I was on my way home from a long hard day at work, with chattering teeth, clasping my coat to try and block the rainy gusts of ice cold wind whipping my face, when I passed by one of my favourite restaurants and caught a glimpse of the outdoor seating area, through the gate, only just. Almost walked on but decided to stop and turn back, stepped up to the gate to peek through and admire the scene. Something about the play of light captivated me. The warm glow of the lightbulbs, the reflection of the wet floor, the pattern of the black wire chairs, the blurred out droplets of water on the gate.
So I whipped out my iPhone and snapped a few shots. I really didn’t think much more of it, but when I carried on and jumped on the bus, I began to edit the shot right there on my phone and found that this has now become one of my favourite shots. Not much edging was requested. Merely cropped it in a little bit and increased the contrast, maybe some texture... but it was already nearly perfect. Something about the way it looks sort of abandoned yet inviting, rainy cold yet cozy warm. A strange sensation.
I love happy little accidents like these. Unplanned, coincidental, makeshift. And it comes out making me feel something beautiful. It’s the reason I love photography so much. It’s why my eyes are always on the lookout for any interesting subjects or angles. But they seem to always fall into my lap when it’s the last thing on my mind (such as freezing and battling the wind on a rainy night like this one). For a minute you step outside time. You forget you were just rushing to get out of the wetness and then you find yourself drawn in without even noticing.
That’s the heart of photography to me. Unexpected moments of beauty frozen in time.
I often feel I don’t get to do enough photography the way I truly want to. Usually I focus on food photography at home, with planning and preparation and I enjoy it so much. But I’m still in the process of learning how to capture moods unplanned. How go chase the light. To understand it better. To use whatever is available, and cultivate beauty with what’s already there.
It’s true; you don’t need a fancy camera or equipment to create pictures that mean something to you.
They’re nearly the equivalent of an artists canvas or brushes or paint but the skill lies in story telling from the heart, from the mind, through the eyes.
And so I have made it yet another resolution to add to the list of things I want to do yet know I’m going to probably have to keep reminding myself of over and over again...
Think outside the 4:3 box. Seek inspiration in areas that are unrelated to yours. Who knows what might come out of it? How often have I felt inspired to create recipes because of the way wood fire smells in autumn? Or seeing the contrast of red berries against white snow? Or hearing children laugh whilst playing on the mud? It takes my mind to envisioning colour and flavour pallets, entire compositions of artfully arranged dishes and accompanying props - and yet... nothing ever comes close to stumbling across a subject that’s just waiting for you, right there, to take whatever form of camera you have available to you at that time... snap a shot, drag a few sliders left and right, and just savouring every moment of it.