Stepping Out of Box

Flowers and birds are created in such a vast variety and beauty that I am often down on my knee to try ing to capture every bit of fine detail. The more I dig in, the more I am obsessed. It is just so fascinating.
April rain does bring May flowers. They are popping left and right. The day is getting longer, but for the number of flowers blooming at the same time, I certainly don’t feel I am gaining more time in a day. Up to this day, most of my photos are still snapshots. Close-up flower shots require more concentration, time, and patience. I cannot quickly aim and click the shutter. My passion is nourishing my patience.
I can be hours into the shooting without thinking about time. By the time when I think about quitting, I can barely stand up and that paralyzed feeling lingers. Just this last week, I found out that two pairs of my jeans have holes in the knees… It dawned on me that I need a break, a break from single macro flower shots that have enslaved me since I had my macro lens. I have invested too much of my time on one aspect while there are whole wild world waiting for me to explore. Time for me to step out of the box.
And yet, flower season is on. I can not miss the opportunity to shoot flowers, but I need a change. Instead of one single flower to fill the frame, I want to bring in more and think more about composition and artistic aspects. On another note, I have also been tossing around the thought about painting. I have no talent for drawing or painting. That’s why I am taking pictures.  But I seem not to be able to let go of the thought of painting particularly now I am exploring Photoshop and its painting capability is quite amazing. Besides, my blog is about exploring something new or even something presumed impossible, why not just give it a try.  You just never know. Often times I looked back at my life, I realized how God has worked in my life and helped me to accomplish so much that I would otherwise never dream of it. I come to a conclusion: If God is willing, everything is possible.
So I watched a few tutorials and I began to play with the Brush in Photoshop. I think I can at least paint over the pictures I have taken. It won’t be the original oil painting or watercolor, but at least I can get a hang of it. I want to experiment with something new, something that I have never done it before.
Cinco de Mayo, a holiday to celebrate Mexico’s military victory in Puebla that both Americans and Mexicans celebrate, was just here. Thinking of Mexico, I first think about salsa and fiesta. I think about this spicy culture with loud Latin music and salsa dance at the fiesta. I envision confetti flying out of the piñata while children are cheerfully picking up fallen candies and toys.
Fiesta
They also remind me of my days sitting in the restaurant in South Beach, Miami watching the chef stirring a big pot (more like a large wok) of paella right in front of me while romantic Latin guitar music was playing in the background. People love to go out and have a drink after all-day work at the trade show, but I would rather play solo to enjoy the peace and ambiance.
I freshly remember that I just walked to Versace Mansion at South Beach to admire its fashioned architecture and owner’s glamour. The next thing I knew, Gianni Versace was murdered in front of his mansion which I just passed by a week earlier… I know I have good reasoning to enjoy life and do more, not less. I am retiring from working, not from having a life.
When I went back to the tulip farm this last time, I particularly locked my macro lens in the truck. When my favorite option is not an option, I started to pursue alternatives. I pointed my camera from all angles and made some unusual attempts and I had a great time. With an experimental mind, I picked up the brush, the digital version in Photoshop, and painted it. Oh, my goodness, I am painting. I have looked at this image multi times. It is out of the norm, but I like it. Isn’t that all about? If the picture is not intended for commercial purposes, what matters to the author is the most important.
Yielding
Scary but it is real. Photography is changing my life. I am taking it in whenever and whatever it comes. I am seeing the beauty and opportunities everywhere. I feel a new life just began and I am not living like a retiree.  Life is too precious, too versatile, and too fun for me to kick back and sit on the rocking chair… at least, not yet.
I was sitting on the dirt ground to take this shoot. Not as long as taking macro shots, but it was a while since I was pursuing different angles. When I was ready to get off the ground, I raised my camera and I spotted an older man’s face in the live view. He apparently had been watching and investigating my doing on the ground. I felt a bit silly and I heard, “did you finally get what you want?” I saw a pity on his face, and immediately it turned into a big smile.
Lilac Dream
I have made three attempts to plant lilac in my yard, but all failed. It is all because of the ‘residents’ in our neighborhood. They are called ‘deer’ (no ‘s’ for plurals).  The color and fragrance of lilac are such an attraction to me that I tried it the fourth time except that I had it fenced in this time.  The flowers bloomed last year for the first time and again this year in a bigger way.
The flowers are fairly small. I ended up having to use my macro lens again, but my focus is not on one single flower. I thought to try Focus Stacking to make all flowers tack sharp, then I decided that is not my taste. I still like the dreamy and soft look. I believe all image needs to have a focal point. Everything we do and everything we say need to have a point.
My physical adventure days will gradually be coming to an end, but I think I can still engage in my adventurous endeavor through a camera and a digital brush to fulfill the dream on my bucket list.  Creativity can be applied at a different level and can be expanded to all things for which only a human mind and exploration spirit are required. I am finding my satisfaction and joy here and that’s all that matters.

Painting over pictures must be easier than painting from scratch and by hand, but it still cannot be done without patience. I lack patience and I don’t have any painting experience. However, this is exactly why I am doing this exercise. I am impatient to paint slowly and thoroughly. On the other hand, I have a hard time standing imperfection. This will get really interesting to watch myself battling against patience and perfection. I am game regardless.

2 thoughts on “Stepping Out of Box

  1. Chris, your painting attempts are truly lovely. Keep at it! Are you using the power of photoshop layers. I am looking forward to where you go from here. I enjoy the insights you share from your experiences.

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