Simplicity and Photography

posted in: Nature, Photography | 0

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

Delicate ferns

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.

Water lily leaf and reflections

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.

Statue in Sunken Garden

But the photo above just doesn’t capture my vision of her. So I try a different composition.

Second photo of statue in Sunken Garden

I like this one better, but it’s still not right.

Tighter shot of statue

I go in tighter, and I like it better, but it’s still not what I want.

Final Shot – my favorite

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.

Watercolor painter in the conservatory

I moved closer to her and asked if I could photograph her as she was painting.

A Closer View

I still wasn’t happy with the result, so I tightened the shot even more.

Third try – still not happy with my shot

And tightened even more…

Focusing on her hands and the watercolor painting

This tells the story that I want to tell…almost. I converted the photo to black and white. Yes! This is it.

Converted to Black and White – my favorite version

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.

Koi swimming in the conservatory

More simplicity practice…

Leaf Designs
Decorative Chard in the Sunken Garden
Water Lily Leaves in Sunken Garden

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