in many directions first.
Then I paused: what’s really my relationship with this girly colour?
Let’s be honest, no matter how modern you are on the gender stereotyping theme, it will still take yonks before pink is something else than a female shade!
I grew up in the 70s, though, which was supposed to be a decade of change and evolution in the matter. But my mother was rather traditional. My bedroom had a pink wall paper – until very very late.
I wore pink dresses.
But looking at this other photo from my dance class, (ironically, it’s black and white!!); it seems I was suddenly totally opposed to pink and decided to make it very clear!
Being a teenager is very tricky, isn’t it.
You want to fit in but also you want to show the world how different you are from the crowd!
That’s when I started wearing very different items of clothing.
I particularly loved a velvet jacket and suede tie which belonged to my grandfather – 4 sizes too big for me. The results of my combo choices were often extremely peculiar but I guess that’s how I decided to be creative at that time.
And took ballet classes wearing pale pink leotards and tights. In a way, pink was the colour of my childhood.Then the teenage years followed. And they were black. Didn’t we all wear black then? It was the way to merge.
Pink never really came back in my wardrobe in my adult years. Except for fuchsia. Vibrant colours are what define me now. In French, we have a way to qualify vivid shades: we call them “shouting” or “yelling tints.”
As if it was so bright, it could actually make an unpleasant sound.
In my never-ending craving for strong saturation, I even painted my house’s front wall, one Saturday afternoon, in bright pink. My courtyard had already been indoctrinated with a mixture of bleu majorelle (link to jardinmajorelle.com/ang/ ) and anis green !
Vero was born in a green and quiet Parisian suburb. She left this idyllic scenery in her early twenties to live in England, later settling in the South of France and started a family of three (+dogs!). Now in her forties, she lives in a rural coastal village in Brittany.
Thanks to Vero for this interesting glimpse into her relationship with the colour pink prepared for this week’s Friendly Friday theme.
If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger for a Friendly Friday Challenge post, please contact Amanda or Sandy – hosts of Friendly Friday, via our contact pages.