Backyard Frenzy

I have been out in my backyard with a camera again. As anyone who follows my blog knows, I have this backyard photo project I enjoy doing. It’s been going on for a while. The project is 100 percent unpretentious and is meant to be a place for me to simply play and have fun with my photography. As a matter of fact, no ordinary shooting is allowed. It’s my rule, and since it’s my project I can set any rules I want. The backyard project gives me freedom to be foolish and do mistakes, even more so intentional mistakes.

Here in the northern part of the hemisphere spring is about to be unleashed. Which means that the leaves are unfolding and flowers are about to bloom. Some flowers have already blossomed, such as the crocuses and the snowdrops. They would be an obvious subject for any garden photographer. Now, I am not a garden photographer and my backyard project is not about the obvious, as I just mentioned. On the contrary, if indeed I am to follow my own rules. Nothing wrong with crocuses or snowdrops, or photographing them; I have seen many a captivating photo with either.

In my playfulness mode, I decided to complete ignore flowers or anything that could represent spring. I went out with my camera. Set the shutter to a longer speed, such as 1/4 of a second and up to 1/25 of a second as the fastest. Then I started to swing my arm while releasing the shutter. I went crazy for an extended period, knowing I would need a lot of photos to be able to get anything close to what I was hoping for. In the end, I captured quite a few hundred images, of which I picked and processed nine of them.

I am sure some photographers would think this has nothing to do with photographing, apart from the fact that I am using a camera. No, I don’t have any control of the result, and I have no idea what I would end up with. But sometimes that is exactly what creativity means. Taking chances, doing something out of the ordinary, breaking rules and just go with the flow—or as in this case, the swing of the arm.

According to the Canadian photographer David du Chemin, “Creativity happens in the space between taking in and incubating as many influences as the world allows us, and the sudden rush of a newborn idea that comes into the world in a mix of hard work and joy, sweat and tears. The birth of that idea, and the execution of it, are often on the crest of the wave. They are the high points for which we live.”

Do you have a project that is only for fun, one that you do in order to stimulate your creativity? I would love to hear about it.

If you haven’t seen my previous photos, here is the links to post about my backyard project: Backyard Abstraction, Shooting Sideways, Backyard Bliss, Experimental Backyard, My Photographic Retreat, My Backyard Project, My Personal Challenge, The World from the Backyard, Instagram my Backyard, Out of Comfort Zone and Challenge and Expand.

The quote by David du Chemin is from his book
A Beautiful Anarchy, which is available on Amazon:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

78 thoughts on “Backyard Frenzy

  1. I love your backyard project Otto – it’s interesting imagining what it looks like, and your interpretation introduces a dreamlike quality to the reality.

  2. Wonderful post – love the exhibit-worthy photos! 👍🏼😊
    Remember, impressionistic painters were totally breaking the rules, and their work is now some of the most highly regarded! 🙂

  3. Wow! Although I never practice this type of photography, I do like it a lot. It gives an air of freedom, one does not usually have with the classical rules.

  4. An enlivening post! It’s just a very good thing, to have artistic and technically-accomplished people championing playfulness and experimentation. Very cheering, thanks Otto. And your last two shots, capture the sensation of waking up, after you’ve fallen asleep on a lawn or field, respectively.

  5. You are an adventurer! I have not had any thoughts of doing things out of the rules too often. I think this is the thing that you can call fun! These pictures are awesome..

  6. Love this series of abstracts. The refreshing greens remind me of Spring too, so your project already projects some of the intent.
    One of the best part about personal projects is that they can be whatever you want so its all about your vision and your creative mind at play.
    Your post reminds me I should be doing more of these personal projects, but as you know “Last Light” is my only current project and with the sudden change of the weather – finally 😀 – this indoor project may come to a close for the summer – the afternoon light is not as strong and the extreme contrasts are fading this week.

    1. Personal projects are important for any photographer’s development, and, as you point out, they can be about anything. I hope you find a new project to substitute Last Light.

  7. Lovely! That looks like such fun, Otto! I love the quote from David du Chemin – that’s exactly how I feel about those special inspired moments too. Have a wonderful spring!

      1. We’re just heading into autumn at the moment, Otto. Soon, the blustery winds will be blowing the leaves off our deciduous trees. 🙂

  8. The fact is that 90 percent of people use their cameras to take photo of sunsets ! I do too. So to be creative and stand out from the crowd is great, whatever the subject (withing reason!) Great Stuff Otto.

  9. I love(d) too your project… and it is great fun for us too to see different images, actually this is the way to be creative… to feel free with camera… Thank you dear Otto, you are amazing with your photography and always you inspire us, let us to learn new things too. Love, nia

  10. Backyards can be very stimulating, as you show here and have done on various occasions in the past. I would guess that at least 75% of my images begin life in my backyard and probably only a third of these are ‘straight’ photographs. I think of myself as a picture-maker rather than a photographer. I find that removes the expectation of technical perfection and releases the creativity.

    1. Technical are always helpful but can also be limiting if they turn into expectations in a certain direction. I find you backyard images (and photos in general) to be very free and inspiring.

  11. I love these. They are full of energy and exploration and, sorry, but they DO feel like spring…springing! Great creativity in selecting and processing what nature and serendipity conspired to give you.

  12. I’m especially drawn to the last photograph. It feels like grasses blowing in the wind. They’re all quite wonderful: vibrant and alive, and filled with energy.
    I’m just back home from roaming among the Texas wildflowers, and I had great fun trying to create images that had a bit of that same liveliness. Any time I come home with fire ant bites, barbed wire puncture wounds, and poison ivy, I know I’ve been pushing boundaries of some sort!

  13. I love the effect you’ve created, and I wouldn’t have imagined such an experiment. But it’s beautiful, Otto! I always appreciate your encouragement to unleash more creative experimentation.

  14. Enjoyed your images! The patterns that result are really interesting. I like to create and paint textures in Photoshop and Corel Painter just for the fun of it and I do have quite a collection that often I use as backgrounds for my some of my images. Usually I do not paint them for any particular reason – just because the textures and colors inspire me.

  15. Well i’m sure you know that I LOVE THESE!! and i’m sure you know why lol… i spent all afternoon making a photoshop action that will start my processing of photos for me, the way i have been making some of my photos blurry and such… it was pain staking work and took me HOURS, but it will be a good start for each of my photos now!
    i love your backyard project!!
    and that quote was an amazing thing to add… i do NOT put sweat and tears into my photos… well at least not tears 🙂

  16. Oh Otto, this sounds like a fun exercise!!! And now that we have digital photos, it’s so easy and NICE to be able to shoot an infinite amount of photos without having to spend money on film or developing. THAT alone lends to more experimentation and freedom. Of course, many people probably don’t remember the days of film – and I’m feeling quite old right about now 🤣

    1. Yes, digital capturing sure makes photographing much less expensive at least when it comes to shooting in itself. And as, you rightly say, it lends itself more experimentation. Most people haven’t even experience the days of film!

      1. From Kodachrome w Ed Harris (as Ben): “People are taking more pictures now than ever before, billions of them, but there are no slides, no prints. Just data. Electronic dust. Years from now when they dig us up there won’t be any pictures to find, no record of who we were or how we lived.”
        I don’t necessarily buy into this thought, but it’s worth pondering… 🙂

        1. It’s an important point. I, for one, certainly encourage people I know and have contact with, to make prints of their best photos or photos that are important to them. Not for future references, but because prints give a different and more tangible way of connecting with whatever the photos are about.

  17. I love your idea of being playful with creativity and just going with the flow Otto. Sometimes it’s in those random, carefree moments that we can create and unleash something truly memorable. And have fun doing it.

  18. You use a photographic means of expression to capture an image, capture the idea – That’s what it’s all about a photography. I like the result of visiting the backyard very much :-).

  19. I love these, Otto. They reflect some of the fun you must have been having and it seems like you captured some of the spring greens as well. 🙂

  20. I remember the first time I did that – moving the camera – I moved my whole body and the camera came along. It was a revelation, and a most pleasant experience. I guess that, rather than having one project to stimulate the creative flow, I look to breaking things up with different actions, like yours, or like shooting with that vintage lens, or from the car while it’s moving, etc.

  21. A little anarchy with photography is very much needed 🙂 Creative and most importantly, beautiful shots that match your title perfectly. It seems you are dancing with your subject as you shoot and it is a very soothing and relaxing feeling ~ it is important to be reminded to let the wild-side of your photographic mind free every now and then. Thanks, Otto. Wish you a good week ahead.

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