During the winter, when I was hosting Emma in the Snow and taking pictures of snow in Alberta and Nova Scotia to accompany some of the blog posts in the series, I was also taking an online photography class from Joy Sussman. Last fall I signed up for my first ever photography class, and it was such a wonderful experience—both inspiring and challenging—that I registered for a second class with Joy in the winter.
The first class was called “Take Better Photos of Nature and the World Around You” and the second was “The Art of Photography.” Joy also teaches a class called “The Charm of Children: How to Take Better Photos of Babies and Kids,” and there’s more information about all three of her classes at her blog, Joyfully Green.
Joy included my photo of the view from Luckett Vineyards (above) in the Annapolis Valley in her online gallery of student work from the nature class; it also includes photos by Lisa Epstein, Margaret Strafaci, Lindy Warner, Jerri DeCarolis, Mary O’Brien, Jo Anne Dobis, Connie Lissner, Debbie Bagley, Shelley DuPont, and Kathy Stinson. I chose that same photo for the new “Events” page I created on my website a few weeks ago, because I’ll be speaking at the Jane Austen Society of the UK conference in Halifax in June of 2017, and lunch at Luckett’s is part of the conference programme.
I thought I’d share a few of my photos from “The Art of Photography” here. If you’d like to see some of my dahlia photos from the first class, you can find them in my blog post “L.M. Montgomery and the Halifax Public Gardens.” I’ve learned so much from Joy and from my fellow classmates and—while I did enjoy taking photos of snow—I’m delighted that spring is here, because I’m looking forward to taking more photos of flowers (especially now that I have a macro lens).
Looking for shapes and patterns:
Experimenting with filters (not my favourite, as I almost always prefer a minimalist approach to editing, but it was good to try something new). This is the MacDonald Bridge in Halifax:
Here are some of my Mary Pratt-inspired photos of jelly jars, pears, and apples. I saw the Mary Pratt exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 2014 and I loved both her paintings and the book that accompanied the exhibition. One of her jelly jar paintings appears on the cover of the book, which you can see here, and Kerry Clare wrote a wonderful blog post in which she compares still life paintings and blog posts: “Like Pratt,” she says, bloggers are “crafting something permanent out of the whirl of the ephemeral,” with “each individual post its own still-life.”
Sarah Fillmore writes that Pratt’s “painting of the jelly jar is really about the way the light shines through the glass, the way that light is preserved, like the jelly, for all time” (“Vanitas,” in Mary Pratt [Goose Lane Editions, 2013]). This is my own attempt at preserving light.
If you’ve seen Pratt’s paintings “Pears #1” and “Pears #2,” you’ll know why I chose this particular dish for my still life photos of pears and apples.
Here’s my favourite of all the photos I took for this class. No filter, just some perfect late afternoon light in my dining room. You can probably tell that I had a lot of fun taking this class!