The field is a riot of colour, tulips in shades of red and yellow and bright pink, lines of them curving away into the distance. I kneel in the mud, intent on capturing the raindrops glistening on a single flower, the delicate frilled edges of the petals, the dark heart of the bloom. I am immersed in the process and filled with that deep sense of joy that comes when I am creating, when I am celebrating the beauty of the world around me.
I’ve spent the day at a workshop on composition. Designed for painters, the workshop focuses on the elements of composition, elements that are as relevant to photography as to any other visual art form. We spend the morning learning about colour, shape and texture, about repetition and movement, about value and geometry. They are concepts that I’m vaguely familiar with, but that I haven’t ever applied in a purposeful way to my photographs. All morning I drink in these ideas, thinking about ways I could use them as I compose my photographs. I keep a running list of things I want to experiment with: diagonal lines, negative space, texture and movement. I can hardly wait to experiment with shape.
In the afternoon, we head out with our cameras to put these principles to work. My friend Lilija and I spend a happy couple of hours capturing the beauty in our neighbourhood. We wander through the grounds of St. Stephens Church, delight in the offerings at a roadside flower stand, and tromp through the mud at a local tulip field. Even in the rain, there is beauty all around us.
It’s so easy for me to drive past a field full of daffodils, a row of cherry trees in full bloom, a tranquil sunset over the water. It’s easy to fleetingly notice the beauty, but then to drive on. Today it feels delicious to slow down, to linger, to truly savour the beauty of a single rain-speckled tulip. And it feels right to be crouched down in the field, taking care to compose a photograph that will fully capture that beauty.
Where is the beauty in your life? What most calls to you to be savoured?