tulips want to be photographed too

after a glorious day of sunshine yesterday, i was a little disheartened to wake up to a gloomy sky blanketed in clouds this morning.  i had checked the forecast at bedtime, so it wasn't like i didn't know it was coming, but i was hoping this would be one of those times the forecast was wrong.

of course, it was dead on, and as a result i spent much of the day wandering around the house wishing for sunshine and half-heartedly trying to engage my kids in playtime.  unfortunately, they were so busy thinking wistfully of the hours we spent outside splashing in the creek yesterday that they weren't so much interested in what i had to offer, and so we ended up passing the time grocery shopping and then lazing around.

by the time 4 o'clock rolled around, it occurred to me that i had neglected to even give my camera a passing thought, and so i began casting my eyes and brain around the house trying to find something worthy of photographing on this less than inspiring day.  my kids had both descended deep into the land of grouchiness, so i knew they were both out, and yesterday fulfilled my self-portrait quota for the next 100 years, so that wasn't an option either.  i was starting to contemplate asking my studly husband to sit in some window light for 5 minutes for me when i wandered aimlessly into the kitchen and my eyes landed on the vase full of gorgeous spring goodness my parents sent me for my birthday.

my husband owes these tulips- they were sitting there just begging to be photographed, and consequently they saved him from several minutes of certain torture.  i quickly hacked my 50 mm lens and started free lensing away, and before i knew it my bad mood started to shed and i found myself feeling not-quite-so bitter about the seemingly never-ending grey that has settled over our spring.

i clicked away until i ran out of angles to try, which luckily happened right around the time the little started climbing up onto the chair i was standing on.  i took and kept more than i had originally intended, and while i meant to edit them to be one cohesive and matching set, i ended up finishing each image with whatever i felt looked best for it individually.  i like the feel of creating a family of photos that goes together, but sometimes they each need to be treated as their own unique image, so tonight i rolled with it.

and here is the result- thirteen tulip images for this friday the thirteenth :)  happy spring- sunshine is surely on its way.

week 8, day 52

another new week and another new theme!  this week, instead of shooting for a concept, we're working on developing a technique- free lensing.

for my non-photographer friends, free lensing is a shooting technique where you remove your lens from your camera body and then hold the lens up to the camera's sensor to shoot while tilting the lens at different angles.  this causes the large majority of the image to fall out of focus, while leaving a specific area of the photo sharp and clear.

a few important notes about free lensing:

- if you're a nikon user (which i am *insert sarcastic thumbs up here*), then in order to free lens effectively, you need to hack your lens.  the reason is this- when you free lens, the aperture on the lens needs to be open as wide as possible.  nikon lenses close the aperture all the way down to a teeny tiny hole when removed from the camera body, and that prevents you from seeing much of anything while attempting to free lens.  in order to get the aperture to stay open on a nikon lens, you need to find this tiny little metal lever on the back of the lens and then slide it as far over as it will go and stick an equally tiny little piece of paper in the lever's track so that it stays put.  and also you need to make sure the piece of paper has a tail so that you can pull it out in case it falls into the lens (not that i'm speaking from experience or anything...).

- i love the look of free lensed images.  i feel like they're the perfect combination of artistic and clean, and they have a little bit of added interest.  they're also very soft, but can still be very emotive and powerful images when done right.

- it's really freaking hard to do correctly.  like, really, really hard.

i've tried to free lens a handful of times in the past, but i've always given up because i just can never get it to look the way i want.  i'm also a little wary of it lately because my grip and dexterity are not what they used to be, and up until recently my only lens choices were my enormous kit lens that i could never manipulate with one hand or my relatively pricey 50 mm that i would never forgive myself for dropping and breaking (which was bound to happen because, it's me).  now that i have my lighter, less expensive 35 mm, i'm not as apprehensive about trying it out.  

i have all these amazingly talented friends who somehow managed to free lens humans, who are moving and stuff, and i can't for the life of me figure out how they pull it off.  so instead i decided to start out easy today with subject matter that remains stationary and does what i make it do.  these aren't great, but they're not as terrible as i was expecting either.  i'm just glad i was able to get parts of the images in focus.

the differences between these 3 are subtle (excluding the fact that one is black and white), but that's kind of what free lensing is all about.  my goal this week is to push myself to try to free lens at least once a day, even if i end up going off prompt for the image i share.  we'll see :)

day 9

today, i made good on a promise i made to myself awhile ago.  i've been following a group on facebook called the cities in color project where the goal is to find and photograph a different color every month in the cities we live in (i mentioned it before over on my old blog).  it's a great project that has really opened my eyes to finding color, but i've been failing- hard- at actually photographing it.  because i live in the suburbs, most of the time when i spot our monthly color, i'm out on the road, and i have only ever stopped once to take a picture.  i always make excuses- the kids are with me or there's too much traffic or it's not the right time of day for good light- but the truth is i'm just too self-conscious to pull over to the side of the road for 2 minutes, jump out, snap a few frames, and move on.  so i promised myself that i would work on getting over it, and today i did.

the color for january is white, and a few weeks ago i drove past this white tractor just plopped down in the middle of a random field.  it's directly on the side of a busy road, so i never stopped, but there's adequate space on the shoulder to pull over safely, so today when i headed that direction, i put on my big girl panties and  took a few minutes to snap a few frames.  i was out of the car for less than a minute, and even though i would have liked to stay out longer and try a few different angles, i'm still happy with the one keeper i got- and i'm glad that i made the choice to pull over.