Photography has always called me, but until we moved here, I really had no time to learn any photographic skills. I would simply take snapshots, usually of family, friends and pets.
The first photographs I took on this property were snapshots too. A quick, unthinking capture of a bird or plant for identification. Sometimes I still do this. Sometimes there isn’t a chance to do anything else – especially where small, fast-moving birds are concerned. I found the more I knew about a species, the more I wanted to capture in the photograph. Are the colours right? Can you see the leaves? How do I show the background clearly and precisely?
These aims led me to concepts of lighting, depth of field, composition and other photographic techniques. As I learned, my photographs improved.
It’s likely I would have continued along the same path if it were not for a visit from a friend who is an artist. As we sat and talked, overlooking the dam and the edge of the bushland, she remarked “This would be a good place to experiment with tonal landscapes.” She went on to explain the limited colour palate and focus on shapes and lines which form tonal landscapes. After she left, the idea stayed with me. The post Tonal Landscapes was my very first attempt at creating nature photography as art. Some of the photographs were more successful than others, but it started another journey for me.
From tone I went on to explore colour, texture, form and the finer details associated with bushland plants.
This year I participated in a local art show as an artist. I displayed eighteen photographs. All eighteen were taken here, on our fifteen acre property. I’m beginning to imagine a life where my passion and my career come together. The life of an artist isn’t an easy one to figure out though. I’m still working my way through many false starts and trying to find a way to promote and sell my work. Small successes keep me inspired and from here the road ahead looks like it is flooded with sunlight – if only I can work my way through the boggy patch leading to the path. With each step I take, I learn more.
Below are some of the photographs posted on this blog I’m most pleased with from an artistic perceptive . The caption below each one holds my thoughts about the photo.
To me, this photograph almost looks like a painting. I also love the way the branches form a frame for tones and textures rather than an object.
This is a scene I came across after a wind storm. I simply like the angles formed by the broken tree trunks, even though I was sorry to lose the trees.
Two solid blocks of colour, one soft and shadowy, the other clear and bright. Photographing on foggy days is a joy.
At the time I photographed this, I simply loved the contrast in colour. Now I see so much more in this photograph – almost a form emerging.
Along with the dramatic sky, contrasted with sunlit trees, I am drawn into the centre of this image because of the way the trees all lean in. It’s almost as if the gap between the two central trees is a gateway – but to where?
One of the original Tonal Landscapes photographs. A real study of tones and lines.
Another original Tonal Landscapes photo. This is my favourite from that original post. I love the way the sunlight picks out grass stems and leaves, almost as painterly brush strokes.
The colour and the mood created by this photo continues to fascinate me. I’m drawn to the bark every time I look at it, and then the bracken catches my eye, and it is equally important.
The first thing I notice about this photo is the three stripes – water, wet sand and dry sand. I would be satisfied with it even if the ducks weren’t there. The fact that they are there adds an abstract effect with their ‘dots’ contrasting with the reflected lines of the tree trunks.
This was an attempt to photograph two Australian Grebes, but the reflection on the surface of the dam is what I have actually caught. Two white feathery bottoms in the centre just add a focal point.
This was one of the first photographs of an orchid that I saw as both art and plant identification material. The clarity of the flower is set against the natural floor of the bushland. Luckily, the background is as interesting as the foreground.
Scented Sundew plants are naturally interesting in form and colour. I don’t need to do anything to make them appear more interesting. The sticky red spines, to catch insects, contrast with the pure, smooth, white of the flower. Nature provides the frame with fallen twigs – these were not arranged, I simply photographed them where they had fallen.
There is so much I love about this photograph – the way the light picks out a cross formed by bark and grass, the deep brown of the background and the texture contrast between bark and grass. The fact that the butterfly stayed there long enough to be the focal point was just brilliant.
I view this as an abstract work. Tone, shade, colour, form – my eye ranges over the whole frame, not just the ant nests. Nature’s work of art.