Quote of the day: “It’s often about the simple things, isn’t it? Painting and photography are first about seeing, they say. Writing is about observing. Technique is secondary. Sometimes the simple is the most difficult.” ― Linda Olsson
Today has been a gray November day, complete with a little drizzle and fog this morning. In search of some brightness, I headed out to Como Park to make photos in the Conservatory.
Stepping into the moist warm air was like stepping into another world. Even though the cloudy skies made it a little less bright in the conservatory today, I felt almost as if I had stepped straight from Minnesota to Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast north of Hilo, Hawaii. The humid air and tropical plants gave me a taste of the rain forest.
It’s less than a month until I will be on my winter walk-about in Hawaii. Can you tell that I’m starting to get excited?
Simple Photos, Simple Stories
As I was making photos today, my thoughts were on simplicity – how to capture the essence of what I was seeing, how to keep my photos simple, yet tell a story of beauty and wonder.
Here is one example of how I kept making the frame smaller and smaller to create a simpler image. I love the statue in the sunken garden, especially, the curve of the neck, the up-swept hair, the tilt of her shoulders.
But the photo above just doesn’t capture my vision of her. So I try a different composition.
I like this one better, but it’s still not right.
I go in tighter, and I like it better, but it’s still not what I want.
With a really shallow depth of field, I keep the statue in focus while blurring the background. I’ve captured a view of how I see this wonderful statue, even though I’ve left out more of the statue than I’ve shown.
Here is another example of simplification. I spotted a woman making a small watercolor painting and wanted to capture her painting in this beautiful place. But I found that when I showed the greenery around her, you couldn’t really tell that she was painting and the photo was not effective at all.
I moved closer to her and asked if I could photograph her as she was painting.
I still wasn’t happy with the result, so I tightened the shot even more.
And tightened even more…
This tells the story that I want to tell…almost. I converted the photo to black and white. Yes! This is it.
The koi in the pond were very active. I wanted to capture their frenzied swimming. I tried many shots of them swimming as a group, but found each one of them too busy, too distracting.
Finally, I focused on one fish – voila. You can sense the movement, see its open mouth and eyes, and feel a bit of the like you’re there.
More simplicity practice…