Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Life Photography Challenge


This month's photo challenge is all about still life photography. As I thought about what I might like to capture via my camera, my mind kept going back to the still life genre of painting that gained popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Each item in the arranged painting symbolized something about life and/or death.

I thought more than I snapped for this challenge. Background, objects, composition - so much ponder.


 I used a black velvet shawl as the background for this and the second photos. The lemons and mint are from my garden while the kitchen utensils tell of some sort of cooking going on. Will it be a sauce? Lemonade? Cookies or ?? This speaks of possibilities to me, as well as the appreciation of good tools - measuring spoons sent from my mother to Ecuador many years ago, a wooden reamer that is pleasant to hold, and sturdy metal measuring cups.


When I come home from a walk on the beach I empty my pockets. Sea glass, stones, and shells find their way into collections around the house. Here I added a 1960s vibe to the photo via Picasa edits to evoke the sense of time and constant motion of the sea needed to smooth the rough edges from sharp glass .


This one is my favourite. Last Sunday I wandered through my garden picking a few last flowers, a disparate bunch for certain. The vase is an old one from my mother-in-law, as are the autumn-themed teacups. I set the arrangement on a wooden chair in front of a window (to the right) and put my fabric cutting board behind it, wrong side showing. I added a paper texture to the photo with BeFunky. 

My first takes of this photo had the pumpkin on the other side of the flowers. It was bright, round and cheery. But when I switched positions, the pumpkin faded more into the background and the story came to me. Summer waning, still bright, with autumn, rich and full, waiting in the wings.

The Personal Photography Challenge is hosted by Donna of Cottage Days and Journeys. I'm learning a lot through the links she puts up and her encouragement. Thank you, Donna.

Technical notes - I used my new-ish Panasonic Lumix with the 12-45 mm lens on the Intelligent Auto Plus setting (I'm learning the manual settings, too, Donna) with natural light. 

As a foot note, while looking on line at still life art, I discovered Cornelius Gysbrechts, a 17th century Flemish painter. His trompe d'oeil (fool the eye) paintings look very much like some of today's multi-media art.

42 comments:

Vee said...

Stunning all! My favorite is the first. How exciting all the new people and ideas that bloggers discover when working on a post. Now I'm off to follow the link.

Sue Silva said...

Love the beach glass! Beautiful.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The vase of flowers is very beautiful and would make pretty note cards. Of course I LOVE the sea glass best...makes me think of happy times on the beach! Enjoy your weekend! Hugs!

Cheryl said...

Gorgeous, all! I love the stunning contrast in the first, as well as the items that you chose to photograph. They tell a personal story.

The last photo...I believe that is yourstory! And it is lovely!

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

I love the textures you have used. I'm going to take a look at the link now. Have a wonderful weekend x

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

I love the textures you have used. I'm going to take a look at the link now. Have a wonderful weekend x

cucki said...

It's so beautiful xxx

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Like them all /LOVE the last one..the flowers, lighting and that texture that you added. Quite lovely and it is absolutely perfect for this time of year...

happywonderer said...

Wonderful contributions for the challenge!

aimee said...

Wow! I really LOVE your first photo and it certainly does remind me of artwork from the past! Beautiful! BTW, I nominated you for a One Lovely Blog award as your blog always is quite lovely! Don't feel you have to follow all the usual rules as I know you're busy but feel free to copy the award to your blog or computer.
Blessings,
Aimee

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

Great pictures. I love that each one brings to mind its own story. I can't decide which is my favorite, though the one with the beach glass evokes the fondest memories for me.

Donna said...

I remember you telling me that this challenge got you thinking and shooting, LOL. It looks like all of that paid off because you did a splendid job. The color contrast in the first photo, between the yellow and free, is vibrant, especially with that luscious black velvet background. (BTW, it is one of the best backgrounds you can use for still life. And some yardage of it has been on my "must purchase" list for far too long!) The beach glass is fun. And the last one is my favorite too. You found that moving the various elements around can really change the mood and meaning of the overall composition. The pumpkin in the shadows was the perfect spot. Beautiful!

Thank you for your kind words, and I am always delighted to help you.

Donna said...

P.S. I love the link you provided! And I am glad to hear that you are experimenting with your camera off of auto mode. Here's a tip. 99% of what I shoot is on aperture priority, so I can control the depth of field. The other 1% is on speed priority (e.g., for wildlife).

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Great shots...all around!

Debby Ray said...

Wow...all are amazing! I'm glad I don't have to pick a favorite...I couldn't!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I love the different shots - not sure I could pick a favorite. I liked what you said about the last photo - it does look just like you described.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Beautiful photos for sure! You gave a lot of thought and that along with your creativity in composition yielded such lovely shots!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Really lovely!

I love the idea of the first one, what is being made with the lemons? The last one is my ultimate favorite, Autumn splendor.

Deanna

corwin letters said...

Great set of photos -- I like the collection of things with their meaning in the first one and the last one is beautiful in its lighting, It brings a feeling of peace, IT is, to me what I would call a "classic" still life. Would be fun to paint or draw that.

Dawna Motz said...

Your pictures are so clear and sharp Lorrie!! I see that you have a wooden charger in the last shot...we had those on each of the tables for Ben and Faith's wedding in August. Burlap and lace was a fun theme to decorate with. Keegan was an wonderful ring bearer for Ben...you can see some pictures on my blog,,,,the one just before the photo challenge one. :)

The Furry Gnome said...

Those are three excellent photos!

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Fabulous photographs Lorrie but the last one is a real stunner! Love that you have described your thought process for your compositions.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Excellent choices Lorrie. I do like the last one best too and agree the pumpkin appears nicer in the background than if it was in better light and stealing the show.

Jeanne said...

Very very nice! You put a lot of thought into this and really nailed it!

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Beautiful... I enjoyed not only the pictures but your thoughts on how you created each vignette.

Cristal @ Dapple Design said...

Lemon bars. That's what I thought when I saw your first photo. But, like you, that last one is my favorite. The light. fall theme. It really is reminiscent of the old still life paintings. Love it.

Marilyn said...

Lemons from your garden caught my attention. I am surprised since you are further north. Oh how I would love having lemons from the garden. I also would love that pile of sea glass, which I adore. the last photo is just plain wonderful. All three are so very good.

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Rettabug said...

Just lovely! You KNOW how much I like lemon & that shot makes me want to make a pie...TODAY!!

Pamela Gordon said...

Beautiful! I love the first one with the lemons and the contrast of white and yellow against the black background. The flower bouquet one is so pretty and I love sea glass. Very nice selections Lorrie. Enjoy the weekend.

bj said...

WOW....if you didn't hit this one out of the park, I don't know who did. These are WONDERFUL....that sea glass is out of this world beautiful...

Barb said...

You had me at the lemons! These are spectacular. Lemons are my favorite for so many reasons and I love the story you added regarding the composition of the third one.

Greatfull Dazee said...

I love ALL of your photos! But I want to say thank you for telling HOW you shot them. I am new to photography and had to google still life to even begin my journey. Thank you for sharing your photos! xxDazee

Poppy said...

Lorrie, I enjoyed reading about your process, what inspired you, and the effects that you utilized for each photo. Each photo is lovely, but I absolutely love the last image, for its rich, velvety texture, autumn hues and glowing ambiance.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Poppy

Kathy said...

Very beautiful in still life. I'd love to walk the ocean shores and collect sea glass. So very pretty.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary said...

Three beauties here Lorrie. The last one has to be my favorite for the lighting on the flowers - those white daisies - and the way the pumpkin is placed. Great job - hope you're enjoying that new camera.

In case I don't get back here in time - enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday on Monday.

Mary x

Maggie said...

I can tell how much thought you put into creating each of your still life settings, the story behind each one is so interesting but the first one with the lemons and kitchen utensils is my personal favourite.

doodles n daydreams said...

I love all of these. Thanks for sharing.

Diana

Donna said...

Nice mix of objects especially the first and last.

http://www.livingfromhappiness.com

Veralynne Malone said...

I love your shots....I am going to have to try some of the other edit programs...I only use Picasa right now...I truly love the last one..That would make a stunning portrait to hang!

Storybook Woods said...

Just beautiful. I love doing still life photos. They are little vignettes. Clarice

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

My immediate favourite was the tea cups and flowers!
But on second thoughts they all appeal and speak to me!
You have told a story with each one Lorrie and brought them all alive for me!
I was sorry to miss this one - pressures at work just now.....