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Be Still


Be Still.  One year ago I made a commitment to enter a photography course that would last a year...52 weeks to be exact. Think about that for a moment...52 weeks, 52 lessons.  Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. No time off for good behavior or great shots.   It's a long time.  It's a lot of work and thinking but here it is, a year later, and it has big payoffs.  I did the time, missed only a few lessons and I'm a better photographer today than I was last spring.

Still Life is not easy for me, well it's easier now than it was a year ago.  Truth is, I'm an outdoor photographer with a big splatter of everyday life tossed in.  I struggled with Still Life but I desperately wanted to learn it because I saw the beauty and delicacy in it.  I would travel through the roads of still life photo's of others and I started to notice a pattern of beauty.  It was the softness and light that I found so lovely, with such a Victorian feel to it.  I swear in another life I was European.  I saw china tea cups, lace, lavender and linen.  Then there were delicate flowers of all shades of the rainbow and such sweet pastels, like iceing on cake. Food dripping with texture so wonderful you could almost taste it.  Ladders, baskets, vases, strings and ribbons of various colors and textures...and light, it was always about the light. Morning light, late afternoon light, side light, back light, natural light of every kind.  Lastly there was bokeh, lucscious bokeh...where do you come from and how do I find your magic. 

I had already taken classes with Kim Klassen.  Beyond Layers and Start to Finish.  I belonged to Tuxture Tuesday so I was familiar with her style..her easy way of presenting an idea and then helping us to turn it into a reality.  So I was a Kim Klassen groupie.  Her textures, her presets, her spirit and passion, her dog Ben, it all drew me in and so when Be Still 52 came along, I was in.  I was worried how I would stay with it for a year, but I've always believed the easiest way to get something done is to Just Start...and so I did.

I can honestly say that this year has changed me in so many ways.  I trust myself and my decision's on my photography choices.  I learned that if I want it bad enough I can go after it.  Also, if something isn't hitting me on the head, I don't beat myself up trying to make it happen because when I do that, it never is authentic or rich.  I learned that change happens, both in people and in life but I don't let that change my vision or my goal.  I've also learned that textures are rich and pre-sets add character to a photo.   They are not for everyone but they are for still life.  Finally, during this year it also came home to me that sill life happens everywhere.  In the house, in a studio, in the forest and at the ocean.  Still life is created whenever we take the time to slow down, find our spark, set the scene and move around.  Only after taking the time to breath into the photo, that which we see in our head and our heart, can we then press the shutter and produce the image.  

So as this year of Be Still comes to an end...I am grateful for all I've learned.  I grateful for the friendships I've made and the photography that I have witnessed happening by others.  It is a gift to belong to a group of like minded people sharing a common creative endeavor, yet all moving along at their own pace and beauty. Sparks and inspiration come from community. Technique comes from a great teacher and for that, I am indebted to Kim Klassen for her passion for teaching and her easy flow of understanding.  For textures, pre-sets, videos and connection...she has made it feel easy, even when it wasn't...I also know that I will continue to be part of this community in some way.  Connections are important to me and for that reason I won't be far or gone for good.  

So Still Life, now is a part of who I am and what I love..adding it to the list of all my other photographic loves..and to my love of writing.   As I go forward I plan on expanding my love of the written word with my need for the peace that photography be still in the moment, viewing creation and critters in a natural enviroment, and also in a studio to create my still life.  To feel the joy of creativity.  I now think of myself as a heart photographer...and essayist.  Shooting and writing whatever moves me at any given moment...this is what a year of Be Still did for me... 

The air is molten,
Slow-moving and thick,
And filled with the heavy
Of white lilacs,
Like incense in the temple
Of the sun.
Memories float,
Seen through plate-glass
In people's souls.
Melodies lazily dance in
The summer sky,
Laughing notes that fall
Like trickling streams in
In singing
Crystal waterfalls
That wash away the
Dust of life.



The above photo is dedicated to Kim Klassen...Her love of Lilac's is well know...the photo was edited in LR and then into Photoshop CC for text...KK pre-set used was pastelhaze.

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Reader Comments (10)

yes my friend you've recapped the year so perfectly. I would love to write like you one day but the words just don't come to form. So I thank you for sharing. The creamy pale background on these lovely lilacs is stunning. I feel like I'm looking miles away but enjoying the beauty at hand. The year was such a good one and I came away with a satisfaction of accomplishment both in still photography and like you, with friendships. Next I should focus on a path for long term photography and come to grips with it. I'll let that stew over the summer while I'm basking in some warm sunshine and enjoying the summer breezes...with a good read under the pine tree or my camera in my hands...waiting for that light....and watching Teddy grow. 😉 he will need a portrait or two.

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly

Oh faithul friend, thank you for these kind words...and trust me, you write very nicely and from the heart also...when you care about someone or the subject it flows, sometimes faster than I can type...but the vision is what I hope people understand. It does seem a bit weird to not have a deadline to meet or the feeling of needing to catch I'll go into this week...doing mundane things in the house and then hopefully start to get some editing done and then some books...I am very far behind of "printing"...I know, you and I, will stay connected. It's a given. You were one of the sweet gifts from the past year...that in itself was worth the class...xoxo

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

I too am in the Be Still class but we are only in week 21. I have learned a lot also but actually end up doing a bunch of the classes all at once. I do like being able to go back and redo some. Still life is challenging but at the same time rewarding!

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Thomas

Thanks for visiting Liz and I totally agree...I took Be Still so I could step out of my comfort zone also. I have learned tons and so will you...just go at your own pace and you will be fine...I enjoy looking at your work also...

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Always such a pleasure to sit with you and your posts . . .
Am constantly in awe of your naturalness with words and your ability to just jump into situations with so much dedication and passion.
Love all your subjects . . . from nature to stills to travels to family to shopping sprees!
Thanks for all you share . . . always and all ways.
Love, Antoinette xo

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Jumping into the Be Still course with your head and heart and both feet and then sticking with it and finishing it is a wonderful accomplishment, as well as all the beautiful images you created along the way (like the lilacs above)! You seem to have endless passion for so many types of photography -- which I think is great -- and for encouraging and supporting others. And what confidence and assurance you have developed over these past years. A wonder to behold and very inspirational to many of us! Can't wait to see what you do next! xo

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

Absolutely gorgeous! I am slowly working my way through Be Still - I'm on week 12. Still life is so hard for me.

June 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpam (sidewalk shoes)

Such a beautiful light and airy image. I have learned so much in all of Kim's classes too. It is amazing to think how one person could teach us so much and bring so many people together. I also enjoy seeing what others have created in class and this in turn inspires me to create. Have a great day!

June 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B

This is so wonderful, Cheryl. I can hardly believe it was a year ago this began. I lasted for 4 weeks and then started getting very behind. I planned to catch up but I finally admitted that it's too much right now. So I'm focusing on other things besides photography but enjoying my time nonetheless. I do miss you though! I'm subscribing to your blog so I won't miss any more goodness. :)

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Beautiful photo and love the softness of it, it has mystery in its softness. For some reason you aren't appearing in my Feedly, so I have added you again. I hate it when little bugs get in my account. :) Lovely words to go along with your post, something I struggle with getting my thoughts down so I have stopped trying at least with my blog. I admire people who can do it.

June 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Hurst

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