In 2015 I have embarked on a new creative adventure, the world of still life photography.
If you had told me a year ago I would even be considering it I would have told you, you were a bit crazy. My preference is for landscape and nature photography. I can take pictures of sunrises and sunsets, macro shots of flowers, bark, leaves, my Bailey Boy and more all day long.
Nature is beautiful, fascinating and a wonderful subject matter, so the thought of creating still life photography was a foreign concept to me.
This past fall I came across an article in my favorite magazine, Artful Blogging, on still life photography by Kim Klassen. Her style of shooting and her why of shooting changed my perspective on what this style of photography is and can be.
In 2015 she was going offer a couple of classes that caught my attention. One is called Be Still 52, a year-long class on creating still life images. In this class I would learn even more about my camera, how to create a still life photograph and then how to edit and change the mood and feel of an image in Lightroom. It sounded like a great place to start.
The 2nd class I signed up for is called The Studio. I wasn’t sure about it at first but the more I looked at it, the more it felt like a great fit. Kim’s goal for The Studio is to create a community of supportive artists of all different levels and experience that would support, encourage and motivate each other in their creative pursuits. Finding a community like this is hard and is the main reason I decided to enroll.
Both classes have been a wonderful experience. The creativity, the positivity, and the desire to learn more and improve our skills is a great community to be a part of. The added bonus for me is that by taking these classes I can be more intentional in my pursuit of a couple of my words for the year, Creativity and Simplify.
I have a long way to go, so much to learn, and skills to work on, but here is a short list what I am starting to learn and see already:
1) Slow Down.
As I have mentioned in a earlier post, 2015 started out with a bang and has not slowed down. The faster it gets the desire and need to slow down in some part of my life increases. The practice of creating still life images helps slow down my pace, slow down my brain, and allow me to focus on this one thing.
2) Creativity needs to be nurtured and cultivated.
Creativity may come naturally to some but even then creativity needs careful nurturing and support. If you don’t you will start to burn out, lose inspiration and motivation.
3) Time to create needs to be scheduled
If it doesn’t get on your calendar and kept as an appointment, it won’t get done. When you keep saying “when I have time” or “when I have a break” you will never, or at least rarely ever, create. When you do find the time, it won’t feel satisfactory and you won’t get the results you are looking for.
I know that I need to schedule time to create. This is an essential ingredient in nurturing and cultivating creativity.
4) Learning to see.
And I mean really see. We are all so busy, moving here an there, always headed towards the next thing on our list, that I think we have learned to glance only. Not look deep, see details, and find something new.
With still life photography I’m learning to see:
- Details, how small changes in a collection of objects can make a huge difference in the composition of an image.
- Light, watching how light plays with and works with the scene I have created.
I’m already starting to see how what I am learning in still life photography will help improve my landscape and nature photography.
There are times when life gets overwhelming, the to-do list is huge and you feel like you are frozen in place not sure what the next step should be. Start by focusing on what is right in front of you. Focus on the current task, go for a small win which will help you move on to the next item on your list.
My hobby is photography, it helps me be in the moment, to appreciate details, see beauty and to be inspired by the creativity of others. By cultivating and nurturing this side of me it impacts many different areas like my business, my emotional state, my stress levels, and how I feel about myself.
Your hobby or interest may be gardening, writing, hospitality, cooking, baking, or painting. I encourage you to pursue it, put time on your calendar to nurture your creativity, to give yourself the opportunity to focus and learn to see on a regular basis.
I think it will have an amazing impact on all of us in a very short period of time. Let’s check back once in a while and compare notes shall we?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.