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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

A Different Way Of Seeing

The other day I was out photographing some widflowers, specifically Columbine and Buttercups, in a local park. As I was composing my images, I couldn't help but get the feel that I had done this before. I don't mean taking these particular photographs of these particular flowers. In fact, I had never previously photographed either Columbine or Buttercups. But I had photographed using that particular style many times.....maximizing depth of field, looking for a nice close up composition, even a spritz of water for 'drama'......and I really felt that I wanted to try something different. I thought about the shoot wide open with selective focus technique, and, likewise, I have recently been doing more and more of that. Done well, both techniques can produce stunning images.

However, neither style satisfied my desire of the moment, which was to do something totally different; something that I hadn't done before. So I thought about what it was that really drew me to the flowers and made me want to stop and spend time with them. It wasn't so much their form (which was beuatiful) as it was their color. That was what I thought the essence of the scene was, at least for that moment. How could I isolate just that one attribute of the flower?

I decided to try something that was totally new or, more properly, something that was totally new for me. Why not 'defocus' the lens until the flower's color was broken down to its most basic level. Eschew form and convey color.

"Buttercups"
Copyright Howard Grill


"Columbine"
Copyright Howard Grill

Does it work? Honestly, I am not really sure it matters. I think it is a good exercise to 'break loose' every so often and break convention, or at least the conventions that one has adapted for his or her self. In this case, I feel the process was more important than the actual results.

That said, I am intrigued with the images. My first reaction was that it was too simple and that anyone could simply defocus and fire away willy nilly. But then I realized that, like most things that sound simple, getting really good results takes a lot more effort than is apparent on the surface. This idea is something that I plan to at least 'play around' with some more. I think with more experimentation and effort some pleasing compositions can be had. It is too bad the wildflower season here is rapidly fading away.