Sunday, June 18, 2017

Field Study


"Attention is the beginning of devotion."
                                                                                       ~ Mary Oliver 

Two summers ago I spent many early mornings wandering the beach at our local state park. Unintentionally, I fell into a photography project: photographing items left behind. It is amazing what people leave behind, my favorite being a bottle of Love Potion that I found by the fishing dock.

Last summer my project was of a more personal nature - walking the nine mile road (in sections) between my parents home and the town where I spent my growing up years. I wanted to walk it so I could pause and reflect at each place along the road that stirred a memory.


I fully expected to be back at the beach this summer continuing my lost and found project, that is until I started this #30dayadventureflowers project.


Tuesday morning I found myself on the Meadow Loop at one of my favorite county parks. The Meadow Loop is a lovely, quarter-mile paved walk that meanders through the wildflower meadow in front of the visitor's center. I have already photographed all the flowers in my own garden many times. My peonies are now only petals scattered on the wind. I was looking for fresh inspiration. That's when I remembered this loop and thought it would be the perfect place for a field study. The parking lot is right next to the loop, so I could easily use my tripod and switch between cameras and lenses without having to lug everything with me at once.


I started with my Canon 70D with 55-250mm zoom lens and my tripod. Using a tripod helps so much with composing the shot, sharp focus and the thing I needed the most - slowing down. Shortly after setting off on the loop, I noticed this dragonfly positioned perfectly on the flower stalks. I set up the tripod, zoomed in on him, used live view to manually focus and suddenly I had my favorite photo of the day. I took my time walking the loop, looking and more looking, some shooting.


First loop completed I had two choices: I could go home, even though I had only been there a half hour, or I could take another camera and walk the loop again. Since my arms were a little tired from carrying the tripod, I decided I would stroll the loop this time with only my iPhone. I struggle with flower photography and my iPhone, craving shallow depth of field and unable to obtain it. I began to think; What else can I do? Then I remembered the Slow Shutter app on my phone, that I have had for a year or more and never used. Taking the technique that Kathleen Clemons used in her Creative Live class, I began to look for things I could pan in slow motion. There is a wooden footbridge that crosses a marsh of cattails (long vertical lines), I thought I would give that a try. I started at the sky and swiped down the tree line and then the cattails. I also tried just the cattails. Personally, I needed the layers of color instead of variations of one. When processing the photo later, besides brightening and adding more saturation, I felt it needed a little more so I added a texture in the Distressed FX app. Perfect pairing!


I have never been attracted to abstract art, but this might become my new addiction. This is a metal footbridge in another part of the park. Again I paired it with a texture from the Distressed FX app.


As I was walking with my iPhone, I noticed things I hadn't my first time around with my tripod. Back at the car once again, this time I decided to grab my Canon 6D with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 for another completely different look. I walked this last loop a bit faster since the mosquitoes had finally found me.

I was very happy with everything that I captured on my three laps of the Meadow Loop, but I knew I wanted to see more, practice more. I am making it a goal to get out to this same loop once a week throughout this summer; trying to do three laps each outing, using the three different camera options. I can't wait to see what I discover. 

12 comments:

  1. Your photos are an inspiration to me as I often say there is nothing new to photograph where I live. You have shown me that I need to stop and look and really try to see. The dragonfly is my favorite too. I think your post processing adds so much to your pictures.

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  2. Let's begin with this I like!

    "Attention is the beginning of devotion."
    ~ Mary Oliver

    Amazing what you are creating . . . with your iPhone.
    I think I'd enjoy Meadow Loop . . . (without mosquitoes)
    Really liked that pic . . .

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  3. It's amazing how many different things you see each time. I think it would be fun to find a special place to photograph at different times of the day, month, year... I love your many views of the same place!

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  4. What a great idea, and a lovely post. You got such a nice variety of photos using your three different cameras. I recently remembered I had the Slow Shutter app and played a bit with some motion blur panning. I'm not into abstract either, but that was fun!

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  5. Love the idea of walking the pathway three times with different camera. I need to try this! Looking forward to more walk with you!

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  6. You are blessed with a treasure trove of areas to explore and you outdo yourself each outing. Fantastic group of shots.

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  7. I love the different kinds of shots you have chosen to share here. My favourites are the two different ones of the dragonfly. The second one in tones of blue-grey is beautiful. I have been on the same walks with different lenses and the results are often surprising!

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  8. Outdoor walks are so worthy, there's always something to be found each time...

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  9. You're such an inspiration to me and I love your photography, I especially love the dragon fly.There is always so much we can find in our own back yard if we only set our mind to and pay attention. Thank you

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  10. These are really wonderful, Sarah.
    I especially love the first two.
    Wonderful colors and softness.

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  11. This is a very interesting project and I hope you will show us more photos throughout the summer. The dragonfly shot is amazing. I almost never use my tripod and really don't like to schlepp it around with me - yes I'm lazy when it comes to that. I compliment you on taking and using your tripod.

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  12. Love the editing on the images. And the dragonfly is really good.

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)