Be Inspired

Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral

Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral

Inspiration comes in many different ways and in many different forms. The real trick to getting inspired is being open to the possibilities. Yesterday I had the good fortune to be part of a group that was discussing blogging. It’s obvious that I have not been active on this blog for some time. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, it’s just that I have not been inspired to write it. In many ways, I have missed writing. I can’t say that writing has always been something I looked forward to, but I do enjoy writing posts for this blog.

As a photographer, I’m usually looking for inspiration to make photos. What wild idea can I use and try to bring to life photographically? Where can I go that will help photos come more freely? What creative source can I tap into to help make interesting photos? There are no easy answers to these questions. On a recent trip to the UK, I didn’t go out to make photos as often as I thought I might. The holidays are for spending time with family so that is what I did and I enjoyed their company quite a bit. I did go out with the express purpose of making photos twice. Once for a walk by my self and another time to Gloucester Cathedral. You might recognize the photo from the cloisters at the cathedral. Several scenes from the Harry Potter films were shot there.

The inspiration for this post comes directly from the meeting yesterday about blogging. I started thinking of different things I want to talk about. The many posts I have started and never finished. The backstories of the photos that I want to share. Inspiration is all around us. All we need to do is be open to it. When we are open to it, inspiration will find us, we won’t have to go looking for it. I know this time of year can be uninspiring photographically. They call it “the dead of winter” for a reason. And then there are the cold temperatures to deal with, definitely not my favorite conditions to make photos in. But looking around, there is something nearby, maybe even within arm’s reach that will inspire you to do something that you haven’t done in a while. Take the opportunity to be inspired and to do whatever that might be.

Nest Egg

A year or two ago I found two bird nests after they had fallen out of the trees after a storm. I thought they would make nice props so I picked them up and put them in a place where they could dry in the sun. Once they were dry I sealed them in separate plastic bags and then sealed both inside another plastic bag. After that, into the freezer they went and stayed for quite some time. I think it was a year or more. I wanted to be sure any mites or other things that might be living there were well a truly dead. I picked up the egg at a local art supply store and the wood in the background is actually porcelain floor tile from a local building supply store I bought for a different project.

As with many of the photos I make, I had been mulling over the idea to make a photo like this for some time. The other night, I finally decided to work on it. I grabbed the floor tile and set up the background. Then the nest and the egg were place and propped us as I wanted them. I knew I wanted very directional light that spilled in a tight ring around the nest so I used a 10º grid over a single light. I chose my camera angle and tweaked everything to get it just the way I wanted it.

Nest Egg

Nest Egg

Technical Data: Nikon D7100, 50mm f1.4 lens at f16, 1/250 second (x250 sync), 10º grid on a Dynalite head.

I find thinking about photos I want to create, sometimes for a prolonged period, helps me get exactly the photo I imagine. This photo is the result of thinking about creating it off and on for many months or maybe more than a year. I knew the look of the lighting I wanted and the background. It took a bit of tweaking to get the circle of light just the way I wanted it with the fall off to near darkness. I’m happy with the results.

 

Carabiners

Carabiners
Carabiners

Carabiners

As photographers we see the world differently than other people do. Were we born seeing the world this way or did we develop a different way of seeing? Either way we see things that others often don’t. I was out with the Rappahannock Area Climbers Meetup group last Thursday getting ready to climb Rappahannock Rocks, a local climbing spot a few minutes from downtown Fredericksburg, VA. Keith from River Rock Outfitter was getting the gear ready to set some anchors for our climb when he took a handful of carabiners from his pack and let them spill out over the rock. He was concerned with making sure that the anchors were set correctly and never paid attention to the way carabiners looked. As he said later, “That’s why we bring Vincent!”

I feel it’s my job as a photographer to see differently, to notice those things that others don’t. Seeing differently is a unique perspective we bring to making our photos. Have you ever been out with a group of photographers and after everyone has shared their photos you see things that you would like to have photographed but never noticed? You might have been standing right next to it. You may have even looked right at it and it never registered. If we aren’t born with a different way of seeing we can certainly develop one. The more we make photos the more we develop our unique way of seeing.

Technical Info: Ricoh GR Digital 4, 250 ISO, 1/100 sec., f 6.3, 6mm (24mm equivalent)

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