Finding Something New


Bullfrog, ©2013 Jeane Vogel Studios

One of the exercises I give photography students is to go to a very familiar place and find something surprising, something new, and make an image that wows you.

It’s a hard assignment. Of course, it’s an exercise in slowing down and seeing what you think you already know.

The Lily Ponds at Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis is one of those places for me. Like Monet’s garden in Giverny, these ponds are old and beautiful and set in a 19th Century Victorian Garden. It is one of St. Louis’ treasures. They are magnificent. They are inspirational. They are a little magical.

I go back to the lilies every year. And every year I wonder why I’m going. I couldn’t possibly find anything new. Water lilies are much photographed. Can I do anything new or interesting or “wow?”

It’s the exercise every artist needs. Go the familiar and find the new.

This morning there was fog over the city. Our humidity is high, with a temp to match. The light was perfect. Bright but diffused. A little golden left over from sunrise.

I walked among the soaked, dewy grass and stopped when I heard it. Bull frogs. That was new. A splash or two or five as I disturbed them. Didn’t see them, but they were telling me there were there.

About ten minutes into the shoot, I saw him. Sitting on a pad pushed under the water by his weight. I stopped. I greet him. I moved slowly. We didn’t take our eyes off each other. I’d like to think he agreed to the photograph. It would be great if he were nearer that flower, I thought. He moved toward it.

I made some images, and adjusted a setting to get a better depth of field.

The camera stopped working. WHAT?! BROKEN! Yikes. No!

The bull frog ducked under the water, as if to say “If you’re not competent enough to operate the camera, I have no time for you.”

Take the time to see something new, I tell students. And bring a spare camera! Wow. That is good advice. Gotta remember that one.Pink Water Lilies

Pink Water Lilies, ©20123 Jeane Vogel Studios

About jeanevogelart

Art saves lives. That's my mantra and my motivation. My primary purpose as an artist is to inspire, entertain, make you smile, make you mad, make you think or recall a memory. I strive for work that is intimate and genuine, and sometimes whimsical. It's always more than a "pretty picture." I demand a relationship.
This entry was posted in Animal, Inspiration, Light, Nature, NewWork, Photography, Stories, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Finding Something New

  1. KraftedKhaos says:

    Thanks for the reminder that when everything starts to look the same, it’s time to change our point of view! I often find myself bemoaning the fact that I have nothing to take pictures of… forgetting the fact that a simple POV change can turn the mundane into a masterpiece. 🙂 Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Photography Challenge For Everyone (and me)! | Free, Fun or Interesting

  3. KraftedKhaos says:

    Letting you know I linked to your blog post… 🙂

  4. Thank you for your comment and your link!

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