Our assignment today at Starting the Journey was to take a bunch of photographs of something we're very familiar with as a subject. For me that has got to be flowers. I adore taking photographs of flowers, especially with the macro lens and the sun shining through the petals. But it's January and there aren't that many flowers blooming in Canada in January--even in Victoria. However just the other day while picking up a coffee at one of my favorite spots I'd noticed some Hellebore blooming in a pot. So this morning I headed over there with my camera.
Kat's instructions were to take about 50 photographs of the same subject. In fact I took three times that many. And I could have taken more. Now it's not unusual for me to take multiple images of something that catches my eye. But usually I stop at around 20. Maybe because I feel kind of stupid moving around the same thing clicking and clicking and clicking.
It was a very interesting process to just keep on taking pictures this morning. I started out at a distance and moved in closer and closer. After about 50 photos my fingers were freezing so I headed into the coffee shop to warm up with a latte.
It was when I went back out that the magic started. For one thing the light was lovely. The air was clear and the sun was gleaming through the petals. Without a thought for the people passing me as they went in and out of the coffee shop I was circling the pot of flowers, looking from all angles, bending down and pointing the camera up at the sky. I found angles and closeups that I never found before.
I did lose track of time. And before I knew it I'd taken another 105 photographs. And if my fingers weren't so cold I would have stayed and taken more.
So I headed home and put them up on my computer. Lots of them were boring, or duplicated, or out of focus. I spent most of the afternoon winnowing through the images; probably about three hours or more reviewing them, cropping them, intensifying the contrast or the saturation. It takes time to go through 155 images. Most of the successful ones were from the second half of my photo session.
I tried to narrow it down to two or three but I ended up with these five. The thing I really learned from this process was that I could take photographs of this one pot of flowers for maybe a week or two. Or maybe a year even. There's something that happens when I come right into the vibration of the flower. It's almost as it I become one with it. I want to capture its essence, its energy, and I feel a push to keep trying until I get it. Until I distill it into one perfect image.
I don't think I've caught it yet. I think I'd like to go back there tomorrow and take a couple of hundred more. Not sure if I really will though, especially if the temperatures remain below freezing. But this was a real discovery for me. I know and love Hellebores now in a way that I never did before.
Thank you Kat!