When it’s a completely lousy day – like today — foggy, grey, cold, icy… I find it a great day to go out for a walk in the ‘hood’ and try “seeing” the beauty of last year’s flowers. Today was one of those days. I find the light is terrific for this type of photography. There is still beauty in the remnants of last year’s growth and the warm earth tones just so work for me. Taking pictures of summer colour is great but seeing the true detail, beauty, and life the winter garden still has to offer is one of my favourite things to do this time of year.
Carrie Jesenovec is the latest photographer to take up the Something from Nothing challenge. Carries tells us:
Hello! I love the idea ‘something from nothing’; I think it really challenges the photographer’s eye! A family member has a machine shop that I thought would be great for the project. It’s very dark, full of scrap metal and oil. For most people it is not a place of beauty or interest but for me I loved the challenge of making something typically considered harsh and unappealing look interesting and beautiful. I think I could have spent all day shooting scrap metal!!! The way it coils and curls after being cut is very cool. Because of the lack of lighting and inability to bring lighting into the shop all of the shots had to be taken on a tripod. I found that because many of the machines and parts had machine oil on them they gave off an interesting glow of colors. I had a small light that I was able to use as a fill light for some of the shots. Not only was this a fun assignment but one that helped me think outside of the box!
After reading your first few entries for this series, it made me think of the car wash images I’ve taken over the years with P&S and DSLRs, and more recently, an iPhone. I have an active imagination, so when I find myself too lazy to wash the car and I head to the local drive-thru wash, as soon as the sprayers kick in and the foam starts to fly, I no longer see these large tools surrounding me, cleaning my car, but rather debris swirling around and then a storm starts to build and before we know it, there’s a tornado in front of me! Once it dissipates, I’m left with cloudy skies and not much else. (stop laughing) I’m a meteorology junkie, so I suppose this helps with the imagination!
You mentioned in your original post shooting the hotel bathroom was a good exercise for keeping your eye trained, but for me, this train of thinking keeps my mind sharp and imaginative. It’s also a good reminder that at any given time, there can be a story unfolding right in front us of, imaginary like my stormy car wash, or better yet, real life events. If we’re lucky enough, we will have a camera with us to capture the story and make it our very own. Attached are the images which show my story how I saw it one night in an Esso car wash in Spruce Grove. To see the order in how I saw the storm appear in front of me as I snapped away, please check out my blog post. Cheers for the fun, y’all! Keep up the photo goodness, oopoomoo!
So I was finishing off some yard clean up since the weather has been so nice in Calgary recently. The yard is just a mat of brown and was rather uninspiring so I was going to get out and find something to photograph. But then from the recesses of my subconscious the words ‘something from nothing’ percolated up. If I started with nothing then it could only get more interesting. Looking around I really started to like the browns and the textures I was finding. After some searching I finally found proof that Spring was here. Thanks for the inspiration!
I have been reading and following oopoomoo and enjoying the “something from nothing” project. It inspired me to take images the other day in my barn when I was out working on the stalls. I found myself thinking about finding subjects to photograph in my vicinity. I started looking at brooms, shovels, rakes, buckets and then started to see things…attached are a few images inspired by the something for nothing project.
Hi it’s Catherine again. Let me tell you a little story about seeing:
“Mommmm! Where’s the ketchup?”
“In the fridge, on the first shelf.”
“I CAN’T SEE IT!”
“Seek and you shall find!”
Oh, the number of times I had that conversation with my sons! If they weren’t looking for ketchup, it was socks, underwear, homework, lunch kit…and so many times they were staring right at the item they were looking for! They just couldn’t see it!
Recently we had some posts here on oopoomoo on the topic Something From Nothing that reminded readers to not just look but look to see. This is not a new lesson in photography but it’s one that many of us have to stop and think about when we’re out shooting. Perhaps you’ve driven miles to get a great shot of the sunrise or wildflowers only to be disappointed with a grey morning or were too early in the season for nature’s beautiful multicoloured carpet. What did you do when you arrived at your destination? Throw your arms up, say To heck with it! and drive to the closest coffee house for a cup of java? Or did you stay and make lemonade with the lemons you were given?
When Sam was talking to a group of people at a workshop she said, “Sometimes I like to just sit down on the ground and take it all in. I take time and look at the intimate details of my surroundings.” In his post on the Something from Nothing theme, Olivier Du Tre mentioned that he was looking at the light for a bit before deciding to photograph it. Ian McGillvery showed us the magic in the mundane of a typical kitchen! Tom Robbins said he likes to wrestle something from nothing but it requires a good long look. Are you getting the theme here? TIME. Take time to see the ketchup on the first shelf! Take time to make and enjoy lemonade with dem lemons! Take time to see something outta nothing! Take time and send us some of your Something out of Nothing photos! (send them to email@example.com – 585 pixels in the long dimension is sRGB colour space along with your story in making the photos plus your website).
Be sure to check out oopoomoo’s latest workbook on Learning to See (it may help you find the Ketchup as well!)
Following are some quotes about seeing. Hopefully they will inspire you to stop and think about slowing down to see.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
– Henry David Thoreau
Look hard at what pleases you and harder at what doesn’t.
Seeing is a gift that comes with practice.
– Stephanie Mills
One looks, looks long, and the world comes in.
– Joseph Campbell
There’s a saying among prospectors: “Go out looking for one thing, and that’s all you’ll ever find.
– Robert Flaherty
The contented person enjoys the scenery of a detour.
– Author Unknown
If you look at a thing 999 times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it for the 1000th time, you are in danger of seeing it for the first time.
– G. K. Chesterton
Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
When there’s nothing to see, look.
– Dakota Indian saying
I have also included a snapshot I took last summer with my cell phone. I took the snap because the lady in the red blouse reminded me SO MUCH of my mother who passed away two years ago. The likeness was unbelievable! I was so focused on getting the shot to show my brother, that I didn’t take time to SEE. Do you see the laughable moment? I think Sam would call this a ‘pokie’!!
Craig Taylor’s Something from Nothing submission shows us how to do more with less!
When I want to challenge myself creatively, I’ll head to the dollar store and with a limit of $10 I gather interesting things with the hopes of making some cool images.
For “Deep Blue Something” I found a rubber ball with a dolphin in it and then I found a cheap wine glass and decided I should put the ball in it. To suspend it? I used a couple of bottles of hand sanitizer. Throw in a piece of white poster board and I think the total was about 9 dollars. The blue actually comes largely from shooting with tungsten white balance.
For “Hot Wheels” I had the toy car at home. I happened to find this adhesive remover called Goof-Off and a very cheap mirror (the frame was falling off before I even got out of the store) and with fire extinguisher near-by I created my shot.
“Lyrical Destruction” was a lot of fun and it actually didn’t require me to purchase anything. The CD was a dud so it was a perfect candidate to abuse. I scratched it with scissors and banged the heck out of it with a hammer. I put a few drops of grenadine on it and when I viewed it with a circular polarizer all sorts of weird colors came out.
I wouldn’t call “Fly-Eye” art but its definitely more interesting than a straight shot of the table cloth I was looking at. I found a fly-eye gizmo in the toy section of the dollar store and it works pretty well with my iPhone.
Photography challenges are a great way to get the ol’ creativity gears working and a great reminder for me that there are photographs to be made everywhere at every time if we let observation and creativity hang out together for a while. When I read about the oopoomoo Something From Nothing challenge I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t just want to participate. I needed to participate. I challenged myself to create images within 10 paces of my computer and devote one hour to the process. This would be good for me. It would be different. It would take me outside my comfort zone which is a good thing for an artist. See I love traveling, be it around the beautiful Province of Alberta or half way around the world, and creating photographs of the people and places I see. Traveling is fun because the experiences are fresh and what I see is new to my eyes. What kind of images, though, could I create with the stuff I live with everyday? Here are the results…