Inspiration is a demanding mistress

I never know when that moment of revelation is going to strike. It is kind of like an “aha” feeling—but a little bit different, both more and less. I’m plodding along, minding my own business, tending to the mundane affairs of life when all of a sudden a voice inside my head speaks to me and says, “There might be a picture here!”

I’ve learned to listen to that inner voice when I do hear it, and to cultivate it. I miss my inner voice when it is absent! But inspiration can be a demanding mistress.

White Irises by Harold Davis
White Irises © Harold Davis

Life in a household with four young kids and two working parents is full of good reasons for denying my inner voice. I’ve work to do, images to license, books to write, bills to pay, kids to pick up! Life must go on!

But it is only by giving our inner voices some time and space to work their magic that we become the people—and artists—that we were meant to be.

Walking the boys to the school bus stop I passed a clump of white irises growing wild in the strip between the sidewalk and the street. The irises called out to me, try as I might I could not ignore them. After waving kisses to the boys when they got on the bus I walked home, got my pruning shears, and found my way back to the irises.

I laid the flowers out on my lightbox, fanning out the foliage, and shot straight down. The result you see is seven exposures at shutter speeds from 1/60 of a second to 1 second, all shot with a macro lens at f/10 and ISO 100. I combined the seven exposures using hand-HDR in Photoshop and Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro.

A background made in Photoshop from scanned paper was then added to complete the composition, giving the image a touch of an old-fashioned botanical look: old and new combined in an unusual way.

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