Monday, October 4, 2010

No Need to Go Far

This week I had a talk with my husband about what direction my photography was headed. Maybe I should say he had a talk with me. He pointed out that I am not really promoting it, or going after it as aggressively as I have in the past. I think he wanted to know what I'm doing with it. Even after all the jobs I've had this summer it seems as though I haven't been working. Its weird how distant I feel from it.

After our talk I really needed to think about the things he said and search my own heart about where I am with this whole photography thing. I know I love it but I haven't been acting like it. Of course, I'm always grabbing my camera to catch a shot or record an important event. I've even been taking jobs and completing them and people have been happy with the results. I had to ask myself, "Am I happy with the results, or the process, or whatever it is that drives me on in this pursuit?"

This fall I have become a co-leader in a women's group at church. I love the women in my group and really have a burning passion for my studies and for the time I spend with my friends there. I have put my whole heart into this endeavor and set my passion for photography on a shelf somewhere. I really believe God gave me photography as a gift and after taking some time to sort out my thoughts on this I decided to spend the afternoon with my camera.

I wondered if other photographers go through this process. In any relationship we have ups and downs. As in any relationship we need to cultivate it by putting in time and working on our skills as a partner. So, that's what I did. I just went into my own yard and looked around. I looked high and low. I looked at the big stuff and at the tiny stuff. I looked into the shadows and into the light. I began to remember what I love about taking pictures. I love seeing the light, and how things change when it hits them in different places. I love shadows and secret places I only see when I'm crawling around on the ground looking through my lens.

So, I ask you this. When was the last time you went out and shot nothing, for no reason but to spend the day with your sweet little camera, just because you love it?

I will admit my neighbors may think I'm a loon after seeing me lying on the ground taking pictures of the grass, or bugs or dead flowers, but what else is new? It worked though, I remember now why I take pictures. I remember why I love light and being alone in the yard looking at the sweat beads inside my Sparkletts water bottle. Its because no one sees exactly what I see, or how I see it. I think that's why I love to look at other people's photography. For a small moment in time I see the world through another person's eyes and that to me is wonderful and amazing.

So, here is my yard through my eyes, enjoy.

I like to call these fire clouds because it seems to me
they usually show up over areas that are on fire. Where
I live we have major fires in the fall and I see these clouds
often this time of year.


Diamonds in the bottle

I really love the patterns shade and light leave in the ground.

I can't help myself, I like the broken stuff

This is actually my neighbor's yard. How much do you
love the contrast between the grass and bark?

This is what my house looks like when I'm lying upside down
at the bottom of my driveway.

My street

These flowers look pretty sweet dead or dying...
I hope you can see this one large

The following images are of a tiny space under my living room
window. The space is lit by the setting sun hitting the
window and lighting the ground below it. Cool. I was imagining
tiny houses here or a fairy or two, maybe it could happen.

I realize dead is not good but most of it is beautiful anyway.

I have to admit I usually get angry when I see this myrtle
tree because it was supposed to bloom pink. However,
today it becomes my favorite.

Babies soon to bloom

I love the little broken chrysalis shell on the dragonfly

Glass table top

Little kitty in a quiet shady spot.

Not only do I love light, but I love water and get stuck when the two of them collide. The sprinkler water began to look like melted metal sliding down the sidewalk. I had a hard time leaving this spot.

I've made myself a promise to go out at least one day a week and shoot nothing. I would love to have you join me. Just do it, just remember your love, and not just your job.


  1. I loved looking at your nothing pictures! My oldest walked up behind me, asked what I was looking at, and said "dang, she's good!" I agree :)

  2. Tina, That's Awesome! Thanks for the kind words and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tina, PS I loved your blog, darling!

  4. Hey Kelley, this is a great idea and one that I do - but not often enough. I think it is a way to blow away the cobwebs and just enjoy seeing something different for a change.

    I don't talk enough to my wife about my photography, maybe its time I had a chat.

    These are much much more than nothing pictures, I have nothing more to say...

    all the best

  5. Well, Noel, as I think you may have noticed, I talk about everything to anyone. I can't say if my husband is a fan of that but I do know he talks less about his "stuff" so maybe its a guy thing. I'm so glad to see you stopped by. Thanks for your comments!

    I will be shooting Tuesdays and Thursdays, if you'd like to come along it's just a short commute. ;-)

    Best wishes!

  6. Hey there Kelly. You're not loon. You should have seen some (nothing as good as yours) macro studies I did years ago in B&W of leaves and debris in my driveway. ;) Just for the texture and shades of light. Anyway, I love your work. These is an excellent example of both your technical prowess and the quality of your eye. I wish I was this good. Whatever you do with it... enjoy it. Life is too short not to enjoy your passions... the ones that cause time to suspend however briefly.

    On another subject I’ve been to the So. Cal Renaissance Pleasure Faire that I believe you were talking about. Ours are a bit more tame compared to that one, but still a great place for people watching and picture taking. I have a late 70′s era Canon AE-1 as well, and also another more recent SLR… and some digitals, though nothing professional in quality. You know I’m a fan of your work. (And your sisters… in Vegas if I remember right?) Anyway, thank you so much for dropping by! Have a great evening.


  7. "these is an excellent example"??? Sorry must be tired. I have at least mastered my native tongue... usually anyway. Have a night.

  8. Michael, Thanks so so much for stopping by and thank you for the very nice words. I'll sure pass it on to my sister too! I learned on a Canon AE-1 film camera from the 70's! I have a collection of old film cameras that I think I need to pull from my shelf and roll some film through.

    I, of course, love the idea of shooting leaves and debris on the driveway!

    You are tired because you are that Dad and after having numerous conversations with a small child all day it is any wonder any of us can speak let alone write!

    Many blessings to you and yours!

  9. Thanks, Kelley. Do run some film through those old cameras. Mine were hand-me-downs from my late father. The shutter is sticking on my favorite (the oldest AE-1) and I need to have it cleaned. Anyway, the family is all asleep, and so soon I will be as well. Have a great night, Kelley. Oh, and keep shooting.


  10. Kelley, wonderful series of images...really enjoyed looking through these and I quit fancy giving it a go myself now too :)

    You have such a great eye for composition, angles and content...keep it comin'!!!!

    All the very best to you and yours,

  11. @Michael, Thanks! Get that thing fixed and cleaned and go make some beautiful images to show us on your blog!

    @Glyn, I'm so happy you came by, and thank you for your kind words!
    I love the images you take on your "personal photo walks."

    All the best back, Kel

  12. Hi Kelley!
    I've found that has an artist this is something you will go through often. I will have 'dry' periods where I can do the work but the real drive just isn't there, or I just to seem to have no imagination or ideas. Just enjoying our medium isn't always enough and I've found that having some kind of end goal to work towards will keep me motivated. While painting is different than photography I think the creative process is very similar, especially when you decide to make it a career. I can share some of the things I've learned to always keep myself engaged and they may help.
    When I started taking art in college my very first instructor made all of us keep journals, and always have them with us. Has an artist you never know when you'll be struck by inspiration or come up with a great idea for a series. While having a camera makes this much easier for you I would still suggest a small journal you can keep with you. Mine was always full of photos, magazine clippings, notes, sketches, etc. You'd be surprised how many ideas you'll capture and retain that would have been otherwise fleeting.
    The next thing I think is very important and took me a long time to figure out is to always have personal goals and projects running, never just work. For years now I've had fairly consistent work (galleries, commissions, etc) but if that's all I did I would have given up a long time ago. I went through a big slump with my tattoo work for this exact reason. If you spend everyday doing what other people want you'll get disenchanted and it'll start to feel like just a job pretty quickly.
    I agree with Steve completely in that you should always have goals both personal and professional. Always be engaging yourself and challenging yourself. I'm constantly looking at other artists. Their technique, use of color and light, subject matter, etc. Basically, if I can make myself feel like I suck compared to others I get motivated pretty quick ;)
    Doing planned series' is always a great way to get inspired and stay motivated. My process is so involved now that I'll be working for a couple months on a project before I even start to actually paint. I like to plan everything out, like writing an outline for a novel, and let the idea grow and evolve before even starting.
    Collaborations are also always fun. Getting to work with someone else and bounce ideas back and forth is always exciting and motivating and forces you out of your comfort zone to try new things. I'm always up for some collab work, let me know, it'd be fun to see if we can mix paint and photography ;)
    In regards to promotion, the thing that always moves me is that once I have finished work I NEED feedback, good or bad, just something. Look at promotion as a way to not only get your work out there and generate business but I way to find where you fit in your field, and more importantly where others see you.
    So....Hopefully some of this nonsense helps, I tend to ramble when I write. We should discuss further with family and wine ;)

  13. Seriously Joey, that was some of the best feedback I've ever gotten. I have been trying to keep a note book to write down concepts and it really does help. You are dead on with everything you said and it is so encouraging to hear that some someone really understands what we go through in this battle of our own minds.

    With your permission I would like to blog this because I think it would be helpful to many.

    I am so down to collaborate!

    Looking forward to seeing you all soon! I know you love the field you are getting into but because I've spent my entire adult life there I think there will be this fantastical part of you that will be wasted in that desert. It has a way of killing off your creativity and beauty of things. Just make sure to make time to create.

    Again, thank you for your rich and wonderful advice and words of encouragement. All the best!

  14. Even taking photos of things in the back yard results in genius shots when you're doing it. You have an amazing eye and a wonderful gift for seeing the shot in the world before you put the camera to it. I get lucky once in a while but for you it's who you are and what you do. Keep shooting!