The fun (and sometimes terror) of being a photographer is being asked to do custom photography. It’s one thing to run around and shoot whatever you wish/when you wish – but to shoot on demand, well…that’s another situation entirely. My brother recently mentioned that if I didn’t want to go to his wedding, he would pay me to shoot it – an offer that I declined quite emphatically. I’ll bring my camera – of course – but to be responsible for creating the images that will immortalize their special day? No thanks, too much pressure for me. Still, when my Mother-in-Law and Aunt asked me to create some photo gifts made featuring guinea fowl and chickens, that might be just right. At lot worked against me that day, too: it snowed a good six inches the night beforehand and the fowl aren’t fond of the cold, for one. But I think that I got a few priceless shots.
This is Skinless, my Aunt Stef’s adult male guinea fowl. He refused to come down from the tree so I had to shoot from below and then crop the image in to highlight his skeksis-like features and prehistoric visage.
Sometimes you find an image so evocative of emotion that it’s like somebody must have left it there just for you. These two miniature tulips were just such a sight – they had grown up out of their pots with their stems intertwined. Though I was at a Spring bulb show and photographed hundreds of blossoms over the course of the hours that I was there, these two tiny plants remained the resounding image. Always love.
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The highlight of my Summer was my weekly visit to Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, MA where we had a farmshare. The view of Mt. Tom was extraordinary and they had rows upon rows of flowers in their “You-Pick” section of the farm. Que hours once a week – just me, my camera and the bees.
Of all of the flowers, zinnias may be my favorite.
I think that only a photographer can understand the horrors of being in front of a camera. Here is your well meaning friend or significant other, and they are shooting your bad side, or they seem to be waiting until you make the worst face possible. You heard the shutter go off, you know what face you were making and no, you don’t want them to try again. If you are anything like me, reflections become your friend – that or a well placed tripod and a friend who knows better than to do anything other than press the shutter button when you tell them to. Vanity, thy name is photographer.
I didn’t start out trying to photograph bees. To be truthful I didn’t start out trying to photograph flowers really, but when you live in Western Massachusetts and set outside with a camera, photographing flowers is a forgone conclusion. Once I started photographing flowers, the bees came to me. Quite literally, they settle in the blossoms that I am trying to shoot. Call me the bee whisperer if you will. Today I find myself the unlikely champion of these misunderstood and often mal-aligned creatures. I stick my lens quite literally in their faces (or butts, depending on which direction they are facing) and I have yet to be warned, let alone stung. And we need these ladies, our agriculture depends on them and their other pollinators. Plus, as a sometimes vintner, I have to mention that there is no better sugar to brew with than honey.
I have and will always defend the beauty of New England. Still, if the North East is my one true love, New Orleans is my not-so-secret paramour. NOLA is the kind of city which has been loved by many and so I paint her in strokes of black and white – not her famous landmarks where everybody has shot, but her birthmarks and idiosyncrasies for if you can love those, you can say that you have truly loved…
This week has hit hard with the proverbial first chills of November. I went out for a walk yesterday during the warmth of the afternoon and everything – even those last zinnias that were holding on for so long – has died. It is a reality of living in the North East, but I dread it every year. My months of photographing are over. Still, there are last moments of hope – namely some time well spent at a local flower show late last week. This year of botanical exploration has taught me that even the flora which I have overlooked in the past have deep beauty if you stop to look.