Still Learning To See


Since I posted the dew photographs last week, I’ve been thinking about the kind of  photographic discoveries (often “accidents”) that have informed my photography. The first time I saw dew like that the seeing just blew my mind. Really, I felt dizzy! Now I can look for similar  situations—and others with multiple light sources—and really work them for more than I ever imagined.

When I see images like this in my view finder, I just feel disconnected from normal reality. It is an exciting process, but literally I also have to keep my feet firmly planted or I'll end up in the water!

A similar mind expansion happened the first time I really saw reflections in water. Of course I’d looked at water many times before but I had never really seen it. Somehow isolating it in the viewfinder was an important difference but so was just letting go and seeing it as it was. After seeing came understanding, experimenting and then mastering certain techniques that are now part of my quiver.

I suspect it is similar to what a painter must feel having become accomplished with certain techniques and colors—there is “control” but also serendipity and discovery. Thankfully digital images allow me to make dozens and dozens of photographs and delete most (or all!) without a worry and, in the process, learn so much.

The following is some work I did last fall in Amsterdam, a city rich both with colors and canals full of ever-changing, rippled water, a goldmine for seeing and playing with light reflections. Interestingly I’ve also discovered there is a whole language available to describe and discuss reflections in water! More on that later. Words are not necessary here.

Blue sky, brick and, interestingly, window frames give this a distinct pattern. I like to think Mr. Picasso might have enjoyed this deconstruction of the reflected building!

Sharper light with clouds in a blue sky yield an entirely different look.

This entry was published on February 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm. It’s filed under Patterns, Reflections, Water and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Seeing

  1. juliastrimer on said:

    That first picture of the reflected building is simply amazing–and your blog is more and more reminding me of Marcel Proust’s famous quotation:

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    I used to tell my students we become what we focus on–and you share a truly awe-full sight. Thanks yet again–and enjoy meeting Liam!

  2. Deborah Leu on said:

    Fascinating! I love reflections, too, and have found just changing my view a bit can make a big difference in what I see.

    • Yes it does! We take this for granted when we are looking in the mirror brushing our teeth but, of course, the same laws of physics apply there too.There are many times when I cannot get the reflections to “do what I want them to do,” at least without laying belly up in the water,but that is part of the fun of it all: seeing what is possible rather than what is impossible. Thanks for your comments and support!

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