Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lovely Lilacs

There is a small window of time where lilacs are available where I live. I find the best ones at our natural foods store the first week or two of April. It doesn't matter what I have going on, if they are in the store, I buy them and head to the studio, putting everything else on hold.

Once I have my backdrop set up, I arrange, prune and experiment with different props as I try to create a composition that if I am lucky, will convey the luscious scents and the feeling of hope that all spring blooms create.

The original version of this video was made to post on my membership site - Photo Artistry Workshop. We have been discussing floral photography the last few weeks with posts on backdrops, depth of field and other items that come in handy when shooting flowers in a studio setting. I stress the importance of paying attention to detail rather than relying on Photoshop's healing brush to remove debris and other distracting elements that may appear in the image.

I use only natural light and reflectors. I am big believer in "keeping it simple" and find it easier to be creative if I am not messing with a lot of equipment.

This was shot in my old studio, but I was thrilled to discover last week that the window light in my new space is just as good, if not better, than what I was working with before. Stay tuned....I plan to share the images from that first photo shoot in a couple of weeks.

So enjoy the video, turn up the music and be grateful that I am getting better at editing these videos. The raw footage from this day is over two hours long! I didn't think anyone wanted to watch me obsess over every detail of the arrangement for that long.....imagine the last minute of this video times 120!

If you can't see the video, click here: YouTube

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hellebore Heaven

First of all, I want to apologize to everyone that receives my blog posts by email. Last week's post was sent out twice and and comments made before Friday simply disappeared. Sorry!

My new favorite flower to photograph is the "Hellebore". I included one image in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, and a second one is now featured on my website....and I have added two more to the collection that are included in this post.

I did a little research on this plant and found a few interesting facts.

Wikipedia definition: "Commonly known as hellebores, members of the genus Helleborus comprise approximately 20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. Many species are poisonous."

The fact that they are toxic comes out in many of the myths and legends surrounding it. The ancient Greeks associated Hellebore with demons or possession and they used the flower to make poisonous arrow tips.

I also found this statement; "Strangely, it is said to provide protection and a vase of hellebore brought into a room will drive away an unpleasant atmosphere and replace it with tranquility." I think I am going with this one because that is what I felt the minute they were brought into my studio.

I was introduced to this perennial by someone who had them growing in her yard. She said the colors and shapes reminded her of my work. I was deeply touched by this and after she brought me some cuttings, spent a few hours joyfully arranging and photographing these flowers -  I was in "Hellebore Heaven".

I began the session shooting a bouquet in a vase.

©2011 Dianne Poinski     

I sensed fairly quickly that a stronger composition would be a simple image of a single bloom.

"Hellebore I"

©2011 Dianne Poinski  "Hellebore I"
Hand Colored with PanPastels®

©2011 Dianne Poinski  "Hellebore II"
Hand Colored with PanPastels®

©2011 Dianne Poinski  "Hellebore III"
 Hand Colored with PanPastels®

I had so much fun that I planted some in my yard.

The best part of this story is not the flowers themselves or the fact they were used to make weapons.  What moved me is that someone I had just met on "Second Saturday" thought I would like these flowers and took the time to deliver them personally to my studio! This is just one more reason why I love what I do. The relationships I have developed over the years sustain me in so many ways and I am very grateful to all of you! Thanks again Patricia!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Solution to Overwhelm......

I have been on a roll. Cleaning, sorting, getting rid of things, organizing........ and it feels great! Moving my studio started all of this. As I was going through 6 years of accumulated "stuff" I simply began to toss or give away many items. I had quite a few hiding places in my old studio and while things were "out of sight", I could still feel the weight of these objects deep within.

Clutter usually leads to overwhelm, a word I use more often than I like to admit. For me there are two types of clutter - the physical and the emotional. The interesting thing is, once I start to eliminate the physical clutter, my minds starts to calm down and I begin to feel a little lighter and more focused.

This was starting to feel so good that I couldn't stop. I began going through my house and managed to take quite a few large bags to the Goodwill last week. Since my children moved out, I have used their rooms as holding cells for empty boxes that I could not bear to throw out, frames I thought I would repurpose and a multitude of miscellaneous orphaned items. It was great because all I had to do was place things in there and close the door. But again, even though the rest of my house looked ok, I knew what was behind the closed doors and it was sapping my energy.

Besides cleaning and clearing, the move also generated a sense of starting over. A new beginning. So in the middle of all this I sat down and redid my website. Changed templates and colors, added and subtracted pages and experimented with different fonts. I still have more to do, but it's a good start. I titled one of the new pages "Stories". On this page I list blog posts that featured one or more images and the stories behind them. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Someday I would like to place the links directly on the image page, but for now this will do.

Camellias on my porch....

Changing up this blog will be my next project, but I think after this weekend I will slow down a bit and enjoy the space I have created. Take the time to ride my bike to the studio, eat outside and maybe even sneak in a couple of naps...........

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now What??

I am thrilled to have the studio move behind me and hand colored a couple of prints in my new space yesterday. It felt great!

In my old studio I had this amazing light, but could not see anything out the windows except sky and the roof of the foundry. What a delight it was to gaze out the front window while working yesterday and see people going about their day. I can see the post office, a bank and if I stretch a little I can see a bar and the barbershop across the street. The view is abundant with life and daily activity.

We also have a back screen door that opens up to a shady grassy patch with a few overgrown rose bushes. This is a common area shared with everyone, including the young people that live in the apartments upstairs.


In all, it's a very different experience and may take a little time to get use to, but I am feeling more confident everyday that I made the right move.

But enough about the new studio. I am ready to get some momentum back and want to share some different kind of news.

Last year I wrote often about photographing flowers and my intention to self publish a book of floral images (something I have been thinking about for 8 years!). I thought by saying that out loud it would finally happen, but here we are in 2011 and still no book. Some of you may have noticed that I became a little quiet and have not mentioned it lately.

Instead of beating myself up, I enlisted my friend Kamala Murphey, to help me focus and stay on track. I am beginning to believe that it may really happen this time.

Throughout this move, she gently prodded me to create weekly goals toward this project. She then joined me in celebrating small victories as each task was marked off the list. After reporting my success the other day, I mentioned that if I had not been working with her, I know for sure I would have completely put the whole endeavor on hold until I was "settled in". Instead, I have images processed, printed and in some cases finished, and am inching closer and closer to making this dream a reality.

©2011 Dianne Poinski 
I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you now, and will keep you posted on my progress. Feel free to "gently nudge" me along.'s going to happen this time!