Calming by Flowers

Oregon is a photographer’s heaven. There are so many places to go for landscape photos and I have only touched a small portion of them.  I love to shoot birds and flowers. Birds and flowers can be occasionally included in a landscape photography shot, but then I have to carry more than one lens and my bird and flower shots will be mostly occasional snapshots that I have been trying to avoid. I really want to get good at certain areas and not swim among too many possibilities. I want to be focused. I love to learn, but I restrict myself to learning only what will benefit my favorite categories of photography.
I also consider classifying my categories, such as Oregon Life (what Oregonians do for leisure), Love for Birds, Flower Frenzy, Nature in Oregon, Travel Journals (all categories included), and something that I have been wanting to try more, Still Shots around the house. And, the last, certainly not the least, family portrait and event shots. One more, I am growing to like street photography but I would only do it whenever I am traveling, near or far.
Not a competitive person, I have not thought about entering a contest. I guess winners of the contest will obtain a fame tag on their names. I think I am a bit too far from that level of achievement. What I can do for myself is to come up with some projects to challenge myself.  In that case, I would call it Self-Projects.  If my weekly post fits in none of the categories, I will then can call it, Out of My mind, or something like that. Talking focus, but I seem not to be able to narrow down my categories. But. I am trying…
The weather has been gorgeous. I have a hard time going out without my camera. I took a walk yesterday without my camera due to serious back pain, but I regret almost immediately when I saw a pink patch of wheat grass wiggling in the wind.  This passion for photography seems to become an addiction or even a drug that I cannot live without.I am so dependent on my Android to keep track of my to-do and shopping list, my tasks, my schedules, my small and big ideas, and most importantly, for emergency needs. The moment when my phone is out of sight, I look for it and I don’t leave home without it. I was a little desperate this morning because I could not find my phone. I heard the Find My Phone app is one source for hackers, so I am not using it.  I need my husband to call me, but he was not answering my email.

Pondering on my retirement life, I realized that I am pursuing an artistic function while still struggling to ease away from the habit that has been deeply rooted in me from my years of career life. It will be a working progress for me to bring words like breath, calm, peace, and relax back to my daily dictionary. I need them and I want to begin my experiment to reach this goal. I gave myself a photo project: still shots with calm and soothing effects using the materials available at home.

Yellow roses from my garden, a book given by a precious friend that I love, a pink peony, a cushion pillow, and my coffee mug. Meanwhile, I control myself to use only one lens, my 50mm.

I don’t have a green thumb, but I happened to grow this yellow rose successfully.  I might not have a single piece of yellow apparel, but this yellow color will take your breath away. I sing Johnny Horton’s ‘Yellow Rose of Texas in my mind whenever I see my yellow roses. I love this song. In order to cut a few stems from the plant, I am often scratched and sometimes bled by its thick and nasty thorns, but the temptation is big that I still go for it.

I bought 4 peony plants from a hardware store two years ago from the sales rack and no tag was attached. This year they all bloomed nicely but three of them are the same color pink. I like the hint of its subtle fragrance. The soft pink petals touch your skin and melt your heart.  I however have not been able to take any images that I like. So used to close-up shots that I am always looking for details. Peony has dense layers and beautiful curves on the petals but no intricate details.
However, this gives me an opportunity to try something different. I blurred the background and softened the overall tone. Hope you can also take a nice inhale and breathe in its fragrance. Feeling rejuvenated and peaceful.

A cup of aromatic coffee in the morning is a treat, essential for me. Luxury is to enjoy breakfast at a European boutique hotel. Sitting by the window and looking out a manicured but natural garden. English bone china coffee cup/saucer with a dainty silver stir on the tidy and classy tablecloth. German pastry or Italian croissant with a tasty jam from the small jars. And, I like to crack the boiled egg with my silver spoon and enjoy it on the egg holder, a small bit at a time.

Things are quite different at home. In order to get my husband out of the door for work, I make breakfast, coffee, smoothies, and his lunch box. A sandwich or healthy veggie burritos are fast food in my eyes being an Asian. Though I used mostly leftovers from dinner, I make sure that there is new item of something else and cover all essential nutritions. If there is salad, I make it fresh in the morning. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed making the lunchbox look nice and yummy. A bit of work for me to joggle between breakfast and lunch, so instead of sipping from a fancy ceramic cup, I gobble down coffee from a mug, fast. I am usually drinking coffee while I am either frying an egg or toasting the bread. My mug is in motion. It is a 20+-year-old mug that I brought from California, the only survivor from a set of 3. I cherished it and wrapped it in peony petals.

It is sunny outside, but my house is mostly in the shade except for a couple of skylights in the kitchen and living area. These skylights are set in the vaulted ceiling. By the time when the light hits my subjects, it has been diluted and can only give a little wash to my images. My windows are mostly hidden behind the grown shrubs. I like to see the green and colors through the windows, so I leave it that way.  I placed this rose by the window with a bit of simmering bokeh behind. I toned down colors and shades when I was in the mood to seek calmness and tranquility. Really, I could even hear the fountain in our backyard…

I have to admit that I am getting a bit lazy recently to shoot flowers because there are ‘too’ (listen to that) many choices that I am a bit overwhelmed. I am also constantly (now you know why I need to stay more focused) shooting something else other than flowers. I intended to head out to shoot other subjects, but my misplaced phone kept me home and it eventually kept me calm and content. The purpose of this blog will be done if you can also feel the peace and serenity.

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