Thanks to gracious visitors to my own site, I’ve found lots of fun and interesting blogs to follow since I started my little blogging resolution in January. Thinking initially that I’d found just one more way to lose myself in the internet and hone my procrastination skills, I’m pleasantly surprised to report that I’ve actually been using these resources to fuel my imagination and expand my blogging horizons. I recently viewed a post by Cee Neuner at Cee’s Photography, where I learned about a photo challenge hosted by Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney on Where’s My Backpack? Each week, Ailsa suggests a theme, and encourages both aspiring (me) and actual (Cee) photographers to share the photos they believe best represent their interpretation of said theme. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Ailsa had declared last week Travel Theme: Green, and though I did not submit anything for the challenge, I kept it in mind when I was walking on Thursday.
It’s amazing how much you see when you have a specific focus. Knowing that I was looking for green, my eye was drawn to stuff I know I’ve passed a hundred times without noticing. For the first time on Thursday, I noticed that one of my favorite houses along the canal route has bright glossy green shutters–in the past I’d been too busy taking in the overall imposing brick structure of the home and the mystery of its always-burning ceiling light in the second floor window to notice the shutters. I noticed how many of the canal boats sport green–from dark forest green hulls to intricately painted folk art in kelly green on the bows (one visiting boat that is not usually moored there was even christened “Greenfinch”–thanks for playing!). Of course, there were endless opportunities to photograph plants. I found an old log covered in a thick-piled carpet of spring-green moss, and some dark green clumps of snowdrops cowering in the shelter of a sturdy hedge. And then I saw the algae garden growing on the exposed wall of an empty lock along the canal (pictured above). At first, I was quite taken by all the different kinds of algae in such a small area, then by all the shades and textures of each variety. Unfortunately, being on the opposite side of the canal precluded me from taking any macro shots (too cold for a swim, and no boats in sight approaching the lock who might have let me hop aboard for a few quick snaps), but my hands were itching to pet the velvety carpet of algae on the left, glide over the slimy glop in the middle, and lift the trailing strands of the clump anchored at the top right.
Whether I ever publicly respond to Ailsa’s challenges or just use some of her past suggestions to guide future photo walks, I like the sense of purpose I felt going out in the world armed with a theme. It was a powerful experience to note how much my eyes were opened to new sights and how I gained new perspectives on familiar sights. For too long I’ve been so busy looking at the forest that I didn’t see the trees…
April 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM
Hi there, so glad you found a little inspiration in the Green photo challenge. I love your photo of that gorgeous algae garden, and your narrative about spotting things when you’re looking with a specific focus. Happy photographing. xxx
April 20, 2013 at 8:02 PM
Thanks for stopping by to take a look! I’ve been much more focused in my photography walks lately, thanks to your challenges.