“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”
– Camille Pissarro
A student in my Digital Photography Made Simple course asked a most intelligent but difficult question during a recent Jerusalem workshop: How do I continue to be creative with subjects or locations I’ve photographed many times already?
Every artist, I think, faces this ongoing challenge of paving new ground over worn turf. How do we continue to look anew upon things we have contemplated many times already? After all, if it worked once before, why not see if there’s more water from that same well?
This week’s photograph illustrates two very useful approaches to overcoming creative doldrums and finding new ways to represent tried and true subjects. Call them mind and body calisthenics.
This is a photograph of part of a lupine flower, though not a typical rendering of the purple and magenta blossoms which joyfully color the Israeli landscape each spring. Instead, I allowed my mind and my eyes to drift past my expectations to seek out something new, something which if described to you with only words, you’d be suspect to consider photographing.
In this case, I had to pull my attention away from the bold color and the flowerhead which are always the center of attention when photographing wildflowers at their peak bloom. Whereas the ubiquitous, monotone leaves had been no more than an afterthought on previous visits to this glorious site, on this day, the beads of rain were the star attraction.
The second trick in stretching one’s creativity is getting out under varied and often adverse conditions, such as on a day when steady rain kept the landscape damp, dewy and altogether uninviting. I found a leaf stem balanced parallel to the ground, hirsute and gently cupped to hold perfect beads of water.
I had prepared for the weather, donning waterproof boots and a rain slicker and found old friends dressed anew and putting on quite a good show.
Wishing all of Am Yisrael a Chag Kasher U’Sameach! Happy Passover.
TECHNICAL DATA: Camera: Nikon D700, handheld, aperture priority exposure, matrix metering mode, f/4.5 at 1/320 sec., ISO 800. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 28-105 macro zoom at 85mm. Date: Feb. 15, 2015, 3:08 p.m. Location: Ela Valley, Central Israel.