In fine feather.

After no posts for nearly a week, I’m happy to bring you the results of today’s backyard photographic outing… an outing during which I contorted myself into awkward positions to capture a shot of the plumes of this ornamental grass. The conditions were made slightly more challenging because the grass was being whipped back and forth by a crisp, intermittent wind. Also because, prior to my backyard visit, I’d been hobbling around due to a pinched nerve in my lower back, which made awkward positions more difficult to get into (and out of).

No pain, no gain?

November 21 (1 of 1)

Advertisements

Thinly veiled.

We have a white mesh curtain, purchased years ago, hanging in our kitchen. On sunny days, its shadows make an intricate pattern on the floor. I’ve always wanted to incorporate this into a photo somehow, and this week’s WordPress photo challenge of Layered prompted me to round up my models and coax them to pose against the window.

In this shot, I wanted the dappled effect to appear on the skin, like a layer of paint or a tattoo. I must give credit where it’s due: this particular model was very patient while being persuaded to stare into bright sunlight while his mother fiddled with camera settings and fussed with the curtain. The picture ended up pretty close to what I’d been envisioning.

September 26 (2 of 2)

 

My other model was a little less co-operative. I experimented with a different technique, and though it wasn’t what I’d been intending, I succeeded in making a dreamy, romantic portrait of a bored housecat.

September 26 (1 of 2)

Should you desire to make one of your own, just hold your lacy curtain tautly a few inches in front of your camera lens while ensuring your camera’s focus is locked on your feline, who’s lying about a foot or two beyond this layer of fabric, looking at you as if to say, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me, lady.”

My subject yawned at least twice at this tedious exercise and I managed to capture her looking up, her eyes half-lidded, which only added (I thought) to the hazy, old-fashioned feel of this image.

The curtain came down, so to speak, on our photo shoot when Her Highness rose abruptly and sauntered off to the living room to lick herself.

Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

It’s not you, it’s me.

May 16 (1 of 1).jpg

The Mr. and I have a long-running joke about my obliviousness. Apparently, at least in certain situations, I’m known for my lack of observational skill.

He teases that I’d fail to notice even obvious occurrences taking place around me, such as, for example, an exploding building or an approaching mob of evil clowns.

I agree that I may be slightly challenged in this regard. Sometimes I accidentally ignore people I know when I unexpectedly encounter them in public places. More than once I’ve had to apologize after the fact to friends and neighbours who have waved to me from afar, only to have me return their greeting with nothing but a vacant, unintentionally grouchy expression.

In my defence: I (usually) have no ill will against these people I’m supposed to recognize. I’m simply lost in my own little world. Evidently, when I’m busy doing something, such as walking or thinking – especially walking and thinking – my brain is only capable of a limited amount of sensory input. Friends and acquaintances, I assure you: my failure to notice you is nothing personal. I apologize for being rude.

(Strangely, though, I’m very observant when it comes to, say, the whereabouts of my library books, which household bills are due when, and whether the bird-feeder needs refilling. Make of that what you will.)

Through my dabbling in photography, I’m learning that the skill of observation can be improved. (Thankfully, because those evil clowns are super creepy and I’d like to notice them in enough time to get far, far away.)

Do you ever notice something for the first time and then begin see it everywhere?

Lines, for example. I’ve never, ever noticed lines as much as I do now, because I want to record them with the camera. Lines in the roads, lines in the trees, lines in the clouds. The grid of windows on a building, the curl of my daughter’s hair, the sweeping curves of hosta leaves emerging from the earth. (A-ha! The accompanying photo to this post! You knew I’d get there. Eventually.)

Being observant is being present. And I’m sure I’m not alone in the challenge of being present – really and truly aware – more often. If photography is helping me slow down and sharpen some of my senses – at least the art of seeing, of noticing – perhaps there’s hope for me.

If I smile and wave back next time you see me at the mall, you’ll know it’s working.

 

P.S.
(I’m pleased to contribute this ribbed hosta to Tuesdays of Texture, a weekly feature over at De Monte y Mar.)