Reeds at Sunset I believe was a pivotal capture for me. My wife and I had stopped to visit friends in Blythe, California in November 2010. Blythe is on Arizona border close to Mexico. One evening a spectacular sunset materialized. Jet trails however, really limited my opportunities to make a decent image. So I decided to focus in on a group of reeds in a pond near the golf course and capture the colors as reflected in the water. I really liked the color that was represented in the reflection. I decided then to convert the image to black and white. I was fortunate to have it win an annual award at my local camera club. For me, the lesson learned was that narrowing the view to represent the feeling the moment in a very different.
This would be my pivotal image..It was taken in 2009, but I had only been photographing since 2006 with a digital or any camera; when I was in high school, my parents had given me a film camera but I only rarely photographed…a lot of my time was spent painting with oils or acrylics. In 2006, my husband gave me a point and shoot camera which ignited my interest in photography, but I didn’t know where to go with it. After a couple of years I purchased an SLR, then a whole new and quite complex world opened up to me. I started to read about photography, look at images that appealed to me, tested all phases: macro, wildlife, and nature..I couldn’t find my niche..nothing really felt right until I started to look at paintings that I loved: those by Winslow Homer, Joseph Turner, Rembrandt, Constable, Bierstadt and many others..then I realized that landscape spoke to me…then it was a learning curve: grad ND filters, ND filters, polarizers, lenses for landscape…since I live near the coast of Rhode Island, there are many beautiful rocky areas, I began going to the beach to photograph or in the forest behind my house to practice composing…one day at the coast, Beavertail Lighthouse was my subject..and it seemed to me that everything came together for me that night: the setting sun came through the cloud cover at a low level lighting the rocks and lighthouse, my composition felt right and the minute I saw that image, I knew….
For Allison George, a walk through her neighborhood yielded a harvest of intimate details of the neighborhood houses. Lovely work, Allison!
Mike Dickie tells us that this post on oopoomoo is the first place he has ever displayed a photo on the internet! He is an internet virgin(!)… but we are happy he took the courage to do a Something from Nothing assignment and give it to us to publicly display. Welcome to the big world of sharing on the web Mike!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org – 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’!!