Sunday, October 7, 2018

Six Windows

I struggled to pick up my camera in September. After 365 days of daily photos, what could I possibly photograph that I hadn't already?

There is nothing wrong with taking a break when you feel burned out, but I also didn't want to let a year of hard work slip away for too long either. Thankfully at the eleventh hour a challenge came my way via David duChemin and The Compelling Frame course that I started last year.

The challenge was:

  • Choose one idea, theme or subject.
  • Choose some constraints.
  • Make photographs in September
  • Chose the six best at the end of the month and post them in the group.

I loved the idea, but struggled to find the subject. I just spent a year shooting whatever I fancied. The only constraint the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I decided to look back at my 365 project as a whole and see what subjects jumped out at me. There were a few different ones, but two that kept reoccurring were windows and reflections.

I needed to talk through the challenge with a friend. So in one of our weekly Skype sessions I hashed through it with my friend Lee. She said she had once done a window project for an on-line course, as did a mutual friend of ours. She sent me the link to the blog post she did on windows, as well as the link to our friend's blog post. Both of them encouraged me. I decided to do windows.

I started out strong with a photo walk in my downtown. So many great buildings and windows. But then that ugly "middle" came. I couldn't find any more good windows. I only had three so far, and those weren't even taken with the constraint I had chosen - my 60mm macro lens, a once favorite lens.

In the "middle", I played many games with myself to get through it. What if I set the timer on my phone and stopped every five minutes to take a detail shot of something? That worked for one morning, again yielding three decent photos. I didn't feel like playing the game again.

The windows still called to my soul.

Then, an unexpected trip to my personal heaven - northern Michigan. My husband had to go for work for three whole days, which meant I had three days to photograph windows in all the places I love.

Bravely, I posted the six finalists in The Compelling Frame FB group. The windows were well received. One comment especially stirred me. Cynthia said, "Great glimpses into what feels like looking into other worlds, both moving forward and looking back."

In the waining days of September, I found all the windows I needed and so much more.


  1. Beautiful window shots, Sarah and very interesting exercises which guided you into seeking them out!

  2. I love these window shots, and Cynthia’s words :-)

  3. Window panes always seem to peak my interest . . .
    Great exercise . . .
    Loved the “through the window” pic of . . . shed like building . . .juxtaposition with teeny, tiny, narrow . . .

  4. I enjoy reading each line and looking at the alluring photography, Sarah. Your constant exploration into theme and expression is a gift. Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. I'm so glad you posted this! I was eager to see your finalists, and they are worth waiting for. I love the hint of mystery they all share, the intimate details of frames, glass, views and reflections. Great job, Sarah!

  6. I love that you came through the dreaded middle and pulled this together. Inspiring!

  7. Despite September being over,I am still working on my 6 and fighting many of the same battles. Thank you for some inspirational exercises!

  8. Cynthia said it perfectly.
    Windows can one draw in and I understand how you came back to them again and again. The way you photograph them gives them a certain flair of magic, but also mystery. I found myself asking several times what story the building would tell to which the window belongs. When my imagination takes off by seeing an image - that's a great photo for me.

  9. As you know, we share the love of old windows! These are wonderful! I did almost the same thing last week. I went to a nearby town and photographed awnings, windows, and doorknobs. Now and then I love to take my camera and search for a particular think.

  10. What a cool project and great idea. There really is something about a window - looking out, looking in, sunlight and scenery reflected, there is so much feeling. As I scrolled down, I thought I had a favorite, but then scrolled back up and had another. I think the end result is they all have something to say. The reflections and shadows and scenery all have a sort of feeling of peace, serenity... home (even though I never lived on a farm - rural scenery always feels like home to me - go figure...)

  11. I love all your windows. Windows are so photogenic, I think because the majority of windows all have different details, and they also make whatever is on the other side seem to be a part of another 'world'. I have been wrestling with a creative slump myself. I will have to try your setting the timer for 5 min exercise, maybe that will get me looking a little harder for things to photograph.

  12. Your windows are amazing, and so is your story of losing creative focus and how you tried to free yourself from your slump. You are inspiring.

  13. Love these windows. So creatively approached, each one! Choosing my best is always an issue for me. I never like the ones other people seem to like. PS The 3rd one is my fave here.

  14. I photographing windows, but my focus is what is seen through them. "Through my window" my folder is called. Not necessarily the window as a frame which of course it is, but what is the story being seen and from where am I seeing it. Even thinking about "through my window" makes me swell inside! I haven't taken one of these photos for quite awhile either.


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