Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Learning from Life's Experiences

I love to get up in the morning and see what Kat has to share with us; and in turn she "asks" us to think deeply about our personal journey. The cherry on top is reading what other photographers are sharing.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin

About two years ago, I was gifted with a terrific DSLR camera. It was unexpected. I was overwhelmed. I was very worried.

For as long as I can remember, I have taken gazillions of photos...just great pictures that bring back amazing memories, no more reason than that.

I was content. Or was I?

To face the challenge with nothing to fall back on, I gave my good point and shoot camera to our son. 
Suddenly taking photos became an ALL or NOTHING proposition. 

Nothing magical happens, unless I put in time and effort.
I am not gifted, nor have special talents, or even learn quickly.
It all takes time, thought, patience and effort.

Cloudy Days, Gray Days

For too many years I thought I couldn't take good photos if it wasn't sunny, a few lofty clouds were okay, but don't rain on my parade. How would I see colors, purely? How would I capture detail?

It took a lot of experimenting, and falling back on painting theory, but I now love to shoot on gray, inclement days.
You can make gray/overcast skies work for you, not against you.

In a canvas painting gray is used to advantage. Gray is a mixture of every color left on your palette. It can lean towards warm or cool, strong or weak, can have overtones of red or blue or green, etc.  It is an important part of a painter's palette. 
 Mix gray into any color and you change its values by toning it down...muting...making more monochromatic. 
Place gray next to a pure color and it "pops" that color.

The following photographs were taken on very gray, overcast day at the beach.
The surroundings were quickly neutralized, very monochromatic in feel. 

Patiently I waited, hoping the waning sun would peep through a bit, 
I wanted a spectacular sunset.
No blazing sunset, but a very serene photo with glimpses of blue, pink and yellow reflected in the pools of water.
Beautifully simple.

Here are neutral surroundings combined with heavy cloud cover, next to warm flesh tones and clothing. Gray creating a "pop" in color I would not have gotten on a super sunny day. You can tell how cloudy it was by the lack of strong shadows.

Wonderful reflections in the water, despite lack of sunlight. 

One can almost feel the chill and rain in the air. Very moody ambiance. Lovely way to focus upon the child, who is staring skyward in her own daydream.

The  focus of this photo are the kayaks. The primary colors are strong, bold and brilliant. No sun glare, no reflections or heavy cast shadows competing with pure color.
All thanks to an over cast sky.

Tomorrow we head for the Carolina 'mountains.'
 The foliage is sublime, we are told. 

Weather forecast tonight,
RAIN and SNOW in the higher elevations!!!!

I can "shrink" or "expand" to the challenge. 

Thanks for dropping by.  Sharon


  1. The raincoat, the seagulls. Love them. Great photos.

  2. Sharon,

    I love your photos, gray overcast sky and all. What a great lesson for all who reads this - that the soft diffused light of a cloudy day can really enhance an image.

  3. Thank you for sharing what you have learned. I will remember this as I am taking pictures. Each picture was so crisp and clear and I love the subtle colors. I also loved how the color of the kayaks really popped next to the gray of the day.
    Have a great time in the mountains. I can't wait to see the colors that mother nature will provide for your pictures.

  4. Wonderful post Sharon! Encouraging words, "I can shrink or expand to the challenge." You really have discovered the beauty of overcast skies. You have some wonderful shots in this post. You rose to the challenge - of your dSLR, of "less than perfect" conditions - and expanded your range. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I love stopping by your blog. Your description from a painter's POV is wonderful and I learn stuff. I love learning stuff.
    The beach shots are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Children setting the gulls in flight-yum. I don't mind shooting on cloudy days, infact I prefer it to harsh mid-day sun. I guess somewhere I realized that you can still get refletions, something I like to do. What I didn't know and now do thanks to you is about the color "pop", and your images show that well. Thank you for that! Another insight for the ol' tool kit.
    Happy trails on your visit. Here's to hoping for lots of color pops from those leaves.

  6. I love how you illustrated the "grey day" asset!

  7. Sharon, this really resonated with me: Nothing magical happens, unless I put in time and effort.
    I love your amazingly colorful "grey" images. Each and every one is beautiful, but I especially like the first one, so silvery grey, and the little yellow-slicker girl. Such joy in that photo, like she's about to take flight herself.

  8. Sharon, your photos illustrate your point about overcast days allowing colors to pop against their more monochrome backgrounds. I'll have to keep my eyes open for a cloudy day and try out some of the ideas you've presented here.

  9. I love this! I'm so glad you were gifted your DSLR. You do it proud and we are all the lucky recipients of your work. Our house is going to be a dark grey with a blue undertone. Wish you were near to help me pick the right color! I signed up for emails from her website but need to start participating once I am settled.

  10. i love dreary skies and grey images so moody and melancholy oh my i sound so depressed ha ha! the children on the beach are amazing what a great way to compliment the grey tones fantastic


Thank you for taking your time to drop by and leave a note. Warmly, Sharon