Photography Less Ordinary Time Capsule Result

Last Friday, I set a challenge: take a time-specific photograph and contribute it to the new Photography Less Ordinary Flickr group. Not including myself, 12 members of the group decided to take up the challenge. Here they all are along with the photographers’ descriptions.

Red Bottle Brush by Rosa Say
Red Bottle Brush
“I stepped outside to take a few snapshots during a morning writing break, and then decided on this one for my timecapsule entry for Photography Less Ordinary, a challenge wherein our Mea Ho‘okipa Amy Palko asked us to help celebrate the group’s launch and all our fabulous members’ efforts
to date! 75 members in less than a month is quite impressive, don’t you think? I am quite sure it is the Aloha shared, a spirited energy which this blossom reminds me of, with the individual florets adding to the magnificence of the whole :)”

Sproutlings by codyrockx
“I chose this one for the timecapsule project, cause it’s going to be a freakin’ long time for those things to get to full growth. Likewise it’s going to take even longer to heal the scars we’ve left on the Earth.”

Sunset at Half Moon Bay State Beach by TheMuseCalliope
Sunset at Half Moon Bay State Beach
“After dinner tonight (1 June 2008), we hurried to Half Moon Bay State Beach to photograph the sunset. We arrived just in time and stayed until the sun was completely down. Maybe it’s just me, but I love to watch the sun boiling into the sea. I am adding this photo to the timecapsule at “Photography Less Ordinary” as it is a time-specific event (sunset) and because I have been photographing sunsets since I first got a camera. It seems fitting somehow.”

Train on the Move by wonderwebby
train on the move
“a moment in time…I missed the train, but not too late to take a photo
It’s that split second when you decide whether to get irritated, or make the most of a moment – matters :)”

110 Years by ¿Nick?
110 Years
“Close-up of the badge on a Heidelberg lithographic printing press. Taken with a Polaroid SX-70 Sonar from Scanned and reproduced loyally with no post-production.
Submitted under the timecapsule meme in the Photography Less Ordinary group in honour of the concept of a time capsule: a reminder that the great ideas and hard work we give freely today can still make ripples and change lives over one hundred years later. (Added bonus: we’re all a lot younger than we feel!)”

Behind the Chestnutblossom by kleine gelbe Ente
Behind the Chestnutblossom
“I submit this to the “Photography Less Ordinary” timecapsule. Nothing captures time and the flow of time as well as those spring blooms on the trees. Already small fruit are forming. I went back to this place last week ( this is what the flowers look like now. I will go back later this month as well to see how the fruit develop. I hope it will give a nice series at the end of summer/fall.”

The Moment of the Setting Sun by bobsee
the moment of the setting sun
“Sunset, May 31st………the END of May 2008
This is the moment, the present moment, that time we call sunset, and as the sun sinks behind the mountains, it throws up a final farewell flare. I’ve never seen it do that before. Not behind these particular hills. The unexpected, the unpredicted, how it jumps up and grabs our attention, demands we pull ourselves right out of the dreams and worries about the future, right out of the memories and reveries of the past, and just for this brief moment, we are reminded that the present is sliding past our eyes, so maybe, just maybe, it would be good to open them.”

Port of Leith by Joanna Young
Port Of Leith
“I’ve chosen this picture as my contribution to the Photography Less Ordinary Time Capsule
I like the picture – I can even imagine it up on my wall with a frame (and as Rosa says it’s even better in large size).
It’s marked in time because:
It was taken on the last Saturday in May
It was the start of the Leith Festival, so the bars and cafes at the port were heaving with people
It was a gloriously sunny day, probably the best we’ve had so far this year
It was the end of an 8 mile walk: I walked from my house (SW Edinburgh) to Leith (NE) along the canal and then the Water of Leith: by water and green spaces all the way.
I always remember the days, times, and moments of walks: the thoughts, feelings, ideas, pieces of writing that start to form in my head at particular points in a walk. Taking photos adds to that: fixes them, lodges them somehow
Leith is a place that holds mixed emotions for me: I worked in Leith at the Scottish civil service for 9 years more or less, with some very good times and some very not so good times. Getting ready to leave Edinburgh for the west coast requires looking back on some of them and revisiting old haunts, and saying some goodbyes. This picture represents some of that (for me)
Last but not least: doesn’t the city look stunning? I’d like something to go into this time capsule that showed other people what a wonderful place Scotland is, and that the sun does shine… sometimes! And when it does, there’s nowhere to beat it.
Thanks for the invitation Amy, and I hope you can find room for this in the time capsule.”

A Different View by sunbeam_daisy
A Different View
“I took this yesterday and have chosen it as my image for the time capsule because it represents Spring and because it’s taken from a different perspective. The Photography Less Ordinary group have inspired me to look at things differently … so this is to you all, with huge thanks!”

Graduating by ballerinagirl
“In a little over a week, I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. It’s been a long, difficult journey, with both great events (meeting Son) and some not so great ones (my car accident, Patrick’s cancer, my dad’s cancer). I’m so excited to be done… now it’s time for the rest of my life to begin!
I took this picture for Photography Less Ordinary’s time capsule project. It was taken today, June 4th, after I picked up my cap and gown!”

Autumn by a memory forever
“Autumn is my favourite season of the year. I love the amazing colours, how the leave crackle under your feet and how the colours glisten after a rain.
31st May 2008”

A Happy Start to the Day by my whimsy
A happy start to the day
“Morning treat. June 4, 2008.
For Photography Less Ordinary time capsule.”

And, finally, here’s my own contribution:

All by Myself by amypalko

All By Myself
“This is my contribution to the time capsule.
It was taken on Sunday morning, when my youngest learned to ride his two-wheeler bike without stabilisers. We started out slowly and painfully (24 bruises altogether!) but he is one determined wee soul, and ultimately he succeeded. To say that his mummy is proud of him is to vastly understate the obvious!
This photograph captures such a lovely moment and one which, I suspect, signals his transition to a stage of greater freedom and independence. He knows his mummy will always be there to clean up his grazes and scrapes as he travels along the bumpy path to adulthood, and with that knowledge, he moves forward determinedly and confidently.”

Well, that’s the first Photography Less Ordinary challenge over, and didn’t everyone excel themselves? A truly outstanding collection of photographs. Well done everyone!!

Update: I have received a couple more contributions to the time capsule. Enjoy!

South Station – New Info Signs by shersteve

South Station - New info signs

The new signs fond previously were over the intervening days in various stages of installation until finally last Thursday they were actually running test patterns. I was running for the train and was without my camera last week.
Yesterday there were tests being conducted. It sounds like the announcements will be automated and timed to deliver the text on the sign as the trains are called.
Today, I catch up to Amy Palko’s request for a time capsule picture, low and behold the signs were operational. My camera was ready this time.
Coincidence? No, destiny.”
Description taken from Steve’s 2 Cents

Garden Iris, A History Exposed by bo mackison

Garden Iris, A History Exposed

“An iris from stock that my grandfather grew when I was a young child, 50 years ago. It is a deep golden yellow and it’s mahogany markings are stunning. This is deep in the iris, at it’s very core. It grows only a few steps from the front door of my home, 300 miles from my hometown. I feel as if I have carried a bit of my heritage with me when I see the iris in bloom
This is a fitting entry for a time capsule, as it represents the origins of my love of gardening and nature – my grandfather and I spent hours together each day, out in the gardens. There I learned to tell the difference between a flower and a weed, to plant a seed and transplant a plant, and to reap the rewards of gardens – beautiful flowers, luscious vegetables, and a deep satisfaction with the beauty and gifts of nature..”


June 6, 2008. Photography. 13 comments.

An Island Exploration

On Friday night, we decided that we would go for an explore the following day. We opened up our Ordinance Survey maps – you know, the kind that unfold to enormous proportions and then rebel against being manipulated back to their original position – and started planning. After discounting a few places, we decided on heading back to Loch Lomond. Now you may remember, if you’ve been a reader here for a while, I visited Loch Lomond towards the end of last year, when the greenery was provided by coniferous trees only, bare branches jutted into view, and the low lying sun sank all too soon on that cold, frosty day. Loch Lomond, however, is actually renowned for its oak forests, and I wanted to see them in all their glory, not stripped of all leaves, naked and dormant.

After scanning our maps, we eventually spotted an island that seemed to have a boat link and chose that as our destination. It’s called Inchcailloch, and there is a woodland walk the whole way around it. We hired a boat to take us across the short stretch of water from Balmaha to the north jetty on Inchcailloch and began our trek.

The great thing about Inchcailloch is that there is so much to see and yet it only takes a couple of hours to walk all the way round. It was inhabited at one point, and there remains the foundations of a church and a graveyard with graves dating from 1600s to 1910. There are also lots of wildflowers, insects, deer and plantlife to identify, which certainly kept the kids occupied!

Anyway, here are some shots from the day. Enjoy!

Rope on a Boat

Balmaha Boats

Beach Life

A Good Place To Rest

Loch Lomond in Blue


Here Lies...

Where did you last go for an explore?  What did you find when you got there?

June 1, 2008. Environment, Photography. 15 comments.

Time Capsule: Flickr Group Project

Blushing Bride

It has been one whole week now since I launched the Flickr group, Photography Less Ordinary, and I have been blown away by just how many of you have embraced the project, and have been willing to get involved. In Monday’s post, I mentioned the possibility of some group projects, themes, treasure hunts etc. Well, I have decided to launch the first of those today. With 71 members currently, I’m hoping to get a pretty good turn out!

Ok, the details of the project are as follows: your mission, should you choose to accept it, (and I sincerely hope you will!) is to take a time-specific photograph and contribute it to the group by midnight (your time) next Wednesday (4th June).

Your photograph could relate to a specific season or you may choose to photograph an actual timepiece. You could contribute a photograph that includes the date in some innovative way, or you may decide to take a photo of a time-specific event. Or you could even capture and share a personal milestone, although perhaps not a milestone as major as the photographed one I’ve included in this post, which is me on my wedding day nearly 11 years ago. However, I would prefer that the photo you contribute is one taken during the course of the week, as it will form a part of a Photography Less Ordinary time capsule celebrating the group’s launch and all its fabulous members’ efforts to date!

A few technicalities:

  1. If you are not a member of the Flickr group, but you would like to be, add me as a contact, and you will be sent an invite.
  2. Your photograph should be time-specific in some way.
  3. Preferably, your photograph will have been taken between the 30th May and the 4th June.
  4. When contributing a photograph to this project, please include timecapsule as a Flickr tag, to make it easy for all contributions to be collated. Please ensure that you enter the tag exactly as I have here, all one word, otherwise your entry may get lost!
  5. Add a description giving details of your photograph including the date it was taken and why you have chosen to submit it to the time capsule.
  6. Submit your photo to the group by midnight (your time) on Wednesday (4th June) to ensure your photo’s inclusion in the round-up post.
  7. Have fun!

I plan to write the round-up post, the format of which will be dependent upon how many entries the group receives, by next Friday (6th June).

Please do give it a go! In particular, if you are one of the members who has yet to contribute a photograph to the group’s pool, why not use this as a good excuse to give it a go. If you are unsure about any of the technicalities of contributing a photo, send me a Flickr Mail, and I’ll talk you through it. Some of our less confident members have already plucked up the courage to share a photo with the group, and have been greatly encouraged by the supportive feedback received.

Your photo does not have to be perfect – it just has to be yours!

How are you enjoying Photography Less Ordinary so far? Do you have any suggestions for future projects? Do you have any suggestions for the group overall? All feedback will be greatly appreciated!

May 30, 2008. Creativity, Photography. 11 comments.

Budding Promise

Poppy Bud

The bud contains all, locked up tight. Its thick green coverings hiding from view what lies within. It is not until the bud begins to open that the colour of the bloom begins to reveal itself, and the falling away of verdant shroud quickly follows. What remains is petal after petal of soft satin loveliness, peach-pink and smooth to the touch. The promise of the bud has been fulfilled.

Pink Poppy 4

Pink Poppy 3

Pink Poppy 2

It makes me think about the promise that each of us holds, locked up tight within our wildest dreams, our most audacious imaginings, our most closely held ambitions,  just waiting for the right conditions to flourish into radiant glory.

What promise have you seen fulfilled recently?  Have you personally found an opportunity to grow and shake loose your luminous petals?  Or perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to watch a friend, child, colleague, partner blossom within a nurturing environment?  How do you help others to flourish?

May 28, 2008. Environment, Inspiration, Photography. 18 comments.

Flickr Group Update

Hedgerow Flower

After a spectacularly busy weekend, I thought I’d give a quick update on how the Flickr group, Photography Less Ordinary, is getting on.

To date there are 60 members, 30 photographs in the photopool and 3 active discussions. I am so pleased how enthusiastically so many have embraced this extension of the Lives Less Ordinary community! It has been just wonderful to watch as the photos are contributed, the membership grows and the conversation flows.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have already joined and lent your support to the group 🙂

If you haven’t joined yet, and you would like to, check out this post and then add me as a Flickr contact.  I will send an invite to all those who do so.  Why don’t you come on over, and check it out!

Have you joined yet?  How are you enjoying it so far?  Do you have any suggestions future Photography Less Ordinary projects?  Themes? Scavenger hunts? Challenges?

P.S. If you click through to view the above flower photo on Flickr you can read more about it and the editing process used to produce it.

May 26, 2008. Photography. 8 comments.

The Fire of Images: An Announcement

White Puddleduck

This is the 5th post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Over the last week, we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, but there’s one last thing that I want to write about by way of conclusion to this series: Flickr. I’ve mentioned Flickr quite a few times, as I think it’s important to share your creativity. The creative acts of taking the photograph and editing it naturally lead to the inviting of others to share what you have produced.

Now I’m still very much a learner when it comes to Flickr. I’ve been using it for a while now, but I don’t use it as intensively as some. What I’d like to do in this post, however, is share a few pointers that I’ve picked up, to help you get the most out of your Flickr account, as well as flagging up a few areas that I need to do some more work on, because I really do see great potential in them.

  • Tags: This is only something that I’ve started doing in the last 4 months or so, but it has completely changed the way I use my account. It was recommended to me by someone to use tags to increase my visibility on Flickr and to attract more people to my photos. However, what I’ve discovered is, that by using tags, I can find my own photos a whole lot easier. It’s made them searchable, thereby making them useable for integration into blog posts. When writing the 4th post in this series, in which I used many of my Flickr pictures, using the tags to search within my own photostream reduced the amount of time I had to spend trawling through all my images looking for something appropriate. If you are going to start using your own pictures in your blog posts, tagging is essential.
  • Descriptions: I’m afraid this is one that I still don’t make full use of. What I have started to do though, and which has had a surprising effect, is that, when I include an image from my photostream in one of my blog posts here, I add a link to the post in the description of the image. What I’m finding is that people are clicking on that link and arriving at the blog to read more. It’s become a source of traffic that is very easy for me to maintain, and is completely organic, in that, the person clicking through has already connected with me through my shared perspective.
  • Contacts: Of course, it’s not all just about you sharing your own perspective; it’s about accepting invitations to share the perspective of others too. I connect with many people online: through this blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. But it is through Flickr that I visually connect with their perspective, and that to me is a very special thing indeed. By connecting through Flickr and visiting others’ photostreams, you get to peek through a window into their world, their environment, but more than that, you get to see the way they see things – a way which is necessarily unique to them and to them alone.
  • Comments: I love getting comments on my Flickr account. To know that someone has engaged with one of my images to the extent that they have felt moved to comment is just the best feeling. Just like when I write here, and my wonderful community chooses to respond, it gives a sense of connection, of validation, of purpose. Comments strengthen a community – without a range of voices a blog or a Flickr account just becomes a soapbox. Strengthen the Flickr community by lending your own voice to the conversation.
  • Favourites: This is another function on Flickr that I don’t use as often as I should, but that I want to investigate further. I know that when one of my photos is favourited by another Flickr member, I get the same positive feelings that I do from a comment. What I want to try and do with my future Flickr use is to make sure I share those positive feelings with other Flickr members, but most particularly with my Flickr contacts. I’m going to be making a point of favouriting a lot more often!
  • Groups: For a long time now, I haven’t really understood how to get the best out of groups on Flickr. I’ve joined quite a few, most of them with a Scottish emphasis, but rarely do my contributions receive much attention. However, all this is about to change…


I am launching my own Flickr group, which will be affiliated to Lives Less Ordinary, and I want you to join me there. The group is called Photography Less Ordinary, and to learn more about it, here’s the group description:

Do you want to gain confidence in your photography? Do you want to share the specialness that you see in the everyday? Do you want to embrace your creativity?

Over at my blog, Lives Less Ordinary, I share my conscious engagement with my environment through photographs and reflective thought, in order to show that beauty surrounds us all.

I’ve set up this group so that readers of the blog can share their own unique perspective with the rest of the community. It would be great if you could give a brief description along with your photo: where you were at the time, why you took the photo, what you like about it. If you choose to include your photo in a blog post, you can include your link in the description as well. Flickr accepts some html in the photo descriptions.

It is my hope that, if nothing else, this group will inspire you to pick up your camera and start experimenting with photography.

Ok, so the plan is to provide an extra space for my community here to get to know each other better, to form firm friendships, to find support for their photographic endeavours, as well as providing a space where we can share in each others perspectives, revel in the specialness another member has invited us to appreciate, and embrace the immense diversity of our environments.

The group is by invite only, so in the first instance I am going to send invites to every one of my current contacts on Flickr. If you do not have a Flickr account, but you would like to be involved, you can head over and sign up for a free account, and then click here, which will take you to my Flickr profile, where you can add me as a contact. Any new contacts that I receive will be sent an invite to join Photography Less Ordinary.

I have restricted the number of photos you can contribute to 5 per week, so choose the ones you are most proud of and add them to the group. I’ve started a discussion thread where you can introduce yourself, which I strongly recommend, and I hope to have a variety of discussions on the go there soon. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you to comment and favourite generously on the group photos. I want it to be a place which nurtures and supports and, as I’ve already said here, commenting and favouriting can do both of these things wonderfully well.

Do you have any Flickr pointers that you would like to add here? Is there something that you would like to explore further through Flickr?

Oh, and most importantly, will I see you over at Photography Less Ordinary?

May 23, 2008. Photography. 21 comments.

The Fire of Images – Some Practical Tips

White Blooms

This is the 4th post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

The intention of this post is not to give you expert advice, but to share a few practical photography tips that I’ve picked up, and what works well for me. This is by no means a definitive list – after all there are whole blogs dedicated to this subject! However, it is my hope that by following a few of these suggestions, you’ll gain enough confidence in your photos to start actively sharing them through sites such as Flickr. So, without further ado:

  • Cultivating a Photographer’s Eye: So, you’ve started carrying your camera with you, but what to photograph? Well, there are a few things that I look for specifically when out taking photos: colour, perspective, pattern, texture, balance, light, and detail.

Colour: One of the reasons why I don’t take many black and white shots is that I just love colour. My eye is attracted to it, and when I find a profusion of pink or an abundance of aqua, I just can’t help but take a photo. But it’s not just focusing in on one colour; it’s also having the courage to include colour where it adds interest. Bright splashes can really elevate an image!

Perspective: When you compose a photo with an emphasis on perspective, it can really add depth to your image. Taking photographs of roads, paths, lines of trees, waterways etc. can lead the eye through the picture, giving the feeling that you, the viewer, are participating within the image itself.

Pattern: Look out for repetitions as these naturally intrigue. When we regard an image which contains the same objects repeated over and over, we stop looking at the objects and we begin to appreciate their shape, their form. Also, when photographing patterns, remember the golden rule of 3 – groupings of 3, for some reason, always appear pleasing to the eye.

Texture: Photographs which capture texture make me want to put my hand through the surface and touch the rough rock, the satiny petals, the tickley grass, the smooth pebbles. Sometimes, just by paying attention to the variations in the surface of objects you can get wonderful effects. One of my favourite shots does this by including 4 different layers, pebbles, sand, sea and sky, thus combining texture with perspective.

Balance: I suppose out of all these points, this one, along with perspective, most directly tackles issues of composition. When I take a shot, particularly of the landscape, I like to achieve some sense of balance. Often this is achieved through some form of repetition, although not as emphasised as you would find in a pattern. One of the most obvious ways to find balance in a shot is to take a picture of a reflection, but other ways include ensuring equal measures of land/water and sky, foreground and background, or of two contrasting colours. I realise this one sounds more complicated than it is, but it really rewards with great pictures!

Light: This can make or break a good shot. Sometimes, when you are out and about, you’ll find that the quality of light is just magical. It’s at times like this that you need to suppress the flash on your camera, or you may miss out on what made the image special in the first place. Another point that I want to make about light is related to shadows – they can make extremely interesting subjects for photos, but, when you’re focusing on something other than a shadow, make sure that you are not standing/squatting in your own light, and therefore casting your own shadow over your subject. This may sound silly, but I don’t know how many good shots I’ve lost out on because I made this exact mistake!

Detail: They do say that the devil is in the detail, but I only ever find delight! Read on for more on how to get the best out of getting up close…

  • Getting Up Close: The fibres in fabric, the stamens of flowers, the barbs of a feather all provide fascinating subjects for a photograph, but in order to do them any justice at all, you are going to have to get acquainted with the macro setting on your camera. Normally this will be indicated on your camera with a flower icon, although I would like to encourage you to use the macro setting for so much more than just flowers. To make the most of macro, you need to hold your camera close to your subject, and keep your fingers well away from the zoom-in function! On my camera, if I half press the button to take my shot, the camera shows me if I have my subject in focus, before I commit to the shot. I find this absolutely vital for taking good macro shots.
  • Know Your Camera: While the macro setting may be my favourite, I try not to neglect these other settings on my camera: action, landscape, text, portrait, sunset and night to name but a few. Using the optimum setting for any given shot will really improve your result. If I’m in doubt about which setting to choose, I tend to take one with the auto setting and then another one or two using the different settings on my camera. Afterwards, I load them all onto the computer and make an aesthetic judgment on which looks best, and then I use that as a learning experience when I am faced with a similar choice. This takes me to my main point in getting to know your camera – it is through experimentation that we learn. Allow yourself the freedom to play with your camera, its different settings, its options pertaining to the flash etc, and see what works and what doesn’t. In the age of digital photography, we no longer have to worry about the financial implications of experimenting and failing as we once did with photographic film. So do yourself a favour, take lots of photos and make the most of the options your camera presents you with. Bonus tip: I’ve found the action or sports setting works great with moving water shots!
  • Your Editing Suite, Your Play Room: Editing has fundamentally changed my photography. As I mentioned in part 2 of this series, I do process my pictures in order to achieve, not an accurate representation, but an insight into my perspective. The editing suite that I use is iPhoto, which comes with Apple Mac’s iLife. If, however, you use a pc, you may want to try an online editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop Express, which has now linked up with Flickr, making it easier to export your photos to your Flickr account. As I advised with your camera settings, give yourself the freedom and the time to experiment and play with your images. If you’re worried about spoiling them, make duplicate copies and play about to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that the original is safe and untampered with. My regular routine when it comes to editing is to rotate my shot (so I can see what I’m looking at!), and then crop it, keeping in mind the points I made about perspective and balance to attain an image that I’m happy with. Then I begin to experiment with brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and exposure. Normally I find that I make my images darker, with greater contrast, saturation and sharpness, and I ever so slightly lower my exposure. I am not for one minute recommending that you apply this process to all photos though! Experiment, investigate and play until you get the image you are happy with.

Now, I think I’ve gone on for quite enough here, but I hope that some of these tips will help towards increasing your confidence when having a go at taking your own photos, and for sharing them. In tomorrow’s post, which will be the last of the series, I will look a little more at sharing photos before making my announcement, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

I’d like to now turn the floor over to you: Have you found these tips to be valuable? What tips would you like to pass on to others? Do you know of any good blogs to find more photo tips?

May 22, 2008. Photography. 21 comments.

The Fire of Images: Why I Think You Should Take Photos

Tom Cottrell

This is the 3rd post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Setting my own personal reasons for embracing photography to one side, I would now like to explain why it is that I think you should be carrying your camera with you wherever you go.

Now this is possibly where a small, light, compact camera really comes into its own! I keep my camera ( a Fujifilm Finepix z100fd) in my bag or in my pocket ready to pull out and start taking pictures of whatever has caught my eye. As I explained in the first post of this series, I only started to do this back in August of last year, and in that time I have noticed a number of significant and extremely positive changes in my life. It really is such a simple adjustment to make, but just look at the benefits!

  • Increases Creativity – Taking photos and editing them is an act of creativity. Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist’s Way, suggests that one way to jump start personal creativity is to begin treating yourself to ‘artist dates’, which she describes as, ‘a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist’. Carrying your camera with you and taking photos of whatever catches your eye, automatically turns any outing into an artist’s date. You give yourself permission to be creative: to be a person who creates.
  • Heightens Awareness – A curious thing happens when you’re on the lookout for photographic opportunities – you start to find them wherever you look! That patch of scrub-land next to the bus stop? You know, the one you don’t normally look twice at? Well, when you have your camera at the ready you begin to realise that it is not an unremarkable tangle of weeds and dead grasses. It is, in fact, a cornucopia of interestingness.
  • Develops Curiosity – Following on the tail of ‘heightening awareness’, an interest in photography can lead you to ask a lot of questions. What’s at the end of that path over there? What does this look like up close? Where will I end up if I choose to turn left instead of right? Curiosity is one of those qualities that we are born with and we steadily lose if we’re not careful to cultivate it. Let photography reawaken your questioning self.
  • Opens Connection – What I am doing when I take a photograph and share it, either on the blog, on Twitpic, on Flickr, or personally with family and friends, is I’m offering up a point of connection. By engaging with my photographs you’re seeing the world the way I see it, you’re participating in my vision. When you post a photograph you’re providing a window on your world.
  • Appreciates Specialness – It doesn’t matter how many swans I take a photograph of, every single one of them is special. It doesn’t matter how many flowers I photograph, every one is unique. Since I started taking photos, my appreciation for the individuality, for the specialness, of everything I encounter has been enhanced tenfold. It is my belief that it is only by appreciating the special in others, that we can connect to, and celebrate, our own specialness, our own lives less ordinary.

If you already carry your camera with you wherever you go, do you agree with these benefits? Have you discovered other benefits?

If you don’t carry your camera with you, but you intend to, what benefits do you hope to find? Has this post convinced you to give it a go?

May 21, 2008. Photography. 20 comments.

The Fire of Images: Why I Continue To Take Photos

The Bronze Birds

This is the 2nd post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

I didn’t realise when I first began taking photos, uploading them onto Flickr and sharing them on this blog, that I would revolutionize the way I think of photographic images.

We all perceive things differently: the way I view, process and analyse the sights that greet me daily are necessarily different from the way you would if faced with the exact same sights, and vice versa. What I discovered was, that by sharing my photos, I was, in fact, sharing something far more personal, something unique to me – I was sharing my perspective.

Now, I think it may be important here to make a confession – the images that I share with you here have almost all undergone a small amount of editing: cropping, zooming, straightening, alterations in brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure and sharpness. I am not interested in trying to attain some impossible ideal of an ‘accurate’ representation, whatever that may be – I want to capture the world the way I see it.

Do you find sometimes that when you take a photograph of something really beautiful: a brilliant bloom, an entrancing waterfall, or a radiant sunset perhaps, and you see the result, you’re disappointed? That for some reason, it doesn’t look the way you saw it when you chose to focus your lens and photograph it, thus preserving it forever as a visual memory. I consider the process of editing to be an extension of the creative process that I undertake, in order to portray a scene the way that I originally perceived it.

I’ll explain a bit more about the editing process in part 4, but for now I just want to encourage you to start thinking about the images that you capture and share as invitations. Because, when you visit Lives Less Ordinary, you encounter many images and every one of them is an invitation; they are an invitation to see the world through my eyes, to engage with what I believe to be special and worthy of sharing.

They are an invitation to connect through a sharing of perspective.

Is this the way you think of your photographs? As invitations? As windows on another’s perspective? Also, do you edit your photos? What are your thoughts on the editing process? Please feel free to ask any questions that you have about editing, and I’ll do my best to integrate them into the practical tips post scheduled for Thursday.

May 20, 2008. Photography. 18 comments.

The Fire Of Images – Why I Started Taking Photos

The Fire of Images

This week I’m trying something a little different. Inspired by this fabulous quote carved into a flagstone outside Edinburgh’s Writer’s Museum, just off the Royal Mile, I’ve decided to post a photography series:

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Now this is not a series designed to intimidate or self-promote, rather it is a series to inspire, to support and to nurture. At the end of the week, I’ll be making a special announcement, so make sure you watch out for it. If you haven’t already subscribed, you might want to do so now!

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the 1st of 5 posts in my Fire of Images photography series:

Why I Started Taking Photos

If you were to count the number of photographs that I have included in the posts here at Lives Less Ordinary, you would discover that there are close to 1000 of my own. I am actually astonished at just how many images I have captured and shared here, as it was never my intention for this blog to become known for my photography!

When I began Lives Less Ordinary, I knew I wanted to create a space where I would enjoy spending time, and so I knew that I would need to integrate images that I personally found aesthetically pleasing. I began investigating using Flickr images, but quickly became confused by the copyright licenses. It soon became clear to me that using photos I had taken myself would be a much easier route.

And so I began carrying my camera with me whenever I went, and kick-started my love affair with photography. That was back in August 2007 – just 8 short months ago.

I’ve told you this story because I want you to know where I’m coming from on this. I’m not an expert – I’m an enthusiast. I’ve not attended photography classes and I don’t own a DSLR camera. This series is for people who are at the stage I was at last August: people who enjoy taking photos, and would like to share them, but who don’t feel that their captured images are worthy of gracing a blog post or being included in a Flickr photostream.

I do hope you’ll join me for the rest of the series. However, if you’re still not convinced that taking photographs is an activity worthy of your time and attention, hopefully tomorrow’s post will convince you otherwise, when I share why I continue to take photos.

Do you enjoy taking photos? How and why did you start taking them? Also please share any thoughts that come to you throughout the series about your personal experience of photography – they are all welcome here!

May 19, 2008. Photography, Uncategorized. 39 comments.

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