Photo Challenge Entries

The Search for Simplicity


Even though I am too late for Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge theme of simplicity, I thought I would share the few photos I took for the challenge and my struggle to find/create photo composition with simplicity.

The goal was to take 4-6 photos with the photo subject taking up only about 1/4 of the composition with the rest of the photo being empty space. Sounds easy, right? Even though I knew I didn’t have many photos that fit that criteria, I figured I could take some. A single leaf against the sky, a single evergreen against the dawn sky, a leaf floating on the water…how hard could it be?

After trying to find/take a few shots like that, I now admire photographers who get those kind of shots even more than I did before!

I immediately ran into challenges. Like leaves only being in front of a cluster of branches that my telephoto lens just couldn’t blur enough.


And also, trees don’t grow individually around here. They grow in clusters. Everywhere. Empty space is hard to come by!

I finally found some subjects I could isolate but my focus is not very sharp on most of them.




And, lastly, one that is probably too empty of subject and too blotchy in the background for most people but gives me, the squirrel lover, that feeling of “awwwwww”.


Even though I didn’t get the results I wanted from this challenge, I feel I learned a lot. First, to be on the lookout for those small, simple things in nature that can make beautiful photos and also to back off a little and not try to get so close. I need to allow some empty space. Hopefully, backing off just a little will help with my focus problems too.

This challenge has also reinvigorated my wanting of a prime lens. Sharper focus and a wider aperture for more blurring sounds very, very appealing. 🙂


18 thoughts on “The Search for Simplicity

  1. Aw, love that little piece of tail sticking up! I’ve got one prowling the neighborhood right now that has a blonde/grey/blonde tail, but he lives down at the other end of my street and never comes close enough for me to get a good picture of him! I first noticed him by almost running him over the other morning!

    1. Ooh, I want to see that blondie tail squirrel. Lure it over with some peanuts! Sounds like you’d better get a photo quick too or else give it a crash course in road safety. The squirrels make me so nervous with all their road crossing!

      1. It just flat out refuses to come to my end of the street! I got a few more far off photos today, but everytime I wander out of my yard, it takes off! I was wrong too… it’s grey/blonde/grey… still pretty cool! It reminds me of a raccoon tail…

  2. I know exactly how you feel Trisha.

    When over in the Convent gardens on Wednesday, it was almost impossible to isolate a flower. Those that I could (isolate), were in such bright sunlight, petals were over-exposed. It was much easier to isolate a flower in the Botanic Gardens on the other side of the city when I lived there.

    You could always take up a large piece of cardboard or paper to put behind a flower, but personally, I prefer soft natural background blur (to one plain colour of paper/board). What’s the lowest aperture on your Sony kit lens…..f3.5?

    1. I didn’t even think about using something as a background. I’ll have to remember that idea, although, like you I prefer a natural background blur. A piece of cardboard would have come in handy to shade the flowers. I had the same trouble with over exposed petals when I tried to get some dahlia photos the other day.

      I think the lowest aperture on my kit lens is f4.5. I’ve been using my telephoto lens for close-up shots lately, although I’m puzzled by the way it blurs the background so nicely sometimes and other times it won’t. I have so much trouble getting crisp focus with the kit lens.

      1. I’ve been also getting puzzled by the Sony’s way of blurring nicely sometimes and not others, hence me putting it in to the repair shop (who well send it back to Sony to be tested). I just don’t remember having that problem with the Canon DSLRs.

  3. I love to read about your struggles because it makes me feel better about mine. Heh. You came up with better photos for this assignment than I did!

    Your feature photo is lovely. The yellow leaf is gorgeous. Darn those background branches! I love the composition of the red leaf and pine cone photos, though I see what you mean about not quite being tack sharp. I still like both of them a lot anyway!

    1. That’s why I went ahead and posted about my struggles. I figured it might help others to know that they’re not the only ones that struggled with the assignment.

      Not getting sharp focus is something I’ve had trouble with for a long time. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I should probably drag out my tripod and see if that helps. Then at least I would know if movement was the problem.

    1. I was glad I happened to look up and see that leaf hanging there. It didn’t stay that way long and now it’s so rainy that I’m sure all the webs are knocked down. And the spiders are probably all trying to make their way into my house….

  4. Your photos are marvelous. I like your squirrel. I have one of MacKenzie where she is jumping up to see what I was doing (photographing flowers on a little table) and all you do is see part of her eyes. That is one of my favorites of her. Your leaves turned out real well. Prime lenses do help, but your clarity was fine for my eyes. 😀

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