The Art of Seeing – Week 5

See this week’s post on my new blog at Chased by Beauty


The Art of Seeing – Week 4

Quote of the day: “Once you have tried these exercises, you will notice a definite–possibly a dramatic–improvement in your powers of observation. You will also discover powers of imagination you didn’t know you had…You will have more ideas for photographs than you ever dreamed possible, and be itching to reveal your new awareness of the world around you.” ~  Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

Rosemary plant photo
Rosemary plant - noticed the graceful curve of two leaves

This week’s Art of Seeing exercise comes from Freeman Patterson’s Photography and the Art of Seeing.  The exercise is as follows.

Set aside a minimum of three one-hour periods this week for making pictures.  Choose something in your home–inside or outside–that you want to photograph.

Before making any photographs, go to a comfortable chair and relax completely, following the breath and relaxing your muscles until limp.  Empty your mind. After 15-20 minutes, get up, pick up your camera, and start making photographs of the object you selected earlier. Stay relaxed and spend as much time as you want observing.  You can make only 2 or 3 pictures if that is all you feel like. Don’t critique your pictures or worry about whether they are any good. Just have fun.

That’s it.

I had great fun doing this exercise and found that I did indeed observe more than I usually do.  Here are some of the photos I took (along with a little bit of what I noticed when I made them).

Rosemary plant photo
Entranced by the light reflecting off plant pot
Leaves of Rosemary Plant
Loved the play of the green leaves against the colors of the placemat in the background
Fuzzy underside of gerbera daisy Intrigued by the fuzzy green underside of the flower
Curved gerbera daisy in blue vase
Loved the curve of the drooping stem, the negative space between vase and flower, the way the light played on the flower petals
Color impressions photo
Focused on the colors by chosing to take unfocused shot - shows color play without detail
Flower Petal Rhythm
Took intentional unfocused shot to convey the rhythm of the flower petals
Bell-shaped gerbera daisy Loved the fat bell shape of the upside-down gerbera daisy and the cheerful flips of the petals

The Art of Seeing – Week 3

Quote of the day:  “In photography, observing is the first and most important skill we have to learn. Learning to observe requires us to set time aside to “see” familiar things.” ~ Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

Painterly streaks of color (up'd the saturation a little in Lightroom) and Steering Wheel reflection in the sky

My photography lesson this week is not what I had planned to work on. But there is an old saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”  Instead of working on photography last week I spent quite a bit of time with relatives . We had two extended family members have unexpected surgery last week (ovarian cancer and heart bypass surgery), so family took precedence.

Have you ever noticed that when some kind of crisis occurs, you become crystal clear about what really matters?  For me, all sorts of things fall away in the light of what matters most to me.

Yesterday, as we were driving home from southern Minnesota, I decided to play some more with camera movement, this time in a moving vehicle.  I tried slow exposures, fast exposures, different angles, and different subject matter so that’s what I’ll share with you today.  How can you practice seeing this week?

Art of Seeing
Buildings with slow exposure - almost look like waves
Minneapolis Skyline from Interstate 35
Art of Seeing
Watercolor landscape
Buck Hill Ski Slope South of Minneapolis
The Art of Seeing
The Golden Hour

The Art of Seeing – Week 2

Quote of the day:  “Thinking sideways helps you not only to keep out of photographic ruts, but also to see subject matter you may have overlooked or not observed carefully. It enlarges your world.” ~ Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing
Looks like brush strokes

For those of you who are new to my blog, I’ve started taking one day a week to play with photography assignments from photographers I admire.

This week I decided to work with Freeman Patterson’s ideas on playing with camera movement, doing things like jumping up and down and pressing the shutter while jumping, swinging the camera back and forth or around after setting the timer to take a long exposure, moving camera up and down while taking a long exposure.

This turned out to be more fun than I expected.  I was outside in a wooded area at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, so my palette was muted browns, blue sky, a little green from evergreen trees, and a gray stone Japanese Lantern in the Japanese Garden.  Imagine what a very bright active background would be like if you played with camera movement.  Oh, I think I’m going to try that some day. It sounds like fun.

While I don’t plan to print any of these photos, I have some ideas for things I want to try in the future.  This type of photography feels very much like part luck and part skill since judging what shapes, colors and movements will create interesting photos takes some experience and skill and a lot of luck.  Training the eye to imagine what color, shape and movement will create is a good exercise.

Go out and play with your photography this week.  What can you do that helps you see differently?

Interesting patterns
Liquid Japanese Lantern and Tree Trunk
Shades of green and blue
Shapes and colors
Watercolor Trees and Sky
Tea House shapes

The Art of Seeing – Week 1

Quote of the day: “Draw up a list of some photographic rules; then go out and break them.” ~ Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

Macro of droopy, drying hydrangea blossoms

I’ve been reading Photography and the Art of Seeing  by Freeman Patterson and I’ve decided to challenge myself each week with an idea from the book as a photo shoot assignment.  I’d love for you to join me on my once a week explorations.  Send me a link to your most interesting results by Friday each week and I’ll pick some to post the next week in my blog.

Yesterday, I used the quote above to list a couple of the “rules” that I follow – take only photos of fresh new flowers and make sure the focal area of the photo is in focus – and I challenged myself to photograph the drooping, shriveling, drying flower bouquets that I would have ignored in the past, and to do some out of focus shots intentionally (don’t laugh, I do plenty unintentionally). Here are some of my more interesting results.

Dreamy out-of-focus hydrangea
Look at the interesting colors of the stems on the flowers
Black and White Hyacinths
Aging Flowers Wrinkle Just Like People Do