Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Language of Flowers

I am a restless soul. During the five years of this photographic journey, I have spent a lot of time trying to harness this restlessness. When that doesn't work, I try to find ways to embrace it. Restlessness is good to a degree, it keeps me striving forward, never content, always wanting to learn more. The downfall is that I have an extremely hard time sticking with anything. I get bored quickly.

I have completed two 365 days photography projects, and finished strong in one 100 day project. But I have also quit at least two 365 day projects and four 100 day projects, failing at my latest 100 day project just last month. For this latest 100 day project I started out so strong, using Susannah Conway's April Love for my daily prompts. The beginning of May it was starting to get harder and by the time we left for vacation on May 13, I was completely over it, although I did do the daily task for the first two days of vacation, and then that was it.

The photography conference I attended stirred many creative thoughts inside me, and the two day drive home from Massachusetts gave me lots of time to think...

I am going to try a new approach to projects. I stay strong and interested for the first month and then the fall off happens. What about doing one month projects?

With a new, more realistic, time frame in mind, I sat down at my desk with a yellow legal pad to give it some details.

How would I chose my subject for each month? It's no secret that I love on-line classes, so why not take one each month and devote the month to it. This could be a new class, or a class I have previously taken (hence the reason to always take life-time access classes). The class would dictate what my subject would be each month. From the class lessons, I could chose what I wanted each week's specific focus to be.

About the time I was writing all this down on my legal pad, an email dinged through - Select Creative Live classes on sale. Click.'s one Creating Painterly Photographs taught by Kathleen Clemons. I had been hearing Kathleen's name a lot in the last few weeks - lives in Maine, loves Lensbaby lenses, award winning flower photographer. All good until the flower thing, I don't love to shoot flowers. I signed up. This would push me and hopefully harness my restlessness for a month.

I began June 1st. Kathleen shoots a lot with her 180mm macro lens. I don't have one, so what could I do instead? I put my 55-250mm zoom on, which I rarely use, put my camera on my tripod and went out to my flower beds. I found the challenges of not having a 180mm macro, but I also found joy in having my 55-250mm.

This first week has been a bit of a free-for-all, dabbling a little into each of the things learned in Kathleen's class. This second week I hope to pick a more specific focus from the things I enjoyed doing week one.

Week One Take Aways

  • Tripod - I love my Canon 6D camera, but on a tripod I love my 70D and the only reason why is the articulating screen. I tend to shoot in Live View on the tripod, and I manually focus. The articulating screen makes composing so much easier, seeing the bigger picture, plus it is a life-saver for my back. 
  • North Door Light - A year ago I thought to set up still life shots in my garage - huge space and north facing, it took until this project to finally do it, the effect is quite amazing. 
  • Black Background - Loving my large piece of black foam core and my husband's clamps.
  • Chaos - I am trying to embrace the "fill the frame" shots, but I love simplicity. 
  • Painterly - Delighted to be dabbling back in Photoshop with textures, and Topaz Labs Impressions. 
  • Farmers Market - There are always lovely fresh flowers to buy at the market.
  • My Own Gardens - This project is filling me with love for my own garden.

I have been sharing my daily flower shot either on Facebook or Instagram and often both, what I am treasuring the most is the community and conversations that it is creating, even local non-photographer friends are sharing their flower photos from their garden. It seems everyone speaks the language of flowers.


  1. I've been loving your flower photos, Sarah. And as always, I'm inspired by your diligence in considering how best to pursue your passion. Someone recently commented to me that I seem to be taking a lot of flower photos lately. Well, yes. It's just that time of year! How could I not? :-)

  2. Interesting how we find a passion, build, study, experiment, stretch, continue . . .
    It happens in most everything and in most everyone . . .
    I find your diligence and faithfulness inspiring . . .
    And the results outstanding . . .
    Loved the first photo . . .
    The final photo drew me in . . . my kind of place . . .

  3. It felt like you were drawing words right from my own restless mind here. :) I also love on-line classes (and the connections with other women I take away from them). I ate this post up - images, words, and spirit. My favorite part was the "more realistic time-frame." I get bored quickly, too, and I used to beat myself up about it. Now I see it as the chance to infuse my creative side more regularly while adding more techniques to my repertoire. Thanks for this amazing post!

  4. Beautiful work, Sarah. I especially love the fern. When it comes to classes, you're speaking my language. I've learned to say no to some of them that I thought I couldn't live without joining. I keep a list of those Life-Time access classes on the PC desktop. Helps me say no when needed and also to not forget to complete those I do care about.

  5. I especially love that last shot! I know what you mean when you talk about starting a project and then not being able to see it through till the end. I'm pretty persevering, but if I'm not enjoying something, I definitely stop putting my energy into it. Life is too short to do things that are absolutely not us! This spring, I took on too many things and it's weighing on me, but one project is nearly over and I shall be able to breathe a little easier!

    So interesting to read how you go about things to get the best out of them! Bravo!

  6. This is a fantastic class, Sarah, and Kathleen is just so sweet, to say nothing of her amazing talent.
    I know you will enjoy it.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.

  7. I have truly enjoyed your floral images so far this month - takes me back to my floral stage a few years ago and as much as I love my new job, I do reminisce the days when I could take the time and test my patience on doing still shots.

  8. I love flowers and always admire your photos, I also love online classes and I don't know how it happens but always the classes I want to take are given all at the same time. I decided this year to take one at a time so I can really devote myself to the subject, but LOL it hasn't worked out that way so far this year either.

  9. I'm loving your flower photos! I admire your ability to take on new projects with such zeal and do well at them. I have never been able to take pictures of flowers that don't look like I just pointed the camera and clicked like a child would do! You have a wonderful set-up in your garage!

  10. I'm so behind - I don't know how I missed this post! As I'm reading what you're writing, I see so much of myself in what you're saying - projects - sticking with them, not sticking with them... I love to have structure to guide me, but I don't really like structure to rule me. So as I'm "listening" to what you're saying, I'm thinking "I get that", but since it's not me, I get to sit back and be a little more objective - and I'm thinking it's okay if you start something and then move in a different direction. Let your creativity guide you. I've been enjoying your flower photos and I know they aren't really your thing, but maybe stepping outside your norm is letting you be creative in other ways. Whatever you wind up doing, you're always growing, and selfishly - I'm enjoying watching your process!

  11. I especially love that last shot! I know what you mean when you talk about starting a project and then not being able to see it through till the end.

    thai porn


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