Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hidden Beauty in Unexpected Places

When I'm off at school, I'm in an area that's hours away from home and familiar sights. When one normally thinks of new areas, they probably think of great new places to discover... Or at least, that's what I think of. However, the two hour trip from home to my school is nothing but acres of fields after acres of fields. Honestly, I've seen enough corn stalks to last me a lifetime. And the final destination itself is not much better. Compared to home, the sights around town aren't necessarily inspiring and breathtaking. But as time passed, and my school slowly became my second home, I've learned to appreciate the beauty of the small town. 

Even more than that, a friend of mine took me to a place I never thought would have existed. Next to the roaring train tracks and buildings that look like they've been abandoned, there was a secluded area that stuck out against the dreary scenery. There was a bright red building and the small land that surrounded it was filled with gardens and ponds and boulders of all shapes and sizes.  When I first saw it, it was at night and it was extremely peaceful. I could make out a the boulders and pond water slightly thanks to the bright starlight, but I wanted to come back in the daylight to be able to see more. My first thought  (after my primary shock that a beautiful place like this existed and my expectations were blown away) was that I have to photograph this place.

We didn't know what this place was (we later found that it was a small historical museum in honor of the old train station). We weren't even sure if being there and walking through the gravel paths was trespassing or not. Either which way, I wanted to photograph every inch of the place. Why would someone make such an alluring and marvellous natural exhibit if it was not meant to be seen or shared? That would be just selfish.

It just goes to show that beauty exists everywhere and in everything -you just have to know where to look and how to look.

When you look at a pond, don't just see 'a pond'. Within this pond, there are hundreds of individual things. There's the plants, the fish, the reflections, the water, the rocks, and so forth. Zoom in not only with your camera but with your own eyes.

Actually, I think the shadows plant makes is more captivating than the plant itself.

Algae? Ew? Not with the right light.

A little more broad of a picture, but it still focuses on the plants of the pond. The viewer doesn't have to see a lot of the pond to know there is a pond there.

A neat thing I like to do is take a picture from behind tree branches. I don't know how to exactly word it, but it adds a certain appeal to it. It's like you're peaking around yourself to see the beauty behind it.

It's also a good idea not only with tree branches, but also with rocks or anything else (besides peoples' heads). Provide layers in your pictures.

I really like how this picture adds height because I took the picture from the top looking down. It was only a foot drop, but it appears like a lot more.

A little mushroom on a hill.

When I saw this one, I instantly thought of a little smurf home.

Most people can describe what a mushroom looks like from the top and side. Many could even draw an example. But what about the underneath? Also, when the subject of a picture has a lot of texture, it's sometimes fun to play around with black & white filters. It really emphasizes it.

I thought this one was unique because the top of the mushroom pushed upwards.

I can't explain how much I love this picture. I focused in using the macro button (that little flower button on the camera) so the background was blurry. All the focus is on this flower (which I'm not sure what it is? Possibly even a weed or the remains of a flower?). But it looks so dark and dead, and the background has just the right amount of blue hue to add a gloomy and cold feeling.

Same thing, just closer.

A drooping flower that was once beautiful in full bloom. It's sad, really. On a side note, it's common to take pictures of flowers when they are in bloom, but it isn't bad to take one towards the end of the season when the flower is dying. Capture that part of life. 

Same picture, but I made it darker. Opinions? Better, worse, same?

I used the big leafy leaves as a background for the lilacs.

Black & white with color splash can add just the right emphasis.

These pestering weeds seem to pop up five minutes after you mow your grass. But if you're not a yard fanatic, take time to enjoy them. Dimming and blurring the background makes the weed leaves into a neat black and green background.

When I was in the middle of taking a picture of a flower, I realized there was a bee on the leaf. Then, I noticed there were multiple bees on the leaves. I was most likely by a hive. But I remained calm, I proceeded with taking a picture of the flower, then went on to take a picture of one of the bees. All while I did this, I moved very slowly and stealthily. This is a good practice and lesson for a photographer. Just because a photo is often called a "snapshot" doesn't mean it has to be taken fast and hastily. Take your time and focus. If you can take a great picture around a swarm of bees, you can take a great picture in any circumstance.

Spiral stone staircase. The texture in the granite is interesting enough alone.

A more broad picture of the staircase.  This was taken by getting in a higher up place and looking down. I have to confess, this picture was taken by friend who showed me this great place. (He's a little better at climbing up higher, and he's already got an advantage of being tall).

Randomly, the place had tonka trucks scattered around.  I laid down on the ground and angled the camera up to get this picture (if you plan on taking unique pictures, plan on getting in weird positions and angles. And while in the process, plan on getting weird looks from people passing by).

Another tonka truck.

I find the green against the white and grayish stones enjoyable.

Weeds are the unappreciated flower.

Prickly plant. Even though mostly everything in the picture is green, the spikey ball still sticks out. Also, notice the reflection of light on the leaves and some of the spikes.

Same prickly bud, different angle.

Also the same one, different angle. Take note of that. You can have one thing, but take a hundred pictures that look completely different. It all varies on angle, color, light, focus, etc.

This is rope on a rock that was sitting out on display. Making the photo black and white adds and old fashioned feel to it.

This was some type of plant that was growing in the pond. Add black and white and it adds a lot of light and dark value to it. It also brings out the texture which may have been ignored if in color.

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