“We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between we garden.” Alfred Austin
“There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.” Jacqueline Carey
“Black and white images take you beyond what most people photograph.” Rob Sheppard
“With regards to the way of death, if you are prepared to die at any time, you will be able to meet your release from life with equanimity. As calamities are usually not as bad as anticipated beforehand, it is foolhardy to feel anxiety about tribulations not yet endured.” Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
I woke up today at 6:30 and decided to go back to bed. Thirty minutes later I was standing in a field taking more photos of the same sunflower as in my last post.
I remembered the tiny voice of the flower talking yesterday: Get closer it said and use your monopod. As I waited for the right light I realized that the plant was at least a foot taller than me so handheld it was.
I struggled to hold the camera steady and get as close as I could, occasionally chimping and deleting any image that was not tack sharp or at least close. As the wind picked up I had the funny feeling that this was completely ridiculous.
I think maybe the miracle of a single flower is that it doesn’t struggle, anything that happens is perfectly fine. Life could be the same way, whatever happens or is going to happen is beyond our control so resisting it is pointless.
As I was sitting in my car zooming in on each image I heard very soft laughter coming from somewhere. It turned out to be someone feeding the goats but I have a feeling that the flowers were smiling that I got the message.
Of course I’ll be doing the exact same thing tomorrow. Maybe unusual things made from wood, shot wide open, converted to black and white and resized to exactly 1000 x 1294 (more or less).
I stood there staring at this sunflower for what seemed like an hour but was probably a minute. Knowing that if I could see the miracle of a single flower my whole life would change was promising but nothing was happening.
Then I heard a tiny voice that said: Take a picture already you dope! Since I was going to do that anyway, I framed the shot but before I could even check my settings the voice said: Get closer you moron!
Now I was starting to get agitated, a word I only use on Tuesday when flowers talk to me. She told me to get the moon in the background, shoot in manual at f/8 and use the monopod in my car.
Realizing that flowers rarely talk to me I figured it was just a vivid imagination and ignored her. I shot at f/5.6, handheld and didn’t get the moon in the frame which was already fading into the day.
There’s an old adage that says if you think you’re insane you’re probably not, but it may be worth getting my meds checked when I see my shrink this week.
“Life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, nor actual difficulty in our life.” Shunryu Suzuki
Note: your results may vary.
“Thinking is learning all over again how to see, directing one’s consciousness, making of every image a privileged place.” Albert Camus
When you photograph sunflowers in color, you photograph their leaves. But when you photograph them in black and white, you photograph their souls.
It might be art, but in this case it’s a photo of a sunflower that just opened up today. I used the crosshatch filter in Photoshop adjusting the stroke length, sharpness and strength.
There are dozens of filters to choose from, each with several different options and you can add other effects in literally thousands of different ways, maybe even hundreds of thousands.
People say that you can learn Photoshop in 50-100 hours, but it really takes years to get anywhere close to mastering it. It would probably be faster to learn to paint with oil on canvas, but it would definitely not be easier.