One Observing

A Curious Person's Photographic Notebook

Still Abundance


Abundance is not only found in quantity. It is also present in the small, the simple, the still.

Nature Walk to Still Life



Today’s inspiration comes from  My Still Sunday, a self-study photography class offered by Kim Klassen, a beautiful lifestyle photographer. She encourages scheduling regular, quiet time to cultivate creativity by composing still-lifes.

Kim’s gentle direction involves taking a nature walk to gather some organic bits and pieces, then arranging the finds into a flat-lay still-life.


Reading the lesson, the exercise sounded easy, enjoyable. And it was certainly enjoyable, but trickier than it sounded. I experimented with several different arrangements, sometimes including more of the found bits, other times less. Keeping the composition simple created better results. However, the most important takeaway was that creativity is not an end result, but a process, a personal journey of trial and error, success and failure, and it is all good.


Vintage Prints


A small gathering of cultivated and wild sprigs, past-prime yet appealing specimens, inspired an experiment with flat-lay still-life photography. I kept the layouts simple with ample negative space, and applied some adjustments in saturation and cast, wishing to resemble vintage botanical illustrations.


Library Art


Situated on a library entrance wall, from floor to ceiling, this splendid art installation, Untitled (2005), by Cliff Eyland consists of over 1000 file-card-sized paintings depicting fanciful and realistic landscapes and portraits.

The individual 3″x5″ mixed media works reference the size of now defunct library catalogue cards, while the installation’s overall pixellated pattern suggests current digitally stored information.

Eyland, who views a library as an art institution, describes the arrangement of the file-card paintings across the wall as “scattered cataloguing, a kind of random cataloguing.” This intentional randomness creates a whimsical counterpoint to the systematic organization of a library.

Both awesome in scale and intimate in close-up inspection, this artwork is impressive, and for combining art and the library, I love it.




Photography: Developing Your Eye

Recently, I signed up for the course Photography: Developing Your Eye offered by the team. It provides tips and themes to inspire your picture taking. Here are my snapshot responses to Home, Street, Water, Bliss, Connect:


HOME is comfort and quiet, the place to peacefully enjoy a cup of herbal tea.


STREET: A residential street where linear lights juxtapose with trees.


WATER: Soapy suds while handwashing dishes – an activity I find relaxing.


BLISS is colour. Here a divine arrangement of watercolour paints.


CONNECT: This hydropower pole appears haphazardly connected, yet it orderly connects the neighbourhood with electricity.

Mauve Magic

Mauve Possibility

Call me foolish, delusional, if you must, but I am certain the colour mauve possesses supernatural charms. Whenever I put on my mauve shoes, my mood instantly lifts. My step becomes lighter, sprightly. I float above the ground, dancing through the day. Life brims with joy.

Mauve’s history may be revealing. Subtle yet eye-catching, the pale purple hue so captivated the artistic avant-garde in the 1890s that the decade is sometimes known as the Mauve Decade.

Accidentally discovered by 18-year-old Victorian chemist William Henry Perkin in 1856, mauve holds the distinction of being the first synthetic dye. In 2000 British writer Simon Garfield acknowledged the colour’s influence when he titled Perkin’s biography Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour that Changed the World.

I am no scientist, or historian, or colour therapist, merely an owner of mauve shoes, but I can attest to the colour’s allure. Serendipitously spotted in a shop window while visiting a faraway fairytale city, its soft light beckoned me, its kindly spirit drew me in. Placing the sweet-hued shoes upon my feet for the first time, I was forever smitten. Mauve magicked me.

Wearing my mauve shoes, I walk in an enchanted version of daily life, one of possibility and imagination and hope.

Mauve is for you too. Try its magic in your life.


(Note: The information regarding mauve history sourced from Wikipedia)


Wild, Free, Spontaneous

Black & White Wildflowers

For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.” ~Edward Abbey

No doubt, Mr. Abbey would approve of these wildflowers growing free, but unlike him, I hold no preferences among flowers – the wild and the cultivated are equally capable of creating joy.