Saturday, November 01, 2008

Macro Photos

I set out today to do some plein aire work. I find working outside incredibly hard. The whole thing of carrying pastels, paper, board, easel out and then trying to find something that inspires me is so stressful! I set up in one spot, I liked the light in the leaves, falling on the bank to the right of the picture, and also the added benefit of being able to put myself in a position where no-one could come up behind me to watch. Almost immediately I decided that I was not inspired so I packed everything up and moved to a new spot. The light was lovely, falling on the ground and making wonderful mix of dappled colours from pale apricots to acid greens in the light and deep purples in the shadows. The sun on the bark of the eucalyptus trees was silver and bright against the dark background. Almost a perfect set-up - the resulting picture was horrible. I could feel my blood pressure rising within minutes of putting pastel to paper. I can't decide what it is that I find so stressful - whether its the feeling that time is limited and that the light is going to change quickly, or wondering if someone is going to come up and speak to me. I just don't know - maybe I am just not a plein aire artist.
The day was not a total deadloss though. A friend and I had arranged to swop lenses and I had some time to play with his macro lens. A real challenge taking photos with it as the focal length is incredibly short and even though it seemed like there was no wind at all, just the slightest movement made the object that I was photographing go out of focus. A dragonfly very cooperatively posed for me and I was able to take a number of photos of it from different angles. Best photo of the day was the fan palm which had lovely mix of lights on it.


Robyn said...

This is a very familiar story of plein air stress, Anita. I think you just have to keep doing it and not be concerned if it takes a while before you bring back something you are happy with. Of course, given the opportunity to see the 'horrible' painting you made we would probably be cooing with delight at what you actually achieved.

Your macro photos are terrific, the fan palm particularly. I'd love to capture a dragonfly on macro. Of course I should probably start by getting hold of a real macro lens.

Stacy said...

Anita, your photos are beautiful! Art in a different medium. I am hoping you took these in your new location and are finally surrounded by lush color after years of sand. Don't let the plein aire stress get you down. Maybe try getting comfortable with quick plein aire sketches before sitting down for a full blown painting.

Anita said...

Robyn - I think you are right. Its one of those practice makes perfect moments I think.
Working with the macro lens was intersting and not nearly as easy as you would think. I'm toying with the idea of getting one myself. I believe you can take wonderful portraits with a macro lens.

Stacy - It certainly is lush here compared with Saudi Arabia. Everything is very very green which presents a whole new set of difficulties for me. Its a colour that I have found extremely hard to work with in the past.

all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009