Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Associations, and Lessons from the Field

This week has been lovely, and I hope to continue to look for my happy thoughts each day. Visiting others' sites has helped expand my "list" - causing me to think of connections to photos, and to stories. Thank you, Lisa, for getting the ball rolling this week and continuing to be a leader in creative thinking:). This post is also a "photography lesson," embracing my love for teaching.

I love flowers. I don't have much luck growing them, but I love them. And my fondness for roses is a connection to my grandmother. She had a lovely rose garden at "the cottage," a house on a lake my grandparents owned and where we spent much of each summer. Grandma would be out in the roses, working in her cotton housedress (which she'd made), worn cotton work gloves on her small hands (with fingers shaped just like mine), perfectly curled short hair, and a smile. Standing just 4 foot 11 inches tall, Grandma's smile was bigger than she was.
I don't remember cut flowers in the house, but where else would they have gone? Do you just let the flowers fade, petals falling to the ground to sprinkle the earth with color? I do remember color. Reds and pinks and whites. I love yellow roses, myself, and don't remember that color. The old photographs have faded and I can't distinguish the colors well. It doesn't matter.

Portland, Oregon has a beautiful rose garden downtown. It's a test garden, and there are many varieties there that can only grow in certain conditions. One beautiful yellow rose was named "Julia Child." You'll see it in pictures below.

And now the lesson. The day we went to the rose garden was a beautiful, bright and sunny day. You would think this to be a perfect day for photographing flowers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Look at the collage of 3 photos above. Lovely pink, yellow and red, but there isn't a lot of detail in the flowers. They appear a bit too bright, don't they? And contrasty? Bright spots and dark spots. They are not "bad" photos, but take a look at what some time and effort can offer. What if you went to the gardens on an overcast day? Or looked for flowers which were in the shadow? Or what if you used the light to your advantage, and chose to use backlighting to show off the shapes, patterns and textures?

Then there's always the option of changing it to black and white - remove the color and work with the light and dark.

Another way to look at the flowers is in a clump, or larger arrangement. This spreads out the color and contrast, so you aren't calling attention to the lack of detail as you would if you were taking a photograph of a single bloom. Here's "Julia Child" - in color and black & white, which seems perfect considering the film which just came out. The film was in color, but the clips of her on her television show were in black & white.

So...happy thoughts of flowers, photography and special people. A great way to wind up the week. Have a fabulous weekend.


My Mane in the Wind said...

My Nana was also 4'11" and the memories I have of her were of warm, baked bread, vanilla cupcakes, and handknitted sweaters. Her name was Daisy Farmer Moremen. Thanks for evoking these thoughts of her. We have over 100 rose bushes on our property and I love their variety and to photograph them. Thank you for the great suggestions. And I wish you offered an online digital class!!!!

Char said...

beautiful roses and visit there.

curious girl (lisa) said...

yay! gorgeous roses and a photo lesson all in one! I love it.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Dear Sandy, thanks for your wonderful words on my blog. I can almost smell your roses...I need them to remember her as much as she loved flowers. So thanks again.
How was your trip are you back home yet? When I find the spirit again I'll catch up with your stories soon my friend. Hugs Dagmar

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Oh yes, grandmothers and roses and house dresses! Gorgeous memories. Thank you for your dose of roses and photographs and lessons! Yes, shadows and contrast make all the difference.

I was gone last week and am loving catching up on Happy Week. Your critters and water shots are fabulous!

ols1 said...

I just love roses and you have captured them so well - so many beautiful colours - I bet the smell of them was breathtaking.

Sandy K. said...

My grandmother's name was Elfleda Alfarata Cruickshank Trerice, and it won an art contest when I was in college:). What a mouthful for such a little person. She was the best. The roses were fabulous and I think they were arranged so the fragrances didn't conflict. There were some which didn't have any fragrance to speak of, and others you could smell a mile away. What an engineering feet!