Shades of Neutral by Debra
We are trying something a bit different on Wednesdays during the month of December. We will be posting Wednesday Stories, essentially photographs that tell a story. It’s a little challenging to tell a story without actually explaining why we have taken our photos. Following our normal pattern, my photographs will be first from the East Coast and Carolyn’s photographs will follow from the West Coast.
We’ve started a new hashtag #coast2coastpix on Instagram. We are encouraging you to post some of your photographs and say where you are from. We would love to see where our followers live and learn something about you all. Please comment on whether you like Wednesday Stories. If it is a huge success we may continue it past December. I hope you enjoy this twist, and we look forward to your #coast2coastpix photographs…
The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” ∼ Henry Green
It’s hard to believe this is our seventh week! We’ve passed Thanksgiving and are now into the Christmas season. A very beautiful time of year. We hope you enjoy today’s post.
Christmas has arrived at the Miller home. For the first time in many, many years we put up an artificial Christmas tree. The last few years it’s been so much work to care for a live tree, so we made the decision to buy an artificial tree. I know what you are thinking, I just blogged about the tree farm. Well, I do love the tree farm and live Christmas trees, but sadly, it doesn’t fit our lifestyle any longer (and maybe our age has a little to do with it).
Today’s image was taken at Kaenzig’s Tree Farm in Egg Harbor City, NJ. I had never been to this tree farm before. While out scouting for a local spot for a portrait photo shoot I had, I happened upon Kaenzig’s Tree Farm. I must say, I have never met a nicer bunch of people. They were so friendly and warm. Amy, the owner’s wife explained to me, her husband’s grandfather originally owned the farm, he was making wreaths in the back store area while we spoke. He is in his 90’s and still makes the wreaths, very impressive! Their farm is very different from the others in our area. Not only are the trees absolutely beautiful, but they also have a craft area where they sell wreaths, wooden signs and the most adorable mason jars (featured in my prior blog). They had hot chocolate for the children and candy canes, all I kept thinking was this is so welcoming.
The photo I am featuring today, is of the building which houses their craft area. The red barn decorated for Christmas was so old fashioned I needed to photograph it and share it with all of you. To personalize my photograph, I added the saying “Peace Be With You” which was designed by Carolyn and can be found on our page titled Freebies. I hope you enjoyed my Christmas story, there will be many more to follow in the upcoming month.
If you are interested in more of my images, please take a look here.
Until next time … Deb
Today was a beautiful sunny day here in California. There was a chill in the air, but my lavender (and my grandson) drew me outdoors. My little bush is filled with its fragrant flowers. I grabbed a little flower pot and my snips and began to cut.
The little lights, the burlap, ball of twine and mini scissors added a nice touch to the lavender. Each of these items were great finds at local stores or online.
Years ago a coworker suggested I set up displays and take pictures of them. I thought she was crazy! Little did I know that this form of photography would become something I loved. It is what it’s name suggests … something you can be still in. Still life has the ability to take a lot of thought from me and other times the items just seem to fall together.
Are you interested in still life? If so, have you taken it from just an interest to something you are actively doing? The way I began was just by looking around my house for little treasures or items I enjoy. I would find a place with nice lighting and lay them out on a table top as a little display. And then take several shots at different angles. (You never know what will look best!)
Thanks for stopping in and for reading.
Life is a work of art … find your stillness within it.
Quiet the mind and the soul shall speak ∼ Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati ∼ In my very hectic life, I sometimes feel as though I need to slow down and retreat into myself. I began still life photography, very seriously, last December. I was run ragged between work, and photo sessions, so I decided to take a break and try my hand at something quiet and introspective.
I have been a follower of Kim Klassen from her early days and have admired her work immensely. My thinking was to possibly take one of her classes and see how the peacefulness of photographing objects might help me with the stress in my life and find myself again through my photography. Oddly enough, she was offering a class called “My Still Sunday”, so I joined. Fast forward to today, and it most has definitely helped!
I now enjoy the quiet and thought process involved in photographing still life scenes. Much thought and work goes into making a still life photograph look, and more importantly, feel as if you were with me not just physically, but emotionally. Today’s photograph is of daisies, one of my favorite flowers. For me, daisies signify happiness. They are light and airy and just make me feel happy. The container I’m showing them in is also one of my favorites. I purchased this container for very little, but it seems to make my still life photographs feel magical!
My hope is that my image today brings you peace and quiet in your busy life, as it does mine.
Until next time . . . Deb
We each need a place of stillness in our lives. Our bodies actually require it … I suppose that’s why we sleep … 🙂 But seriously, throughout the day you need those moments of being still just to keep up on the busyness of life.
One of the things I do in order to enjoy stillness is taking photographs. This is a way that I can escape my crazy schedule and think about nothing that is really serious or necessary. It brings out a new creativity in me that I have recently discovered.
Not a whole lot of thought went into this photo. I love the red berries and picked them with the intention of photographing them. They are just one of the many things that catch my eye as I’m wandering around taking care of my daily tasks. The clear glass vase I purchased at the dollar store also for photography purposes. The simplicity of the shot was perfect for me in this busy week of mine.
Another thing I personally do to find stillness is spend time reading … mainly my Bible, but I read other books as well. And I love listening to worship music. These things calm me and take me away in my thoughts to a peaceful place.
A few suggestions for you on finding stillness would be:
read a book
take a walk
listen to music
do something creative like paint, draw, color, write, take pictures
… be still
Camera settings: 85mm, 1/45, f/2.8, iso 100
I hope you’ll find that place of stillness in the midst of your busy days.
See you on Friday.
Here we are in the fourth week of our blog. I find it unbelievable how time goes by so quickly. For the fourth consecutive week, Carolyn and I have photographed today’s blog each of us not knowing what the other has done. I find it interesting to see how we are progressing and, how we are alike yet different in our styles.
Webster’s dictionary defines Minimalist Photography as a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. I have been extremely intrigued by minimalist photography and it’s simplicity for quite a while. Minimalist photography is known for it’s simple lines, geometric patterns, strong shadows, contrasting colors, and lone subjects. In my mind the “less is more” style is the entire attraction to this style of art. The challenge in minimalist photography, is knowing what to leave out and how to compose what has been left in within the correct spacial capacity. For me, the feeling of space and simplicity has a relaxing quality, and brings a sense of calmness.
This particular photograph that I share with you today, is a vision I’ve had for a while. The white chair, originally purchased for portrait photography, used numerous times, found a new function. The pink flowers, which were purchased at a local florist, seemed to fit so well with the child’s white wooden chair. The pink flowers give the stark white, just the correct amount of pop in color to balance the large amount of white. Once I put these two props together magic happened.
I know this particular style of photography is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hope you will take some time, let your eyes relax and allow your mind to take in the tranquility this simple design and this style of art represents.
Until next time . . . Deb
Still life is my new favorite (have I mentioned that yet?)! And I just got this new tea cup that I really wanted to take a picture of. 🙂 I absolutely love the shape. The texture on the outside is fantastic and the pretty pattern on the inside is just so beautiful!
In my guest room, the light is really pretty and it has become the perfect spot for taking photos. I took this shot this morning at about 8 a.m. … this time change has given me just a bit more time in the morning to do a little something fun … like take pictures!
A story is what I was hoping to create with this scene. When I look at it, it makes me think of planning. There is always something to plan, so it’s a perfect setting … a notebook, little sticky notes, pencil, glasses and definitely a cup of tea.
joy is in the journey, not the destination – unknown
Today I used my 28-75 mm lens, f4.5, 1/180, iso 640
Until Friday … Carolyn
It’s ‘free choice’ day … we’ve purposefully decided to not see what each other chooses until we’ve each taken our photo so that we just post what we feel like and don’t give in to a need to have our pictures compliment each other.
Today’s image is a bit different from my usual shooting style. I am always in awe of images photographed top down, although I never seem to achieve the same affect that other photographers do, including Carolyn. As I mentioned in Sunday’s blog, I collected the leaves used in this photograph while walking McKenzie. The foliage was just beginning to change colors and there were several trees in my neighborhood that had fabulous color. So in a very childlike way, I began to look for the best colors I could find.
This photograph was taken with me standing on a short stool, looking directly over the leaves which were arranged on a white foam board. I had gently placed the twine, which I tied in a cute bow, around the leaves. Once I had it all set to photograph, Kenzie felt the need to be closer to me, in a very cute and lovable way she moved close to me, so I once again rearranged the leaves.
I used my Canon 5d Mark ii camera with my wide angel lens (Canon 24-105mm lens) until I had the correct perspective. Once the photo was taken, I used a texture from Kim Klassen (www.kimklassen.com) in Photoshop to achieve the note paper grunge effect. I hope you all enjoy my first pleasing attempt at top down photography.
Until next time . . . Deb
Today our photos are so different! Both nature, but so very different. I’ve been enjoying this beautiful Cyclamen that I recently purchased. I’m loving the gorgeous shade of pink in these pretty flowers. Today I chose to shoot top down. This photo is actually part of a series of photos I’ve don’t in the past few weeks. The adorable little watering can was a toy my granddaughter use to play with. She left it at my house in the backyard, where it began to rust … and eventually it turned into the perfect photo prop. If you want to see more of the series, you can check the photos out here.
In today’s photo I used a very high depth of field to get a good blur and small area of focus.
Camera settings: (I always shoot with my Canon 6d) 50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/125, iso 320
Hoping these photos brighten your day!
Each Wednesday, Carolyn and I have a free choice day. Free Choice is simply that, our own choice of what we feel like photographing for the week. It’s always interesting to see what we each come up with. Today’s photographs are very different, have a look …
Still Life has become a new favorite of mine. It’s a form of photographic art I can participate in within the walls of my own home. Something that makes me be still. I don’t know about you, but I long for stillness in my life, for that time of peace and for that time of quiet.
Enter into the stillness inside your busy life. Become familiar with her ways. Grow to love her, feel her with all your heart and you will come to hear her silent music and become one with Love’s silent song. ~Noel Davis
I gather my items … finding little treasures everywhere I go. My hope is to have some of my subjects be items that actually are treasures to me, things I’ve been given or items with special meaning. And then I add in the little pieces that make it art … a clipping from the flowers in my yard, a roll of twine, a cup of tea … whatever brings a little spark to my thoughts and I play in the quiet and enjoy.
Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10
Here are my camera settings for this photo. Canon 6d, 50mm lens ISO 1000, f/3.5, 1/750.
Until we meet again … Carolyn
McKenzie is our puppy, well she isn’t really a puppy anymore. McKenzie turned 11 years old in June of this year. She is a West Highland White Terrier, otherwise known as a Westie.
McKenzie is a very outspoken little white dog. She actually speaks to us, when she wants something, she certainly let’s it be known. I have had dogs prior to Kenzie, but none were as boisterous as she is. McKenzie is a very energetic dog who loves to play with her toys, or woobies, as we call them. She likes to cuddle, especially with my husband. It’s for certain that Kenzie is my husband, Brian’s baby. If she were to pick one of us, it would definitely be him. He seems to have a special bond with her, maybe because he just has more patience with her energy than I do? McKenzie is a real barker for sure!
However, she is an extremely photogenic dog who has recently become very comfortable in front of the camera. This is the first photograph you are seeing of Kenzie, but as some have said to me, she is your trademark. She appears in many of my photographs, so I hope you welcome her to the blog.
Until next time . . . Deb