Sometimes It’s Just About Having Fun

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By Steve Russell

We each use our photography equipment in our own way.  We have different cameras, different lenses and different flash equipment.  More importantly are the different ways in which we approach the same or similar subject.  A few minutes browsing a site like Flickr.com can really bring that home.  Wouldn’t photography be boring if all that wasn’t true?

 Another truth in photography is regardless of how we approach a subject or what kind of equipment we use, in the end we are all trying to capture the awe inspiring, timeless, iconic image – the sailor kissing the nurse on Times Square that made the cover of Life magazine or the young woman with the incredible, soul penetrating eyes in Afghanistan that became one of the most famous National Geographic cover photos. 

Unfortunately, for some photographers, we allow the quest to capture the “perfect” image to engulf us and we forget that photography should be fun.  It should give us pleasure and relaxation.  Even professionals with deadlines to meet frequently pause to just have some fun with the camera.

 Last week, I decided to take time out from chasing the elusive “prefect” image and just have some fun with the camera – take some photos just for grins.  As the regular readers of BeyondMegapixels know, Tiffany announces a new photo challenge each month.  For October she presented two challenges – a theme challenge of autumn and a technical challenge of using flash.  Five days later she posted an article that presented four tips for photographing fall foliage.

 This is an awesome and colorful time of year, isn’t it?  An easy challenge, right?  Well, for some of you it is.  I’ve been to Vermont in October, the Tennessee mountains in the fall and in Colorado to see the aspens in their yellow splendor.  I’ve even been to Yosemite National Park in October to see the beautiful scenery there when it was wearing its own fall colors.  Thousands of incredible fall colored images there for the taking.  However, in central Florida we have mostly live oaks and palm trees.  The trees, the grass and almost everything else is green in October.  It’s also green in November, December, January, etc., unless some wayward cold front actually gets this far south and even then the trees are still green.

Fall foliage

 When I think of autumn this image and others similar to it come to mind.  So when I saw the October challenge I immediately dismissed it.  Not much I can do with that, I thought and moved on to other things.  Then on Saturday, my wife and I we were walking through the produce department of our favorite grocery store and came across one section that was loaded with gourds, winter squash, pumpkins, colorful corn and other items to be used mostly for seasonal home decorating.  When I saw all the color and texture the display offered, a light bulb clicked on over my head.  I started grabbing stuff and filling about half of the grocery basket.  (I won’t tell you what my wife said, but I did manage to get home with everything.)

 I have a next-door neighbor that used to be an art director and arranged subjects for commercial advertising photographers – items like food and wine among others.  Taking advantage of my good fortune on Sunday I set up a small “studio” in my garage and she came over to set up the arrangement.  I probably snapped a hundred photos from different angles and with different arrangements.  We had a blast.  I didn’t care how they came out.  I was experimenting and having fun.  We would rearrange the stuff and I would take more photos.  Then we’d talk about it, she would rearrange the display and I’d take more photos.  I think we spent at least a couple of hours playing around with the display, but the time flew by.  It was worth all the time we spent on it.

 As it turned out, I think I got some decent images as well.  So here is my effort for the October photo challenge.  Tiffany didn’t say that still life wasn’t allowed, plus I used a flash as well, so I met both the autumn and the flash challenge.

Autumn Still Life 5

Autumn Still LIfe 4

Autumn Still LIfe 3

Autumn Still Life 2

 So, there you are.  If you haven’t taken your camera out to just have some fun in a while, maybe it’s time to do so.

 I enjoy photography, that’s why I do it. If you are taking pictures you are not enjoying, don’t take them. If you are stuck behind the camera and would rather stop taking pictures and play; go play. – Anonymous

Photo Credits:
Fall Foliage slack12 on Flickr Commons
Autumn Color 2,3,4 &5 Steve Russell on Flickr

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  • Mssuzieq1

    Love it! Some of the best times I have had were just wandering and watching… you never know when you will come up or get a chance to create the perfect pic… Good job, love the multicolors and various shapes.

  • Tiffany

    EXCELLENT article, and a great point, Steve!!! Love your still life shots. So quintessential!

  • JTM

    Great composition and color in your autumn still life shots.