So I wanted to try for a real blogging schedule. Like maybe every two weeks. Other people do it. It may be too much too often for some of my readers, but I'm curious to see what happens when I don't just write when I feel like it or work on photos when I'm in the mood.
And, of course, it's winter. A FABULOUS time to do garden photography in the Northwest. Yeah, right. Green and grey and brown. A color palette to swoon over. Don't get me wrong--at least not too wrong--I love the seasons up here. All of them. But it's late(r) January, and I'm pretty much done with winter. Unfortunately, it's not done with me.
I'm just looking for a little magic now. OK? Leaves draped in diamonds. A hillside swathed in fog that's being slowly diluted with a weak, winter sun. However I seem to have forgotten how to take photographs. And not just any type of photograph, but MACRO photographs! Every shot I take comes up soft (blurry), muddy (bleh light), and/or just plain boring. And getting a sharp photo of ice crystals seems totally beyond my vanishing skill set. Come on! Is it really that difficult? Is the heat of my enthusiasm/frustration melting the ice, thus making sharpness moot (mute?). Have I completely lost my macro-mojo or just misplaced it? Crap
Then one morning a few days ago, I saw a blue heron standing on the pond. Yes, standing ON the mostly-frozen pond. At first I thought it would take too much time to change from my macro to my 75-300mm lens and change clothes. But I really wanted, needed to be closer to that heron walking on water. I changed lenses, left the tripod, threw a coat over my nightgown, and raced outside. Then spent a wonderful if very chilly 45 minutes inching my way closer and closer, snapping shots all the way and trying to keep from shaking the camera with my shudders. At that I was still selective and took about 96 shots. None are "tack sharp" and I don't care. The heron even looked me in the eye (at least it appeared that he/she did from the distance) and didn't leave. Not until I turned back to get my very blue self back indoors. Then it vanished.
The second gift I received (because that lovely bird was a serious gift) came in a wonderful blog entry by nature photographer Rob Sheppard titled "Savoring vs. Harvesting Nature Photography." He wrote about how photographers can go through periods where filling a memory card and rushing back to the computer for post-processing can become more important than savoring the experience of nature. Slow down and fill yourself with those moments BEFORE taking the picture.
I began taking pictures because I wanted to be closer to what I was seeing. If I found myself staring at something for longer than a few minutes--a flower, tree bark, light breaking apart on ice--then I knew I needed to photograph it. But when time pressures and technical issues push these moments aside, the resulting images (as well as my own experiences) suffer.
So I went back to my ice photos and found a few that looked better to me. The images are far from ideal, but there were leaves draped in icy diamonds that day. I just didn't see them until I spent some time with a blue heron taking a stroll across a frozen pond.
By the way, if you'd like to take a look at Rob Sheppard's blog, it's Nature and Photography http://www.natureandphotography.com/