I don't know how much social media you visit, but I do love Instagram. On IG I can choose what I  enjoy seeing, being inspired by and interacting with. I limit my choices: A few family and friends; photographers..specifically still life, food and travel; and art related, like painting and sketching.  I have found some pretty awesome folk out there who make me want to try new things.

SO WHAT IS THE SCOOP? If you have followed me for awhile you know I am quite smitten with photography.  Many photographers inspire me to try my hand at that which appeals to me.  Combine IG inspiration and online photography classes and I am ready to GO GO GO!  KIM KLASSEN is my  online mentor, if you will.  Her passing of technical knowledge nudges me in a direction I want to aspire to, Story-line Photography.

OKAY THE SCOOP: Since it is approaching autumn one of my favorite still life "styles" are the darker, moodier, more mellow, slightly secretive images...think: walking into your dark kitchen in the middle of the night, but the moon is radiantly-shining through a window onto your vase of fresh flowers...AWE !  Last week I was determined to create my own version.

 Photographers know that the behind the scenes work and experimenting is to be kept just that "behind the scenes."  Just present the final gorgeous, inspiring image.  Then accept with graciousness the applause.  (sorry overly dramatic)

INSTAGRAM PROJECT: mellow, darkish, moody evening-tide  serving of my favorite Chai tea made with full bodied spices, milk and sugar. Definitely deep, rich and darkish like moonlight over a lake.

Well my friends, it "tain't" always what it appears to be on IG, magazines, periodicals, ads, etc.

First decision, PROPS, we all know props are V.V.Very. important, they move the story along.

Kitchen counter, lots of interesting wood textures, shiny but spotty copper tea pot, celadon green tea cup from Hong Kong 
Move them the scene..balance..line..composition
That is the easy part, the fun, creative part. But what about that dullish gray background with crazy metal heart? Or the sterile edge of the stove peeking into our little scenario?

Here in lies the SECRET. Lighting.  
Which means (if you don't have a studio) making do with whatever one can find to manipulate the light source. 

Look closely and you will see the light is everywhere, so how to STOP and SHINE light. 
More props. Black plastic (clean) shutter to block the wall and stove.  Wedged-in white foam-core board to bounce light on to the scene.
Now that was a challenge. 

Next making the Chai Tea...if I had only done it first...

First good shot, pouring the thick tea laden with spices into cup. Hand shot, cool.  So far so good.

(more behind-the scenes)
I didn't have enough tea (due to sampling) so decided to make more to fill the cup up.
But I was distracted on the right side of the board fiddling around.
Out of no where, the acrid smell and singe-ing sound of milk caught my attention.

The pan of beautiful dancing spice, milk and sugar double-bubbled, EVERYWHERE. The white foam-core board slipped next to the hot burner, with no hot pad in sight.
Yes a mess was born from the "behind the scenes" chaos!!!!!

It didn't take much for me to be no longer interested in sipping tea. 

Moving away from the behind the scenes disaster. 
Persistance and NO FIRE won out. 

Love the last line on the script...All is well.

Obviously I did a bit of post photo processing after the work of cleaning up scorched sugar, milk and spices.

And now it is one week later and I am still cleaning the stove. Still taking pictures. 

Another IG posting, letting the light peek in through fern.   NO carrots cooking on the stove.


Perhaps you noticed that some of the above photos have a different look, coloring, lighting to them. That was done in post-editing in Lightroom using Kim Klassen's amazing Presets. 
Kim has a beautiful website, many on-line classes that are beautifully instructed and inspiring.
If you are into photography you might like to checkout this amazing resource.
I used the following KK presets:  Caramel and Mood Swing.

October is chasing us...may your part of the hemispheres be filled with glorious slanting light, deep shadows and the brisk air that awaits us in Autumn. 

Thanks for following along with me.
Smiles: Sharon 


  1. Sharon, your final images are beautiful. Perfectly reflecting that autumn mood, sipping spicy chai tea, touched with the warm tones of the setting sun...if you hadn't told, no one would have ever guessed that things had gotten a little TOO warm in the making of your artistic photograph. Thank you for persevering - it was worth it - and for sharing "behind the scenes"!

    PS - YES, I did get your comments on my blog! Thank you, always, for your kind encouragement. xo

  2. Great images! And you're a great writer too!


Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you take to say hello. Warmly, Sharon