At college my tutors were always asking me “What are you trying to say?” I had no idea what they were talking about back then. I wasn’t really trying to say anything… or so I thought! I just wanted to learn how to take better photographs. Gradually I began to understand what it was that they were getting at.
They wanted to know what made me tick. They asked me questions to make me think.
Why didn’t I want to produce dark, mysterious photos like my fellow students?
Why didn’t I want to produce clever intriguing pictures with a hidden meaning?
I firmly believe that whatever you focus on in life you get more of. So there was no way that I would ever be focusing on dark and dreary subjects… no matter what they said.
Finally I figured it out. I like things to be simple and straightforward. I like to see how things really are. I feel compelled to make everything I photograph look light and bright and beautiful. Because it is. I am fascinated by almost everything in the garden from the tiniest insect to the tallest tree.
The world is a beautiful place and this is the way I see things. I look closely at the details and I am always amazed. Each season it’s the same. I never tire of watching the fresh lime green leaves unfurl in spring, then bright blooms open wide for the summer and gradually fade to beige in autumn. Raindrops and frost add a touch of sparkle to me not dreariness.
That’s how I approach each blog post now. I take the photos that I need to illustrate the main point I want to make. These Helenium flowers are fading fast now. Some of the flowers have withered and seed heads are forming. From a distance it’s not clear exactly what’s going on here. It’s all a bit of a jumble so we need to focus on the detail I think.
In this case my message is… Look at these beautiful seed heads! It’s so easy to tidy up the garden too quickly after your plants have finished flowering. If you do cut them back now you may miss some wonderful things…
- The seeds will develop and as they ripen they gradually fade from dark brown to gold.
- Insects and spiders make their homes right inside the protective seed case or string their web from one dried stalk to another.
- Small mammals and birds eat the seeds. You probably won’t see mice and voles in the daytime but you will easily spot garden birds feeding.
When I took the photos of the Helenium seedheads I also took several very different shots of the same plants. So I could have selected a photo to say: Look at the way the sun lights up these Helenium flowers.
or Heleniums are brilliant for attracting beneficial insects like Hoverflies and Bees into your garden.
or even Heleniums look brilliant growing alongside bright pink Asters.
It’s up to us to take the pictures that we need to add weight to our words. Just by moving around one clump of Helenium flowers I was able to take all these images. Every direction I turned produced a completely unique shot, the light came from a different direction and the background colour changed too.
Do your photos help you to convey your message to the world? After all that’s why we blog isn’t it? I would be very interested to find out your views about the photos you take and the role they play on your site. So now it’s my turn to ask you a question. What are you trying to say?
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Gillian 🙂