Lesson 1 – Composition And Impact

I’m going through Lesson 1 of the photo course, all about composition– the rule of thirds and the golden mean.  the first assignment is:

Take at least one abstract photo based entirely on some of the compositional rules we talked about. Subjects should not be recognizable.

I’m not entirely satisfied with my results  With the first I went with a triangle– When you take a photograph in a rectangular frame, basing the composition on a triangle that goes from any one corner to the two opposite sides… I think this is an overly common image.

For the next one I tried a leading line, although I don’t think the line showed up all that well.

Maybe I’m just not meant to take abstract photos 🙂  I still have to try assignment two- Students will take pictures of a subject from various viewpoints (near, far, from above, below, behind). Creativity is encouraged. Although I’ve already figured out that most subjects benefit from a close-up.

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A New Course of Action

When I heard about a group of photographers deciding to go through Jodie Coston’s Free Online Photography Course, I thought joining in would be a great way to jumpstart my lagging creativity.  I may decide it’s too much once I get into the Mused Online Writer’s Conference October 13-19 and take a week off.   But it’s a self-paced course, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem.  If you’d like to check out who else is participating, take a look at Carolyn Erickson’s blog.  She has a list of other participants and links to a few helpful sites.  I’ll be posting my assingments here!

A Great Quote

In reading a post at The Happiness Project, I was really struck by a Voltaire quote Gretchen Rubin included–

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This is a constant for me. I don’t think even I recognized my perfectionist tendencies because, well, nothing around here looks perfect. Trouble is, I get into the mentality of if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all. This isn’t really a good way to live. I’m constantly feeling less-than becasue i can’t do everything perfectly. What if I make a mistake?! And it’s so hard to tell myself so what if I make a mistake? In my very first post, I talked about this fear of mistakes and how I could bring myself to use a sketch pad I had bought. That was August 2006. Guess what? I still have not even opened the pencils.

Searching For Creativity

Creativity-wise, I’ve been feeling a little dried up lately.  Maybe it was the end of summer vacation finally wearing down on me (my boys were bickering constantly) or maybe I’ve just gotten out of the habit of creating.  Either way, I’m stuck and stagnant.  I think one of my biggest problems is that I complicate things unnecessarily.  Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘If I had a usable office I could write’ or ‘If I had more room to set up a studio, I’d take more pictures.’

While, yes, these things would make it easier, I don’t *need* them to create.  I’m letting external factors dictate my productivity.  I realize outside circumstances are always going to affect my work, but can I still write at the dining room table until the office is cleared out enough for me to use?  YES.  Can I still take some beautiful photos without the “proper” lighting and set up?  Well, I have in the past, so again, I’d say YES.

I’ve been looking around online for some inspiration and I stumbled across a few blogs that I think will help me quite a bit:

  • Zen Habits -It’s subtitled “Simple Productivity”.  That sounds just about right for what I need.  The post that got me was 21 Easy Hacks To Simplify Your Life
  • LifeDev -I’ve looked at LifeDev several times over the last few months and always seem to find a relevant post.  I’m especially intrigued by Open Sourcing Your Creativity.
  • 43 Folders – I’ve not looked around this site extensively, but there seems to be some good tips and ideas to think about.
  • Be Jane – While this is not so much like the other three, I came across this “Women’s Home Improvement Community” while I was trying to decide if I should paint over the kitchen wallpaper or try to rip it down.  Turns out this isn’t such an odd decision– I found an article on How to Paint Over Wallpaper.  Turns out my wallpaper was glued to unprimed drywall, so this is the best solution.

Now, if someone could just tell me why I always manage to drip coffee on my shirt, we’ll be all set.

Pumpkin in my Front Yard

My older son planted a pumpkin in our front yard.  Not really where we wanted it, but we’ll have two pumpkins this year.  Pretty good I thought for our first try.  Now, does anyone know how to tell when to pick a pumpkin?  I think the boys are waiting for a pie 🙂

I think this one is ripe

I think this one is ripe

Not quite ripe yet

Not quite ripe yet

Outside My Window

They other day my son and I heard the neighborhood hawk in our trees.  I think he was in an argument with our very annoying blue jay because while we couldn’t find the hawk, the blue jay was flying tree to tree in a very agitated manner.  We went to my bedroom to look out the windows thinking we’d get a better veiw of the trees in the yard.  We still didn’t find the hawk, but my son did find a mourning dove sitting in a nest.  I got a pretty good shot with my zoom lens:

mourning dove in a nest

mourning dove in a nest

Kind of a companion shot to the dove in the chapel arches at Valley Forge Park:

mourning dove at Valley Forge

mourning dove at Valley Forge

The REAL Reason

Here is why laundry never seems to get done around my house:

Mikey, 7-06

Mikey, 7-06

Mikey 7-08

Mikey, 7-08

As you can see, there’s just NO ROOM for any laundry in there now.