Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ladies In White Dresses

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."

-Aaron Rose

While out with the camera lately, I have experiencing some wonderful lighting opportunities. Last week I was especially focused on playing with light because of our last Round Robin topic, "Morning, Noon and Night." Our assignment was to photograph an object as it moves through the different times of day. I chose to photograph a stationary object, and let the natural light of the sun illustrate how the object's appearance changed. It was a fun little challenge. I am constantly learning new things about creativity from those challenges, and the nice thing is that I think I have brought some new elements to my photography because of it.

Last Wednesday Alan and I visited the butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers, and again lighting and opportunity presented themselves. There was a nice variety of butterflies this past week, but the one that kept catching my eye was the Great Southern White. As they floated by, I kept seeing a slight pink to the wings, and then at times, I thought I was seeing a yellow to it. It is a fairly active butterfly, so it is at times a challenge to capture one sitting with it's wings open. But as I said in yesterday's entry about the Black Swallowtail, the underside of a butterfly often contains colors not seen when it's wings are fully open, so I just had to wait it out.

The conservatory is all windows. So, lots of light comes into the building on most days, accept for days when there is a lot of low clouds and fog. Last Wednesday was really hot, but there was a good bit of natural filtering through that inevitable fog. The ocean is just off the park, so on any given day, a cool breeze will bring it right on through. As I fixed my camera on the butterfly, the sun broke through the mist and a nice beam came down through the room, which caught the butterfly's wings in it's path. I was amazed at the opalescence of the closed wings. The wings which appeared all white when open, except for a thin line of gray/black on the tips, actually contained other colors as well, which are easier to see with it's wings closed. It was pleasant to be able to photograph her and all her colors.

A little later on, in another part of the park, I saw a young couple posing for their wedding photos. You see that a lot in Golden Gate Park, and at the various landmark areas in the city. I love having the opportunity to photograph these moments. The couples are always so happy. It's always a pleasant way to spend the day, and like with the butterflies, it's always a nice surprise to encounter one. I chose to photograph the bride in black and white to specifically avoid the ambient colors of her surroundings. I think the lack of color gives the photo an added feel of emotion. A beautiful simplicity. There is nothing to distract from the raw moment.

Both subjects, butterflies and candid moments, take some patience, but that is a good thing I think. I could take a photo of a stationary object and probably do okay with it, but I enjoy movement and natural energy of the butterflies, and the very limited time allowance that comes with finding a candid moment. Both conditions make me think on my feet, and that is a good thing because sometimes I just enjoy using instinct, as opposed to over thinking my creativity. Sometimes a better picture comes from looking beyond the immediate of the here and now, and into the possibility of what could be.

"Natural Beauty"
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
July, 2008


Mike said...

I don't know how you take such nice pictures! Mine are always out of focus and too light or dark. I blame the equipment. :)

Nancy said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours. It has every quality that I like....beautiful and special photography, a poetic description of the experience, and something that I relate to in a way that I cannot express.

Thank you for all of that.


Nancy said...

Are those butterflies KNOWN for looking like ladies in white dresses? It jumped right out at me, and seemed almost fake and fairylike (not that fairies are FAKE!)


MyMaracas said...

What a lovely, lovely post! Ladies in white dresses, indeed. The butterfly has so many subtle colors in its white wings, and the candid captures a unique moment. Beautiful!