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back in the garden

A couple of weekends ago I attended a lecture by Freeman Patterson called “Gardening with What You Have“. It was loosely based on the idea that the best place to see and make photographs is wherever you are. I was reminded of something Freeman had written in one of his books which was if you only make photographs when you feel like it, you’ll never improve. So on Saturday I headed back into the garden–the Van Dusen Gardens–for just an hour to make some images. It felt really good to just get lost in everything around me and to see what I could photograph. Granted it is February which is probably the least attractive time to be making pictures in a garden but everywhere there are signs of spring and the promise of great photographs. For some reason this image reminds me of all my beardo friends, I’m not sure why 🙂

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24 Comments

  1. Radek Kozak
    February 7, 2011

    Love this one Sabrina ! Light and lines + abstract nature of it – all coming together in this frame. Not to mention cool hint of blue in the corner contrasting with the rest, beautiful

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 7, 2011

      Radek, I had a feeling you might enjoy this one 😉

  2. Mark Olwick
    February 7, 2011

    Absolutely love this. Even before I read the text I thought of Freeman.

    Well done, Sabrina!

    Mark

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 7, 2011

      Thanks Mark! If you haven’t met Freeman yet, I really hope you have a chance to because I am certain you’ll love him.

  3. Charlene
    February 7, 2011

    The beardos change colours with the seasons huh? 😉

    You must have a set of images with this one. Would love to see the rest of them. I wonder if they have the same feel to them.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 7, 2011

      There were others in the set. I’ll process them tonight and send you the smaller files. This one is of course my favourite.

  4. Chris Plante
    February 7, 2011

    GREAT photo with a whimsy soft texture! You challenged yourself this weekend and a wonderful photo was created.

    This post reminds me of another blog I recently read called “shoot anyway”. The writer was travelling in a car and was “shooting anyway”. They came away with some very nice blurry photo’s. It’s another case of breaking a rule but it works.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 8, 2011

      Thanks Chris. When the cherry blossoms make their entrance, we should head out together before you leave town again 🙂

  5. Earl Moore
    February 7, 2011

    Sabrina, if this is the results of a visit to the garden then I’d say it was a highly successful visit — lovely image! As always, I enjoy your writting and the thoughts it stirs.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 8, 2011

      Thanks Earl! It’s nice to see you here again.

  6. Ed
    February 7, 2011

    That’s a beautiful image. The movement is subtle and yet substantive. I feel like these kind of images are often your strongest abstracts, you must have a series of them by now, I seem to remember at least two others I’ve seen pop up here.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 8, 2011

      Well I do love to make these images, Ed! I think I might throw together a gallery with them as I do have a few. Last year I made a calendar with just abstracts so there are at least 12 right there.

  7. Jeffrey Chapman
    February 7, 2011

    Not to be too much of a contrarian, but I disagree with Patterson’s statement. I think one will learn much more when working with desire and passion. I actually think that one has to feel like it. At least I do.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      February 8, 2011

      I’ve been thinking about your remark, Jeffrey and I don’t disagree. If I recall what Freeman wrote, he was not speaking about degrees of learning, just learning in general. Maybe it was his version of the 10,000 hours or the first 10,000 photographs but I think his point was that to improve at the craft, we need to keep photographing.

      I do know that if I am passionate about something and it leads me to want make an image, that image is always stronger than one where I had little or no feelings.

    • Ray K
      February 8, 2011

      I am with Jeffery on this one. Key being desire and passion, just making images because someone said shoot 10,000 of them doesn’t gain anything. Trying to solve a problem or practice a technique should be for a reason. I don’t believe that learning will ‘stick’ unless it has purpose and is directed at something one feels is needed to say something.
      Shooting when you have a need to say something will always make more impact than just going out with a camera because you feel you are supposed to. Best way to improve is have something to say and then find the best way to say it, that may take a lot of images to get it done.

  8. Iza
    February 8, 2011

    I sometimes forget how much fun it is to take those blurry photograph where everything is about color, and which make viewer stop and think what it is… Nice job!

    Reply
  9. anita
    February 10, 2011

    love this one, Sabrina, the color and texture!
    Doesn’t this image lay to rest the debate about whether God is a man or woman? ..because if He were a “she,” I think there would be a plant that looks exactly like this one! 😉 ..interested to know more about how you accomplished this.

    I suspect that for Patterson, passion is a given, it probably goes without saying. But I am curious to know if you think work and passion are something like the chicken and the egg. Do you need passion before you get to work, or does getting to work making photographs “wherever you are” help develop/uncover passion and desire?

    Reply
  10. Monte Stevens
    February 10, 2011

    I’ll go along with Jeff and Ray. However, some of my favorite images have come from times when I took my camera for a walk with no expectations. I really like this image and not just because of the color. It sure speaks of motion, so much so, I can feel the wind on my face.

    Reply
  11. Eli R.
    February 11, 2011

    This is absolutely gorgeous, Sabrina. (Not to mention my two favorite colours…)

    Reply
  12. Matea Michelangeli
    February 12, 2011

    So whose beard is this one?
    Love the movement and colors! you should go to the gardens more often, even in February!

    Reply
  13. Looking for Passion
    March 7, 2011

    […] a recent post by Sabrina Henry–one of the photographers I’m mentoring–some questions were raised on […]

    Reply
  14. Sharon Barnes
    March 7, 2011

    LOVE IT!

    Reply
  15. Mark English
    April 1, 2011

    I’m late to to this discussion, so please forgive me for “barging in”… I just stumbled on this while “googling” to find an update on Freeman Patterson’s health (I understand he had a bit of a scare a year or so back).

    I have to respectfully disagree with Jeff and Ray (at reply 7, above), or at least suggest that they interpreted Patterson’s comments too narrowly.

    Is passion necessary to create great work, or does working constantly help you to find your passion? I think it is the latter. Working constantly, even when feeling uninspired forces you to work through the inevitable periods of creative blockage that we all experience. If you work constantly and thoughtfully, your skills in composing with good visual design and mastery of the mechanical issues of camera handling will eventually become second nature. And they must become second nature in order to do proper justice to that subject material about which you are truly passionate. This is just the “10,000 hours” that Sabrina mentions above.

    Seeing creatively requires practice… it’s often hard work, but through this hard work it can be learned and improved upon. Patterson suggests an exercise in developing creativity and vision that involves locking yourself in your bathroom with your camera, a single lens, and your tripod. The object is to create 36 or more different images using good visual design (this exercise is described in one his books from the “pre-digital era”). Try it. Believe me, it’s hard to find 36 unique and creative images in my bathroom, although yours may be different.

    I am also reminded of a story I read years ago… not sure if was the old “Modern Photography” or maybe “Photo Techniques”, but the author related a time when he had invited Andre Kertesz to a weekend away in his cabin. He awoke one morning to find Kertesz outside with his camera studying a pile of firewood, moving back and forth, shooting frame after frame, which to the author appeared to be of nothing particularly interesting. When he confronted Kertesz, asking him, “What on earth he could find interesting to shoot in a pile of firewood?”, Kertesz responded that he simply needed to exercise his “visual muscles” every day, “just to stay sharp”.

    Truth is I’m only 90% sure it was a story about Kertesz… it was along time ago. But the content of story is real, and it has resonated with me across three decades. Craft is a necessary precursor to creating great work. To become proficient at craft you have to work at it… even when it seems like the muse will not visit on that day. In many ways I think the muse, like “luck”, favours the prepared. And being prepared requires hard work and visual exercise everyday. Now, I’m not suggesting that you simply go out and shoot blindly; it’s important to think about visual design and use these principles every time you point a camera at something. It’s not important that the resulting images be portfolio grade, in fact you may end up dumping most of them after a quick review. It doesn’t matter.

    And what have you to lose? Time? Money? It costs you nothing incrementally in this digital age… a far cry from the final years of film, where E100SW topped out a $0.56 per frame developed and mounted here in Vancouver. As for time: any moment behind the camera is a moment savoured for me.

    Reply
  16. Mark English
    April 1, 2011

    Should clarify one thing: second sentence should read…” I think latter is an important and necessary precursor to the former.”

    Reply

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