Making a Breakthrough

What does it mean to make a "breakthrough?" Prying off a stuck cap on a tube of oil paint? Or getting your supplies all organized ONCE AND FOR ALL? Breaking in a new pair of TIGHT shoes. Maybe, heaven forbid, reading your camera manual first to last page?

I hadn't really thought about "breakthroughs," but Kat at Kat's Eye Studio has and she questioned us about our own personal break throughs. 
Now she was referring to photography, but honestly it can apply to anything that we do.. put our shoulder to the wheel type of work....and hope you come out on TOP!
Two things finally surfaced in my mind. One matches her own example.

Breakthrough one:
developing an interest in i phone photography, developing those teeny tiny photos
 into something eerily beautiful, spunky and funky, dark and mysterious or grungy, worn-like my tennis shoes.




Breakthrough two:
this is really the biggie.  i have been working hard at shooting in manual on my Big Mama.  so many things to think about: aperture, white balance, depth of field, shutter speed, lens size......  i read and read, checked out books, read my manual with a magnifying glass, suffered, fell apart, screamed and gave up a dozen times or so....but slowly, really slowly you know like the tortoise winning the race....it started to sink in.....hate to even think of all those shots I lost due to lack of understanding...there is always tomorrow I would tell myself.

This weekend we received an AWESOME snowfall...not piddly like the last one I shared with you patient readers....the real mcCoy.  I woke up early, the house shiveringly cold, the sun just peeking over the roof tops....BIG QUESTION?
Do I stay home, make hot chocolate and read a great photography or art magazine?
Or do I hunt for my rubber boots, find my gloves, hat, scarf, jacket and GEAR! and head out the door
knowing I will freeze to death and perhaps my camera, too.

Being a decisive person, it took me about 1.5 hours to say YES, get your body up and out and go 
photograph the snow with its deep purple shadows, quivering branches with clots of snow ready to plop, contrasts of deep green evergreens with dollops of white clinging to needles. 
YES...lets get on with it. Think adventure, time alone with nature and how ridiculous you look with rain boots, baggy jeans, 1920's cloche knit hat and camouflage backpack.... 
First hurdle:  the frozen car we leave outside as we have too much STUFF in the garage.  Second hurdle: finding that under the pristine snow was an inch of ice!  In Charlotte we don't carry around window scrapers, but my collapsible orange umbrella did the job, sort of. 

The cold air revived my sluggish brain and gave me the oomph to get to Squirrel Park...which is actually a bird sanctuary, kid's playground and walking trails.

Third hurdle: Could I do it. Could I take all photos in manual without a panic and HUGE hesitation.

 Virgin snow lay all about me, the first person at the park. 
And there I  stood, camera perched on tripod, feet freezing in rubber boots and hands cold as icicles (not easy to take photos with gloves on.)

Let's Rock.....

The photos I would like to share were shot in manual with an old film camera zoom lens.


This gorgeous day seemed like a Breakthrough to me.










Shooting snow presents a few problems to work through. Reviewing my photos I can see where some of my calculations weren't quite right. But probably the biggest factor was the glass in the lens. Today's lenses can shoot incredibly sharp images.  But I am happy with what I got....and in retrospect, realize there wasn't as much snow as I had imagined!!!!!  But some is infinitely better than NONE!

Enough Breakthroughs for Now....there are many more to come!


Comments

Cee said…
Sharon,
Your Blog is super. I love the way you designed the heading.

Your snow pictures are great. I really like the fountain picture.
Sarah Huizenga said…
I think these turned out great. The sharp focus of the one with cat tail looking things is awesome. Manual mode can be scary, but pretty soon it is second nature. I still mess up once in a while, not changing something from a previous shoot. But eventually you remember all those things and you have beautiful images. Don't give up!
Sherri B. said…
Good on you for setting out on a snow adventure! Your photos are beautiful...I especially love the one with the sun shining through at the top of the photo. It created such a lovely light!

It's always nice to have a breakthrough - iphoneography has definitely been one of mine this year. Thanks for sharing, Sharon! :)
Marcie said…
Gorgeous winter scenes and images. We - too - have had our fair share of beautiful snow! And - I think you got it just right in manual. Lots and lots of encouraging and inspiring breathroughs!
Kat Sloma said…
What a marvelous breakthrough! You put in the effort, working slowly through, for a situation like this. I can feel your excitement and pride in this accomplishment. I love the story of the debate of getting out, and all that you had to do to get these photographs. Wonderful!
bgottsab said…
Sharon - I enjoyed reading about your breakthroughs - it is always good to be inspired by what others have mastered through hard work and determination.

And snow is a very difficult subject - I think you did a wonderful job capturing that fleeting white stuff.
seabluelens said…
First, I've been meaning to mention and keep forgetting - I LOVE your header. The colors are so vibrant and beautiful, it makes me smile every time I come here. Second, I really appreciate the thoughtful comments you've left on my blog. Thank you for that! Third, I'm really impressed with your manual photoshoot, in the snow with freezing fingers, no less. I'm curious whether that film camera zoom lens coordinates with your digital camera to autofocus, or if you were doing that manually as well. I admire your persistence and discipline in mastering your camera. That's a huge breakthrough. Well done!
Deborah Tisch said…
I enjoyed reading this post, learning about your creative breakthrough. Lovely snow images!
gina said…
You've captured some beautiful light and contrast in these images -- good for you for getting out there in the cold! As for manual settings, I had to take a two month long e-course before I could really feel comfortable with manual. Practice, practice!
gina said…
You've captured some beautiful light and contrast in these images -- good for you for getting out there in the cold! As for manual settings, I had to take a two month long e-course before I could really feel comfortable with manual. Practice, practice!
Deborah Tisch said…
These winter scenes are beautiful! I'm so glad you decided to get out and take a few photos that day.
Stewart said…
Thanks for sharing these I love to look at photos taken with a film camera. the challenges of light reflecting on snow, with shadow and color are serious! Nice work all around.
Stewart said…
Thanks for sharing these I love to look at photos taken with a film camera. the challenges of light reflecting on snow, with shadow and color are serious! Nice work all around.
Susan said…
So glad you took the 1.5 to make the best decision. My fave of your snowy group is the shallow DOF shot with the hanging "things" on the branches in sharp focus. I said "wowwww", when that scrolled up. I'm glad you have been persistent with the camera. It will truly just keep paying more and more with creative dividends. Honeslty, that never freaked me out, I just started "doing" it. I know lots of people have a hard time. I guess I never really used the auto settings at all, and find them frustrating when I do. I'm a backwards kind of girl I guess.
BUT, you are rocking the iPhone shots. I'm uncomfortable figuring that out. I can't seem to get "in" to that medium. I pick it up and try now and then, but usually feel disappointed. It seems with my camera there is so much control and with the iPhone, to me, it feels like NO control. I love the vibrant shot at the top with all the colors and the funky frame.
Great post my friend. Great breakthrus.