“SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION”

I often think of that quote by Leonardo da Vinci when I’m photographing flowers, particularly white callas. Perhaps it’s their simplicity that appeals to many. And perhaps it’s simplicity that makes the popularity of black and white photography endure in some circles. I took both of these photos of a white calla on a black background, one I took as a colored shot and the other began the same way but was edited to black and white. What’s your preference?

 

Black and White CallaWhite Calla on Black

 

MORE PHOTOS, MORE DECISIONS

My previous blog, Help Me Decide, had photos with a horizontal format I’m turning into Happiness Cards. Here are the vertical ones I’m considering. Again, I’d appreciate your feedback.. I found your comments on my previous shots very helpful.

Dutch Iris                                                                            Iris #1

Orange Zinnia                                                                      Gerbera Daisy

Cherry Blossoms WP                                                                   Cherry Blossoms

Sweet Peas, Wild                                                                            Vetch

Blue & Gold Iris WP                                                                             Iris #2

Purple Tulips WP                                                                          Tulips

Sweet Peas WP                                                                      Sweet Pea

Asiatic Lilies 1                                                                       Day Lilies

Dahlias                                                                   Assorted Dahlias

Leaves WP                                                                          Leaves

HELP ME DECIDE…

I’m ready to order another 5,000 Happiness Cards, having given away and sold close to 40,000 by now. Here are 10 photos I’m thinking of using in the new edition. They are here for your enjoyment but also your comments. Which ones do you like or don’t like?

BG3-2                                                                          Columbine

Iris                                                                              Iris

Banana Leaves                                                      Leaves of a Banana Tree

Begonia Close up                                                                Orange Begonia

Azaleas_                                                                          Azaleas

Begonias                                                                   Just Begonias

Dahlia Close Up                                                                  Dahlia Close Up

Rhododendrons                                                                  Rhododendrons

Pink Begonias                                                                    Pink Begonias

Hydrangea                                                                     Hydrangea

I’m open to suggestions for positive quotations, too. Thanks for your help.

A GROWING BUSINESS

There are enough Happiness Cards out in the world that everyone in Hajduboszormeny, Hungary could have one, or Pudsey, England, or Alice Springs, Australia. In fact, everyone living on the Mendocino Coast, where I make my home, could have 3 cards, even the kids. Amazingly, I’ve sold and given away more than 29,000 and just took delivery on 9,000 more. A dozen are new photos and quotations: Here are four of the new ones:

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. Emily Dickenson
To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
Emily Dickenson
Love is friendship set to music. Joseph Campbell
Love is friendship set to music.
Joseph Campbell
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully everyone is blessed. Maya Angelou
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully everyone is blessed.
Maya Angelou
When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Peace Pilgrim
When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.
Peace Pilgrim

www.happinesscards.net

24,000 AND COUNTING!

I was blown away when I added up the numbers. There are 24,000 Happiness Cards somewhere out in the world spreading happiness. It all began 15 months ago with a wish to share my flower photographs with more people.

The first cards were 2″x3″ photos that I printed on my trusty Canon printer with an inspiring quotations that I glued to the back of each picture. I gave them away one at a time or left them around town for people to pick up. They were a hit.

A friend who saw them encouraged me to box them up so they could be sold and others could join me, so I did just that. If only 10% of the 24,000 cards have added to happiness in the world, my mission has been accomplished, but I’m not stopping there.

Last week I placed a new order for 8,700 cards, and thought you might like a sneak preview of some of the new ones:

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Peace Pilgrim
When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.
Peace Pilgrim
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Henry Miller
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
Buddha
To serve is beautiful, but only if it's done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind. Pearl Buck
To serve is beautiful, but only if it’s done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.
Pearl Buck

                          www.happinesscards.net

FLOWERS THROUGH THE LENS

I’ve been thinking about the difference between photographing flowers on the first day I have them inside and the results I get when living with them for a few days. Usually my initial photos are not very interesting, quite pedestrian, in fact. After having them around for 24 hours, I do another shoot, and am more satisfied with the results. By the time the flowers begin to wilt I usually have a good photo or two, sometimes more.

Daffidol close up-1                                        Day 1:Good detail and color but not very interesting.

Having the flowers in my environment where I see them all day is important. In walking by them I may catch a glimpse of a certain angle of a flower or an arrangement of several that makes me grab my camera.  Living with them I get to know them.

Daffodils-1

Day 4: It still says “daffodil,” but there’s more depth and interest. Your eye is invited to move around.

Many teachers of photography advise having a vision of what you want before you shoot. I can’t seem to work that way. Instead I take dozens of shots and only know what I’m looking for when I see it through the lens, sometimes not until I see it on my computer screen.

I became curious about how others work and asked several artist friends how they begin a painting or photograph an image. Do they begin with an internal vision of where they intend to end up, or do they allow the process to carry them along to a surprising end?  My friend, a talented watercolor artist and retired high school art teacher sent me this in response to my question about how she works.:

“… In the past, I’ve always had a vision of how I want something to look before I start, but I can’t think of a picture I’ve ever created that met that expectation. However, only in the last few months (!) have I learned I should accept that a painting will take itself on its own journey and I should just enjoy the ride-along. Now that I’ve realized this phenomenon, I find myself excited about the adventure, instead of worried about the road map.”

On the other hand, a local photographer, River Wilder, whose work I much admire, told me she plans everything ahead, even to the point of sketching out how she wants the finished photograph to look..

These different ways of creating art are not limited to visual artists.  Some fiction writers begin with a plot laid out in their minds before the first word is put down, while others let the story unfold as they write. I don’t know any poets, dancers or composers to question, but I suspect that any creative endeavor can be approached from either end.

There are people I know who have a pretty good idea of where they are headed in life. They set out goals, make vision boards and plan what they’ll be doing for the next week, the next month and even the following year. That isn’t me. I’ve never been much of a goal setter and I wonder if that’s why I work as I do – discovering what I’m looking for after much of the work is done.

CALLAS on DISPLAY

Those of you who know me, or are familiar with my photographs, know that one of my favorite flowers is the calla or more commonly known as the calla lily. (Botanical name is Zantedeschia) It’s not actually a lily which is why they are often referred to  as “callas.”

I’ve been drawn to the elegance of these flowers for some time and have shot many photos of them. Here are a few of my calla photographs:

3 White Callas3 Callas-1-3

Callas for video-4

Calla with shadowWhite Calla Vert

Single pink and white calla-1Single pink and white calla 2-1

2 color azaleas-1Calla 2Calla 1

But I’m not alone in finding artistic merit in callas. Two of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe and Diego Rivera have both used the them in numerous paintings. Take a look.

SPRING FLOWERS

I know, we’re not quite into spring yet, especially those of you in the East, but with our warm winter in the West many spring flowers are making an early appearance. Tulips have popped up in many gardens and flower shops, daffodils are brightening fields and roadsides and magnolia trees are dazzling our eyes with their beautiful blossoms. Here are a few of my spring photos:

 

20150213-IMG_9054Daffodils 4-1Daffodils 3-1Orange Tulip, Vertical
Magnolias-1

Pink Camellias-1

Pink Tulip-1               Until next time…Connie