On a good day during the week Nick and I will walk through our front door at 6pm. Now most people would think thats a normal time to end a working day but when you start off your day at 5am it does tend to wear thin a little. We are greeted by our three cats who constantly try to trip us up until they are fed, it is these moments I am most thankful to my husband, I am sure one day children will play outside my house shouting about the crazy cat lady. Once they are fed and watered we are free to go about our nightly chores.
I will step back a moment here and tell you I am taking part in my second 365 project. I finished one in 2014 but to be honest by the end of the year I was just going through the motions and taking a snapshot that fitted the word without any real thought behind it. My photography didn’t improve and I came to resent the daily prompts, honestly they were quite crap really. This year I am using my photo a day as my quiet 15 minutes, my meditation if you like. My 365 project is through the Instagram account of @365_today. They put up the week’s prompts in advance on a Saturday so if you are short of time for the week you can plan your shots over the weekend. I actually don’t use the prompts literally – I use the prompts to find a quote or a song lyric that resonates with me and the photo seems to come from that.
So, having come home from work, fed the beasts and removed the shackles of the business suit from our mindsets by pouring a rather large glass of red. Nick then gets shackled to the kitchen, and not in a good 50 shades of grey kind of way, and I get to play, again not in a 50 shades of grey way. I normally pick my quote the night before so during the day I have the quote roaming around my head, meandering into my subconscious giving me ideas while I work (they called it daydreaming when I was in school – and I got straight A’s for that). The prompt for the picture in question was ‘Wild’ and my quote was “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake.
Down to the basics. Grab a tea towel, a book, a cup of tea or coffee and some weeds from the garden (well if you went into my garden thats all you will find). Move a table near a window and set a timer for 10 minutes. Place the items on the table, take a photo, take another photo from a different angle, move the weeds, take another photo, move the book and take another photo keep going until the timer goes off then take your camera to your computer and download your photos. Or if you are using your phone go to your favourite app and play.
This is straight from camera no post processing and as you can see at this stage the cup is empty (I am still drinking my evening wine at this stage) once I am happy with the shot I then make the tea so it doesn’t go too cold and I can drink it while I am playing in Lightroom.
The before and after shot. Yep a lot of cropping, straightening and tweaking but I will admit that is half the fun.
So by now I’m ready to take his ball and chain off and eat tea, settle into the sofa a little more relaxed, having clutched at just a small moment of tranquility. Mine is from the bustle of the office, maybe yours is from the howling kids or the crying baby, whatever you are looking to escape for just a moment, I recommend putting your camera in your hand and locking the world away for just 15 minutes.
Years ago when all my children were young, I painted. I lost myself in my painting so much that on numerous occasions the school would ring me to see if I was picking up my children at all (this probably explains why my children never call me) or other parents would notice I was missing in action so to speak and automatically bring my children home. Life, then got busy, and a belated career boost had me put my paint brushes and pastels away to concentrate on the corporate world. Big mistake. Huge error. As the youngsters say nowadays, ‘epic palmface’.
Having had the wine glass surgically removed from my hand in January, I have this year found my creative passion again. Once more, I have found a love of losing myself within an art form, and good news, post editing photographs means you can drink at the same time. Thanks to the modern wonder of the only social media worth doing Instagram (sorry Facebook people, and don’t worry Twitter people you stopped reading at ‘probably’) I found sharing my photos easy. There is no expectation that you have to like or comment on any other photo and you can ‘follow’ people without feeling like you are stalking them (well ok I am stalking Chris Hemsworth on IG, but I’m sure he’s fine with that (btw Chris if you are reading this a signed picture would be really nice….)).
One of the girls I came across on IG when I was looking at the magnifying glass tab, was the talented Kim Klassen. So out of all the self indulgent duck face selfies and the check out my abs shots, I actually found something worth looking at. This took me to Kim’s blog last year and when she opened up a My Still Sunday course it felt like it was made for me. If anyone is thinking of doing any of Kim’s classes I can highly recommend them. More than the technical side Kim’s generosity in sharing her family’s life and how she found stillness in her photography makes these classes extremely personal, and because they are online you can drink while watching them.
Which I think, brings us about up to speed. What I am going to share over the coming few weeks is some of the flat lay photography I have done as part of My Still Sunday, how I fit in my photo a day between walking in the door and pouring a glass of red, feeding the cats and asking my husband to start dinner (yep I truly have cracked the secret to life, the universe and everything…….how to get a man to cook without a bbq).
The picture above was taken, edited and put on IG in under 15 minutes. No studio lights were harmed in the taking of this picture. Over the coming week I am going to share how I did that, what I did to it and even the original before I cropped the living room curtains out of it.