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
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.
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).
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
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?
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
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?
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
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.