Monday, February 9, 2015

Still Life and Valentine Inspiration


Seventy inches of snow have fallen so far this winter, and more is on the way.  Outside, the feeders and platforms in our yard are crowded with guests.  Inside, everyone seems ready for a respite from the storms.  I've been shooting still life photos like crazy, getting the most that I can from the stark and evocative winter light.  

In the late afternoon, I'm loving the light coming through the southwest windows of the living room.  In the above shot, I'm looking down on a bouquet of wax flowers (Trader Joe's for $2.99, thank you very much).  In the background is the very chippy, distressed top of my favorite little antique cupboard.  This shot has been processed A LOT, with many layers of textures, etc. 


The walls in our living room are painted in Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue, which I know is a trendy color these days, and I think the reason why is because while it is blue, it functions much like a neutral. It has a good bit of green and grey in it, and it shifts all day long, never staying any one color.  It reminds me of sea glass most days, and it also makes a pretty wonderful backdrop for many colors, especially golds, browns, ivories, and burgundy reds.


Another favorite still life spot is beside the window in my study, which is a rather dark, northeast facing room.  This makes the quality of light that streams in perfect for darker, contemplative shots. That's where I took the pear still lifes a few weeks ago, and it's where I got the shots above and below.  The hydrangea above is on my very beat up wooden floor.  I've removed a lot of the saturation out of this shot to let the eye focus more on the light and shadow.  This is the same dried hydrangea that you see in the shot against the Palladian Blue wall, but here, I think it takes on a decidedly more moody quality.


The shot above was also taken in my study.  I've included a picture of the setting below, so you can get a sense of how I work.  I've set up a vintage, handmade boat-shaped box as a kind of makeshift shadow box for creating vignettes to shoot.  If I lean it on a table against the closed bathroom door (don't worry, there's another bathroom downstairs!) I get great light coming in from the side, and I really love side-lit still lifes.  Open, the box gives me a great dark back drop.  Closed, I get a chippy white and dreamy backdrop, complete with cracks and nail holes.  Love.  


I started this blog six years ago this month (I can hardly believe it's been that long), and I named it The Magpie's Fancy because I am an avid collector of bits and pieces of things that shine, either literally or figuratively--or both.  In fact, purely by coincidence (truly--I just realized it as I was typing this), the little map pins that are in the bottle photo above are the very same pins that appear in the very first post I ever published.  Still life photography is one of my favorite ways to put my collecting habit to good use.

I hope you are well, chickadees!  I've got loads to share, including this here little bit of Valentine inspiration from Terrain.  More soon!  xo Gigi


8 comments:

  1. hi gigi... isn't it wonderful to experience history being made and surviving it... we broke our snow level last winter and when we were so close, two inches short, people were hoping for more instead of hating the thought that more snow was coming our way... it brought such lightness and joy to so many... i hope your community is feeling the same... just stay safe, warm, and enjoy this calm before the craziness of summer comes... it's these moments that are so very precious... god bless... hugs2u

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    1. It can be fun, indeed. We had a record-breaking winter two years ago, and I'm guessing this will be another one. I'm torn, because I really suffer from the lack of hours of sunshine this time of year. I'm a gardener at heart, so for me, winter is mostly a long wait to get back into the garden. On the other hand, I do LOVE taking photos both inside and out this time of year. Tomorrow after I'm done with my work, I'm heading out for a long snowshoe. Really looking forward to it. Hope you're safe and warm, too, my friend! xo

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  2. Oh, I love reading about your process -- and seeing the set-up. Such beautiful work, Gigi.

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  3. Thanks, Gigi, for the inspirations in photography. I have just been thinking I need more backdrops for still lifes. In fact I was at the antique shop yesterday looking for just that. Loved the video of the heart wreath too, so simple and beautiful. Each of your photographs is gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn! I love scouring antiques and junk shops for back drops and props! Isn't that heart so sweet and simple? Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day, my friend.

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