Why does a week on holiday always go so much faster than a week at work do you think? Sigh. Anyway a week off gave me more time for photography, and we had a couple of days in charge of two of our grandkids Matty and Livvy. The theme this week is all about Still Life photography so nothing too onerous unless we get AFACs (Airy fairy abstract concepts) or AAFPs (annoying as expletive deleted prompts).
Day 206 ~ Angle. ~ This week we will be practicing still life skills. Still life photography focuses on inanimate subjects – usually with an emphasis on the arrangement of the item(s) you are photographing as well as the lighting and framing of the subject. This sort of photography is great to practice composition and lighting and can absolutely help us all onto the road to becoming better photographers. Today, think about the angle you want to best showcase the subject you want to capture. This beautiful butterfly is hanging on a wall and I was sitting below it. The natural light pouring in from the window was lovely so I easily turned around, looked up with my camera, and voila, a lovely still life photo.
Sigh. Looking up and snapping a picture of a fake butterfly on your wall is not really arranging a still life is it? Well the picture wasn’t moving around so there’s that.
Day 207 ~ Prompt Free. ~Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure. Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in you day now feel bigger and call to be documented? Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you. Keep our eyes open and have fun!
I had a fanny on in my shed to make a pretty still life, kind of wish I hadn’t done this one as next week’s theme will need the bottles at some point I should think, but not to worry, I don’t mind finding new ways to photograph them.
Day 208 ~ 7 O’Clock. ~ Today we are taking our photo at 7 O’Clock. It can be a.m. or p.m. We are going to be slightly more intentional with today’s time prompt since it falls during Still Life week. You don’t have to own a lot of fancy props or backdrops to make an interesting still life. You can make a simple scene with items on hand. I look for a few things that will tell a story. I like to think that my example photo reflects someone reading a book, looking at their watch and needing to step away. The spectacles were left behind as well as the watch.If you want to add more texture you can use a cloth or fresh or dried flowers. You can also just grab an image of items that reflect your day today. It’s 7 O’Clock. What’s happening with you today?
To be honest I was still asleep at 7 am, and eating dinner at 7pm, and no-one needs to see that. I had time to play in the afternoon, so I got Phil’s Dad’s old pocket watch which, as he had it with him in WW2 has travelled the world a bit, and put it together with my travel book and a steam ship ticket. We can just pretend it was taken at 7 O’Clock as the shot wouldn’t look any different. 🙄😃
Day 209 ~ Plastic. ~ I have to confess that still life photography is difficult for me. I much prefer photographing things in their natural state. In this case, the leaf was still and it represents life so I’m calling it still life. Because of my purist tendencies, I also don’t tend toward a lot of filters, etc. when I edit. But because today’s sub prompt is plastic, I stepped outside my comfort zone and played a little. I used some high-tech materials – plastic wrap, a rubber band, and a permanent marker. Covering your lens with a piece of kitchen plastic wrap secured with a rubber band creates this kind of dreamy feel. If you want to add a bit of moodiness, which I did here, color the plastic wrap with permanent marker. Try different colors and notice how they change the feel of the image. So that you don’t accidentally get permanent marker on your lens, lay the plastic flat, draw around your lens cap, and then color inside the circle. Whatever you choose to photograph, play a little while doing so!
Do what?? WTA Heck (substitute a swear word there if you like, I did)! Colouring cling-film in with a permanent marker and sticking it over my very expensive lens was not an option, I’ve got a lensbaby and filters in my processing software that do the job of toning and moodiness if I need it, sod being purist! Pfft, purist tendencies indeed, you’d be using a Giroux Daguerrotype if you really had them. This was a definite AAFP. I did nothing she suggested but brought Freggo out of retirement, she’s plastic. We photographed the dinosaur you may have noticed in the shed scene last week, that’s plastic too. I photographed them against a white background and then photoshopped a sky in (badly 🤣) to the scene to be totally anti-purist.
Day 210 ~ Motivation. ~ For still life photography I like to use side light and take it at eye level. I find that a tripod and a remote (app on my phone) or self timer is a must for a still life photo. Photographing inanimate subjects means that you don’t have to worry too much about having a high ISO number, therefore you don’t get any noise in your photos. This also means hand held will cause camera shake! I had the motivation to actually put my photos into a book. To celebrate this I took a photo of the book with my beautiful pink mug from NY, and I used a dried hydrangea in order to have an odd number of objects to tie them together. What has motivated you today?
Motivation as still-life is a bona fide AFAC. However I was motivated today to take Matty and Livvy out for the afternoon as we were fed up of them fratching and making squeaky noises. We visited Tweddle Farm which is about 1/2 hr away from us and has playgrounds and tractor rides etc. for the kids, plus goats,horses, cows, pigs, rabbits, parrots and some lovel reindeer type things. I asked the kids to stand next to the piggy wall for a photograph, so as Mrs.Purist-Tendancy would say, they were still, and they represent life, so I’m calling it still life. 😜
Day 211 ~ Forge. ~ Forge: to form by heating and hammering and beating into shape! Well that is an interesting word to try to work a prompt around and a still life at that! I recently started the hobby of stamping on metal. I’ve been enjoying stamping on old silver cutlery and I’ve made some pretty funny and interesting pieces. Forge can also mean a fireplace, a hearth or a furnace for heating. Can you create a still life with the word ‘forge’ in mind? You are going to need to put your thinking cap on for this one! It might mean setting up a still life on a fireplace or hearth. Or, if you like “beating something into shape”, try a still life with baking beaters! Hammers and gardening tools are also good for pounding! As are punching gloves! Have fun. Get creative.
Seriously? C’mon!! This is Mrs.Cocktail~Dress’s prompt and it’s not an AFAC but it’s a damned fine AAFP. Firstly I have central heating not a fireplace or hearth. Fossil fuels are not the way forward. Secondly I had to look up ‘baking beaters’, she means an electric whisk, but what that has to do with a forge is beyond me. Thirdly, I am NOT hammering, pounding and punching things for heavens sakes, what does she think I am? a ruddy navvy???
Day 212 ~ keys. ~ We are wrapping up Still Life photography with an object as old as time! Keys – they have been around since the 6th century BC and we still use them to this day! Consider all the still life tips offered throughout the week – lighting, composition, and angle. Your set up can be simple or elaborate: Have fun and enjoy the process. After all, the keys won’t complain if you make them pose over and over again
Finally!! A decent prompt, clear and succinct no AFAC and not an AAFP. I have a set of antique keys I bought for six quid a few years ago in a National Trust gift shop. Obviously they are not real antiques but they are real keys, I knew I’d need them for a photo one day!
SO that’s the end of still-life week, though not the end of still-life shots I’m sure, especially as next week is colour week. I did enjoy the non-annoying prompts, there were 4 of them so on balance I’m winning at still-lifes! Stay tooned for Adventures in Blue next time!