Week 11: Landscape Reflection

I’ve been excited to post this one!  Reflections are always a fun thing to work with, and this time, I found the perfect place to photograph.

The last few times that I’ve gone to Florida, I’ve been searching for interesting little day trips to take.  I like where I go to visit, but I know there’s so much to see in Florida that is not Disney, and I want to soak all of that in, or as much as I can, anyways.  One place that I had been eyeing up was Bok Tower Gardens.  From what I could tell from quickly browsing their website a million times, they have an awesome garden and tower, with a perfect reflecting pool for this theme.  So I decided to read a little more in to it during my most recent trip, and I finally decided to go check it out.

It really was a beautiful garden, and a deceptively quick walk to the tower.  The weather was beautiful, and I was up for a long walk, but appreciated the extra time I had to browse around the gardens since it didn’t take forever to get to the tower.  So many things were in full bloom, so I was able to get plenty of great flower pictures, which you know I love.  The tower, I’m happy to report, did not disappoint.  It was much taller than I expected, and a beautiful pink coral color, with tons of intricate details.

We encountered a sweet older woman while we were there who gave us a great little history of the tower.  The builder, Edward Bok, immigrated from the Netherlands when he was a child.  His goal was to achieve the “American Dream”, as she put it, and with hard work, he did just that.  He became an incredibly successful publisher and author, and in retirement, moved to Florida.  The tower and gardens were a sort of passion project for him, and in it’s completion, he gave it to the American people as a gift.  How endearing, as was our sweet story teller.  He refused to disclose how much he spent on the tower and gardens because he wanted to keep the notion of it being a gift in tact.  I love hearing stories like this, of people overcoming the odds to achieve the “American Dream”; it always makes me think of my grandparents.

It was great hearing the story from her, and I kept that in mind as we were walking the gardens and admiring the tower.  It’s really quite impressive when you think of it.  It was all completed in the 1920’s.  Imagine how incredibly difficult it must have been to create something like this.  Within the singing tower, there is a large carillon, like an organ/bell tower, as she explained.  The bells had to be brought over from England via boat, with the largest weighing about 12 tons.  I really can’t even fathom how they moved it!

I’m glad that I decided to finally check this place out.  If you’re ever in the central Florida area, I suggest you do the same.  It will be a nice afternoon, and don’t worry, the gardens provide plenty of shade from the hot Florida sun.  Enjoy!

 

 

Broken, for the Sake of Art

When my watercolor professor said that the class was going to work on a still life set up and we all needed to bring something in, I started thinking of what could be interesting.  She mentioned the importance of the “unexpected”, showed us a few examples, and then said that if we were unable to think of an object, we could always borrow from the classroom still life shelf.  Now, when thinking of the unexpected, anything on that shelf doesn’t come to mind.  It’s filled with a variety of bottles, bowls, and random objects which would be contained in your typical still life.

I thought I would alter one of those objects, and bring in something that was usually expected, but had become unexpected.  After venturing over to my parent’s house and practically begging my mother for one of her vases from the plethora which is her collection, I shattered one, and brought it in to class.  Everyone brought in your typical items; a bowl, a more stylized vase, some pine cones, flowers and twigs found outside, and of course, some objects from the still life shelf.  When I presented my object, I was greeted with shock that I would actually shatter something to make it interesting for a still life.  “Broken, for the sake of art!!”, my professor exclaimed.  It was pretty comical, in my opinion, but I was happy to contribute something that would make our set up a little more interesting.

With that being said, my mother also thought is was pretty, well, dumb for lack of a better word, that I would just break something for my art class.  Well, mother, I’m happy to report that my little broken vase is being put to good, multiple, use.  When thinking of an idea for this week’s theme, high key, I automatically thought of the white daisies that I bought for a different photo shoot that I did earlier this week, but like I said, I’m not one for the “light and fluffy” type photographs.  I began to think of how I could make things more interesting, when alas, I have my little shattered vase, which would compliment the flower quite well, while making for a more complex set up.

I’m pretty satisfied with how the photos turned out.  They have an element of darkness, while being extremely bright in content.  An “I’m sorry gone awry” is what these images make me think of.  I know I said I was going to go with the black and white theme, but with being able to actually set up a white backdrop and properly overexpose my images slightly, I thought that leaving those small areas of color would bring in some much-needed variety.  Though the original images would have been successfully considered as high key, I did a little editing to remove some of the saturated color in the flower, as well as to remove some of the shadows.  I was only working with natural light, so without being able to flood the set up with light, I was bound to have several shadows.   Honestly, I like the shadows and light passing through the shattered glass pieces, but to say in line with the theme of this week, I thought I would work to keep my images as close to high key as possible, and eliminate any unnecessary dark areas.  Check them out!

Week 11: High Key

So it looks like I’m in for another learning experience, or two, with this week’s challenges.  For the photography challenge, I have been tasked to take high key photographs.  High Key?  I wasn’t quite sure what that was, so I googled, and it appears that there are quite a few differences in opinion as to what classifies as high key photography.  The general consensus is that a high key photography should contain a lot of white, no/very few shadows, and very lightened mid-tones.  Now, when actually viewing photographs, it seems that people have different opinions.  After doing some research, the black and white images that I came across seemed to turn out more successful, while the color images were hard to define as “high key” in my opinion, particularly when they contained highly saturated colors.  So I think I’m going to go for the black and white look (yay!).

The subject matter is going to be interesting, however.  Many of the words I found that were used to describe high key photography were “happy”, “bright”, “cheery”, and “light and fluffy”.  Ick — I’m not one for doing happy, lovey-dovey, all is well with the world type photographs.  I know, I just posted some borderline “fluffy” pictures of flowers, but that’s different!  I find beauty in the world, as well as in a lot of things that others would not find beautiful, so when capturing things like flowers and nature, that’s what I’m looking at, not their “fluff” value.

The second part of this challenge, the business side, is another bonus photography challenge this week (double yay).  The business objective is to shoot the opposite.  Now, that’s pretty open for interpretation, but it’s intended to be understood as to shoot the opposite of what you normally do.  In evaluating what I usually shoot, I think I have what my “opposite” should be.  I’m often doing landscapes, nature photography, and beach photography, and when working on projects, I often work with still life set ups and (usually bribed) models.  My opposite would be street photography.  It’s something that I’ve always wanted to get in to, have always been intimidated by, and have always adored when viewing the works of others.  In just going through the assignments of my photography classes, I was always in awe of how these non-art-marjor, amateur photographers, would capture wonderful, candid images in their street photography.  Not that I’m looking down on their skill in saying that, I’m actually giving them props — they were brand new in a medium I have worked with for years, and seemed to have broken through the barrier that the idea street photography has built for me.  As I worked through my classes and became more familiar with the works of other artist, I became even more captivated with the idea of capturing striking photos from everyday interactions.  I would have to say that my favorite would be Garry Winogrand, which was only amplified after I saw an exhibit of his at the National Gallery.  I’m a little bittered of the idea of street photography after seeing his photographs, wishing that people still dressed the way they did in the 50’s and 60’s.  I feel that there is a level of class in that era which he captured in his images, and nothing close to that could be captured again.  If you haven’t seen his work, you should, like right now — it’s pretty great.  Anyways, as I ramble on, that’s going to be my focus for the weekend, hopefully.  With another bout of winter weather coming around, I may have a better chance at catching some outdoor high key photographs than street photography.  Wish me luck!

Oh, and here’s a couple of photographs which I have taken in the past that bordered high key, and with my edits, I think are approaching that technique.  Not quite sure if I’ve got it, but hopefully with some intentional lighting and camera settings, I’ll catch the light just right.