Grapes of inspiration

Photographic inspiration can happen anywhere, you just need to keep your mind open for the possibilities and be ready for the opportunities.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

I was washing some grapes in my kitchen sink before eating them when I noticed the morning light streaming through the blinds of the kitchen window. A strip of the sunlight landed gently on the grapes, turing them a translucent purple, while the ones untouched by the light remained a deep burgundy in the shade. It was something one might see any day of the week, but to me it was glorious in its simple charm and visual allure. That’s my aesthetic viewpoint. To find beauty and interest in the commonplace.

It’s also the bread and butter of newspapers.  We cover the occasional big story from time to time, but for the most part, the stories that we do are about everyday people doing everyday things.

A lily grows at the Boggs Tract Community Center in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/2000th sec. @ f/7.1. ISO: 125).

When something comes along to draw your interest, sometimes you can’t pass it up. Occasionally there have been times when I’ve been on assignment where I’ll have some time on my hands. While I’m waiting, something will catch my eye, and I’ll take of a picture of it, perhaps a flower that’s growing at a community center, or birds flying low over the deep water channel or a bee searching for nectar in a nearby blossom. It may seem odd to the casual observer to see me photographing something totally unrelated to the reason I’m there.

A honey bee searches for nectar in blossoms on a almond tree along the Calaveras River near pacific Avenue in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

As a working photographer, I often have to take pictures when conditions aren’t the best. The light might be all wrong, the background could be cluttered, there might not enough room to shoot, or the subject could be too far away. Often there isn’t the luxury of waiting for the right conditions or even coming back later. You bring all your creativity and experience to what you’re doing to try to make the best image possible, to be sure. You look for the best angles, think about composition, try to modify the light if possible, and try to capture the right moment. But deadlines being what they are, sometimes you just have to do your best with what you’ve got.

A flock of Cormorants fly over the deep water channel in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

There wasn’t a story that went with the grapes. Besides liking the light and color, I didn’t have a reason to shoot the them, and it would have been easy just to pass them up, photographically speaking. But, still, the light was beautiful, so I quickly dried my hands, got my camera and took several shots just because I was inspired to.

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