Actually, I don’t really. Every year Kim is amazed how I can sit by and not even notice the 3000+ lbs of Halloween candy that the kids bring home… maybe that’s why we had so much around the house.
Seriously though, today was another Sunday afternoon that really wasn’t about the subject matter. Friend, and photographer extraordinaire Jeff Stubblefield has been being a lot of work and producing amazing results with his home-made light box. So I figured I’d steal the idea, make my own and see what came out of it. I set everything up using a big cardboard box, some sheets of banner paper and my SB-900s.
So I spent some time lost in lighting and aperture settings, another training day. Some pretty sweet still life huh?
A few more shots can be seen here… on my Grasp The Moment Photography Facebook page
With the strong summer sun sneaking away into autumn, I grabbed Time Out magazine and flippd through it looking for something to do. As if the editors were aware of the situation, I found an article “Things To Do Before Summer Ends”. There on the list was a place I had heard about, but never been to, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I grabbed Jenn McGowan, who grabbed her daughter & friend and off we went deep into the bowels of Brooklyn.
Ok, “deep in the bowels” isn’t that accurate, but it was in Brooklyn, nestled on the side of Prospect Park. It was the first trip there for all of us, and I was amazed how I had never been to this beautiful spot in my city. Jenn and I walked around clicking away as the girls tried to find the prettiest flower for her to shoot, and the ugliest for me. (Kept them busy, didn’t it?)
We wandered the manicured gardens, which were blooming in some spots, past bloom in others. We watched the turtles in the Japaneses pond bask in the sun, and would chuckle at the rare siren or car horn in the distance. For awhile we felt we were as far from downtown Brooklyn as one could get, strolling along in a floral paradise.
The lily pads in the reflecting pools were brimming with dragonflys which danced from flower to flower. The girls raided the gift shops, and even I got a “starving artist” pin. We walked through the greenhouses, each dedicated to “dessert”, “rainforest” and “temperate”.
I’ve commented in the past that I often view taking of flowers are boring, and my mind hasn’t changed. However, no one could ever deny the absolute beauty of a delicate flower. No one could ever not be amazed at the unique detail that gets poured by mother earth into every single petal on every single flower that blooms.
We left the gardens amazed at the beauty we had just witnessed, and I was happy I found another treasure of New York City.
… Goes one of my favorite Max Creek songs… and it’s the first thing I thought of when my hand went into the coffee can this afternoon.
For those who don’t know about the coffee can – or forgot about it, like I tried to – it’s a little game I’ve created for myself. A while back I wrote a gagillion words on tiny slips of paper and stuffed them into a coffee can, which I promised myself that I’d raid the can every few days and shoot whatever the paper said. Like most promises I break, I followed for awhile, but then tapered off, hoping no one would notice. Great idea, except for this one bone head friend who brings it up to me every time we see each other. (Thanks Chuck. Now you know why I never invite you to afternoon tea anymore.)
So this afternoon, before I brought the boys home to their mom for mother’s day, the can caught my eye and opened it.
What? Colors? I hate these words. Who the hell thought of them?
So I went about my day with the word tucked back in the dark recesses of my mind. As I walked through Home Depot – I promised my mom I’d fix some stuff around the house today – I pretended I was bouncing around ideas, but it really more like tossing a rubber ball against a wall in an empty room. As the hollow echo of the ball bouncing from floor to ceiling ran through my skull, I passed the paint aisle and all it’s samples laid out, and I walked right past them.
Colors… what a sucky word.
it wasn’t until after the chores, after diner, after I had pretty much given up for the day that I saw the flowers sitting on my dining room table. I really am an idiot sometimes.
I grabbed them, and found my colors. Colors more beautiful than any can from Home Depot could ever make.
And yes Chuck, I’ll try to get another word real soon…
Spring is our yearly second chance.
We die through the winter, everything becomes cold and bleak, and even a fresh white blanket of snow eventually turns to a ugly gray eyesore piled up on the curbs of New York City. The wind chills you through to the bones, and I at least, make my way through the streets muttering “There is no reason for weather like this…” and usually a profanity or two.
But soon, the winds die down, the sun peaks from behind the clouds a little longer each day, and you’re not so pissed that you forgot your gloves at home. Winter has left us, and spring has arrived.
Every year around this time I watch the ground. Yes, contrary to what some people think, there are actually patches of ground here in New York City. I’ve always had a piece of it right outside my back door, well, my parent’s back door. Its a small section of property that we here in Queens call “The Yard”. My parents have always taken pride in their yard, it’s a mix of a quiet place to eat BBQ – or actually any meal cooked in this household between June and September when it’s not raining – and a small slice of nature that my parents tend to, consisting of a few flowers, some tomatoes plants and lots of ivy. There’s also a cherry tree that my brother Mike somehow picked up, I don’t remember the story, and remnants of the old magnolia tree that I spent countless hours playing on in my youth.
In my mind, it’s the most beautiful yard in the world.
It’s also the yard that I’ve watched the winters of my life fade away, and the springs sneak in before the summer heat.
What a perfect place to go with my new camera, right? Only one catch, of course, I hate taking pictures of flowers.
I told this once to someone I love once. They bore me, I said, not moving, giving you all the time in the world to frame it, switch lenses, get closer, work on that really nice shot. She said to me, that I should look at it as a thing all photographers need to do, and every really good shot of a flower as one step closer to never having to take a photo of a flower again.
So hopefully these will get me closer to that goal. And if not, I’m not too worried, because no matter how hot the summer gets, and how cold and nasty the winter winds blow, I know all I have to do is wait for spring to return home, and I’ll get another chance.
The next word I drew from my inspirational coffee can. A Little tougher than my first… Seen Here. I had one ground rule for this, no “slanted T’s”. It had to an X. Drawing another word now.
Unfortunately, even sitting in a bucket of water with a lighting rod helmet on the roof of the tallest building doesn’t bring inspiration shooting from the heavens above. I did however have a pigeon make a nest on my shoulder.
Its amazing how I can walk past the same plot of ground day after day and never see anything interesting and then one day – BAM – it’s there. The next day it’s gone.
I was stuck in my house one miserable rainy week and walking around, camera in hand, just looking for something shoot, anything. Then I saw it… and to be honest, I was baffled why I had no seen it before. It was so beautiful and it almost beckoned to be photographed. The amazing detail … the colors.. the textures… so I shot it… picking it apart in detail so it could be appreciated for all it’s wonderful glory…
But now that’s done.. what next? What mystical source will give me the next inspirational charge?
The help speed the process along, me and my friends at YourPhotoForum.com including the great Sue Henry and Lincoln Palmer have agreed to start an “Inspiration A to Z” challenge. The idea is simple. Using a list of words, we all have to write the words on paper, toss them into a can and draw them out one at a time. You can’t move to the next word until after you’ve shot two or three images based on the word you’ve drawn.
So I started today… and was shocked at my first draw… the word “Inspiration” itself. Yup, out of all the words I had to choose from…
Of course, the source of all my inspiration these days was an obvious choice…
Finally in the words of the Grateful Dead… “Inspiration, move me brightly. light the song with sense and color; Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.”
So where will inspiration come from next? In what form will it be? I have no idea… but I know if nothing else, I’ve got a coffee can of words to get through.
The circumference of planet earth is 24,901.55 miles at the equator. The deepest part of the ocean is 36,201 feet straight down. The tallest living tree is 367.6 feet tall. The longest river is 4,135 miles. The largest ball of twine is twelve feet in diameter and weighs 17,400 lbs. The distance from my desk to the place I really want to be right now is 97,954,560 inches away.
All of that is way too big for me. I always kinda knew that, but I was convinced of this this past weekend at my brother’s house. The kids ran and splashed in the pool, the adults laughed and drank wine and I snuck away, got on my belly and tried to capture the tiny beads of dew that were caught in a spider web.
So let the sun which is 864,938 miles wide drift slowly above us 92,900,000 miles away across the sky. I’ll be on the ground watching this spider.
Or trying to get this butterfly to sit still!!