These daffodils popped up in the far corner of a fenced-in yard a few blocks south of New Philadelphia High School.

I was driving past on my way to a meeting with the athletic director about the upcoming soccer season. I would’ve been late to the meeting if I had stopped just then, but I also let my sheepishness get the better of me. A student, or a carful of students on their way to school, might have shouted me down; a passerby might have seen, not a photographer, but a creeper, a tourist, a stranger doing God knew what.

I wrote about this before, this feeling like my desire to play artist would be viewed as unnatural and ought to be discouraged.

I forced myself to stop after the meeting. I stood outside my car a moment, then got back inside the car until an Impala carrying two women passed by.

As soon as the Impala turned the corner, I got out of my car again, hurried over to the fence, crouched low and held up my camera.


I took three exposures while I crouched next to the fence. The one you see above wears a color filter. I tried playing with depth as well. The image above focuses on the flowers, leaving the wire mesh of the fence blurred in the foreground. And the filter’s bluish tint deepens the green of the flowers’ blades somewhat and brightens the yellows of each daffodil flower, forcing the contrast between the annuals and the Rich brown tones of the fence’s rusted wiring and the dried leaves still clinging to the vine in the foreground.

I hope the color pops, just as I hoped, with this one relatively low-key act of boldness, to pop this bubble of doubt I’ve been living in lately.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Miriam says:

    Don’t doubt yourself. Keep doing what you love. You’re so good at it.

  2. hannahkenway says:

    Despite the fact that we’re not geographically close, at this time of year, the yellow/ green contrast of early Spring flower and muted green/ brown foliage is just crying out to be photographed. The contrast works really well here without being overstated. You could be me, risking being arrested peering into disused warehouses, camera in hand…..

    1. Ha! Some might say the art’s worth the risk. I guess that’s what you and I say, based on our actions. A little boldness makes you feel alive and invested in what you’re doing. That’s something I’ve not been able to capture in my writing lately. Thanks a lot, again, for coming by and shedding light on this chilly spring evening.

  3. SilverFox says:

    I know exactly what you mean about the fear of taking pictures for art’s sake and people seeing you as strange or somehow ‘dodgy’. many a time I have furtively walked passed my subject or even gone around the block waiting for an opportunity to take a picture of something when no-one is looking. It seems almost that photography has done some sort of flip. It used to be that only artists would use a camera then as they became common the general public were ‘allowed’ to use them for tourist use. Now with almost everyone having at least one camera in their pocket, which is used to take pictures of food and drinks at restaurants not to mention selfies galore, those seeking to discover moments of art or wonder of the world around us seem somehow out of place.

    1. I hope you’ll permit me another day to respond to your generous feedback. (And to the Leibster Award Qs, too; I’ve every intention of accepting yours and Canada Doll Notebook’s nominations.) I’m on borrowed time right now at the university where I teach, and I want to respond when I can more carefully think through your insightful comment. Please know, for now, that they’re appreciated.

      1. And by “on borrowed time”, I mean I’m due home to my wife and am stealing a few minutes to jot a few quick comments before heading out. Not to give the impression I’m causing trouble. 🙂

    2. This has the depth of thought of a post in the making, SilverFox. I’ve certainly been in similar situations, rounding the block to await the chance to snap a shot in peace, sometimes even forgoing a photo-op altogether for fear of being seem. And I always felt sheepish after bowing out like that. Your comment goes a long way toward explaining how shifting cultural standards prescribing normal social photography practices may play into that shame. I appreciate that insight of yours a great deal. There’s in a way almost greater value now in what we’re doing here in Photo 101; it might be said we’re reclaiming, one picture at a time, the the right to seek out and capture — and value — what you aptly term “moments of art and wonder.”

  4. SilverFox says:

    I was studying these pictures a little more and it occurred to me (and you will have to excuse my potially over philosophical thought process for a moment) that this photo is a metaphor for your/our concern – here in a frame of wire fencing amid the grey drab of mediocre life, a colourful burst of yellow and lush green tries to make itself heard, no? Okay I will shut up and go back into my box 😉

    1. This is a great comment and, I think, a shrewd interpretation of the shot.

  5. debs blog says:

    I recently walked into a place of business with my cool camera around my neck and announced to the manager that I was a photographer and wanted to take some photos of a beautiful tree in full bloom. She was so excited, and told me where there were others like it on the property. Ha! Me a photographer! If she would have asked me who I photograph for and when they would be published I would have been so busted. But for 20 minutes, I was a real photographer. It was powerful – a little boldness as you say.

    1. SilverFox says:

      You are a real photographer, whether you work for someone or get paid in some way is irrelevant

  6. debs blog says:

    Your photo-at first glance I felt like the beauty was imprisoned. It’s lovely.

    1. That’s one thought I had, in a vague way, when I first saw the daffodils, Deb. It makes me wonder if the scene stood out to me because it resonated with the struggle I felt over whether I should stop and take the shot and risk being called out or pass over the opportunity…

      Thanks for stopping by for a look! I look forward to the always-interesting, engaging, and thought-provoking perspectives you share.

  7. SilverFox says:

    Apologies for taking a while to read your comment and respond. We are on the same page, I am at the point where I am comfortable in unreservedly taking the pictures I want and mostly with out worrying about whether I am considered strange.. Hopefully we can all have the freedom to explore our interest like that 🙂

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