Assignment: Image-Making In My Own Backyard

August 04, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

BackyardIn my own backyard BackyardIn my own backyard

I&A 2I&A 2

Already? It’s 4:35 in the morning. What in the world do all of these birds outside my bedroom window possibly have to be chirping so exuberantly about at this hour? There is only the tiniest amount of perceptible daylight in the atmosphere. I attempt to talk myself into another half hour of sleep but the chirping is incessant and reminds me that one must make hay while the sun is shining. Or, as in my case, make images before the sun is directly shining. 

So I roll myself out of bed earlier than I have in any retrievable memory. I still have time to make coffee before the soft pastels of predawn are pierced by rigid shadow lines. Foiled! There is no cream in the refrigerator and the store doesn’t open until 6. I assigned myself this photography challenge and now I’m going to have to get out there and do it with no coffee. 

I trudge back into my room for my equipment, drag my feet outside and plop down next to the catmint. It must have been in peak bloom last week because about half of the once lavender-colored blossoms have shriveled to a delightful deep indigo. Just beyond the clusters of flower stalks is the stack of juniper fire wood providing a harmonious contrast to the catmint melody. My Nikor 70-200 at 70mm and f5 allowed hypodermic sharpness of select flower stalks and a dreamy softness in everything else.

Moving along I am drawn to some blooming dogbane along the blue-painted back wall. I have been struggling with the autofocus on the same lens so I switch the Nikon D800E to live view, frame the scene at 180mm, wait for the gentle morning breeze to still, manually focus in on the nearest cluster of flowers and capture the image at f6.3. These “weeds” that my housemate uprooted later that day will be remembered in an image that is compelling yet calming and complex yet peaceful. 6am has come and gone without my awareness.

I am still being lured through my backyard, now, to a tall tuft of ornamental grass. Again I use my 70-200 and live view at 120mm and f4 to move almost everything out of focus and transform the very character of the grass; from sharp blades to soft rays of blue-green that seem to glow before the pale yellow of the house’s painted exterior block wall. The grocery store has been open for over a half hour at this point yet I have all but forgotten about my errand. I am aflutter with creativity rather than caffeine.

The past year has given us all many reasons to keep it local. Covid 19 closed our borders and climate-related wild fires continue to remind us of our enormous footprint. I chose to challenge myself to create in my own back yard to illustrate that we need not travel far to remote and exotic locations. The euphoria of flow and the creation of beautiful images are experiences available to you almost anywhere you find yourself; with or without that cup of coffee. 

 

 

 

 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March April (1) May (1) June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August (3) September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December