Out of Focus

Long time… And yes, I am feeling a bit unfocused, which is really okay – but I will get to that.
Out of Focus – that was my last photo challenge – ummmm… way back in November…
And really, you may wonder – how hard can this be? Don’t we all have more unintentionally unfocused photos than we really want? Why challenge myself to add to my collection of blurry photos?

blurry weeds

Well – there really is an art to it, and so many different approaches. A quick search on google will show some fun and creative examples that may have you running for your camera to give it a try.

Me – I just couldn’t get myself into it, discovering early on that unfocused photos are really not my thing. But – therein lies the challenge – or so I suspect.

blurry weeds

Or – perhaps – the issue was in the timing. I chose this challenge at a time when I was beginning to feel a little directionless – thinking that perhaps, it was time for a little more focus in my life. The time had come (or so I thought) to devote my time and energy to the few things that really speak to me. The time had come to focus – and maybe even… ummmm… accomplish something.

out of focus mountain

These past few months have been amazing – allowing myself time to explore without restriction – art, photography, writing. But then, it turns out that this aimless wandering is a wee bit out of my comfort zone. I once saw a quote claiming that this is where life begins. True? I really don’t know.

blurry truck

I do know that this is exactly where I need to be – exploring – outside my comfort zone. My path is full of twists, turns, detours, stops and starts. My path is also full of some really bad art. But, it is through this exploration that I am discovering where I want to go – not yet ready to walk a straight line. And maybe – just maybe – the destination doesn’t even matter – at all. Maybe – just maybe – it’s all about making bad art and not accomplishing anything at all. I don’t know the answer to that one, yet.

And so – this out of focus thing – yeah, it’s all good.

blurry winter storm

But not in my photography!
I may revisit this challenge another day – but for now, I think I will confine my lack of focus to my artistic travels.

sunrise in the forest

For some truly outstanding “out of focus” photography – hop on over to my friend Sarah’s blog at Twisted Road Studio. When our photography group decided to give unfocused photography a try, Sarah discovered a real love for intentional camera movement – with beautiful results!

So yes – long time!! I do hope to gain a little focus in my blogging – soon…
I would love to hear what you are up to. Are you feeling focused, or following a long meandering path, all your own?

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Lissa | 23rd Feb 20

    I think I would struggle with this, too… I’ve spent too many years of focusing on finding the perfect focus point in a photograph, trying to perfect landscape photography where the entire frame is in focus… that habit (of more than 50 years) would be pretty hard to overcome. But I admire those who succeed, like Sarah.

    For health reasons, I’ve also been absent from my blog for a few months. But I hope to return soon. It’s nice to see you back on Gingham Notebook!

  2. Sarah | 23rd Feb 20

    I think you are too hard on yourself. You have some really great photos here. If we only ever do what we are good at we will never grow, and life will become a bit dull in the process. Too often we expect perfection first time around. But nothing we do in life is the first time, or even the 100th time. So don’t give up, maybe just mix it with some perfectly focused photos, and enjoy the whole process.

  3. Lynne | 25th Feb 20

    I wrote a long message reflecting on “Out Of Focus” . . .
    Lost it . . .
    I have to remember to push copy, before I push SEND!!

    I have been in a bit of “out of most everything” of late.
    I likened your focus piece to me and my watercolor.
    Which was going nowhere . . .
    Finding I was trying to create through another persons eyes . . .
    the realization stopped me in my tracks.
    And I began realizing/reflecting/creating within “my focus” . . .
    It turned me around, brought me back to
    writing, quotes, wordisms etc, and once again I started to fly.

    This verse below, kind of did it, opened an
    ink well of images, messages, expressions, ideas.
    My new wave is more focused . . . with inspiration returning.
    Ebb and flow seems to always be in the picture.
    Thank you for your in/out focus piece
    and giving me a “glimpse” of where I might be.

    You are gone
    but thank you
    for all the soft sweet things
    you left behind
    in our home
    in my head
    in my heart…

  4. Lynne | 25th Feb 20

    Just so you know, the “in our home, in my head, in my heart”
    piece is not mine, not my writing.
    I should have added quote marks.
    It gave me some ideas for cards, and for some other written pieces.
    Whew . . .

  5. Barb | 25th Feb 20

    My favorite of your out of focus shots is the one most in focus – the seed heads with the bokeh. I think that says something about how my mind works… Meandering is great, Karen – you’re creating new patterns and interests for yourself. However, letting go of the need for a tight schedule and a list of challenges met is often hard the first couple years after leaving a job. My whole life now is about wandering and wondering. I’m happy NOT to have many responsibilities and leadership roles. Each person has a different comfort level for laxness! Enjoy your winter in Vermont. Here in Breckenridge, we’re having a record-breaking snow month in February – over 8′ so far. Bob and I live a quiet life during the week, but over weekends our house is bustling with grandchildren coming to ski.

  6. Beatrice P. Boyd | 25th Feb 20

    Nice to read a new post, Karen. Right now, I too am looking for some focus points, so you are not alone. I keep “busy” with lots of small projects, some ongoing, many unfinished. Photography is still an interest but a relatively new camera has sat on my bookshelf, sadly neglected for the past couple of months. This year I’ve been watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, reading and cooking. I have never intentionally tried out of focus as a photo goal, but sure have many images that unintentionally came out that way. as for blogging, I keep thinking about a new blog to “focus” on imagery vs. words, but still in that thinking only stages and not the doing part. So I plug along at the old blog site, but limited to no more than 3X a week at most. It’s my only form of social interaction (no Instagram, FB, Twitter for me) and I actually do enjoy reading comments, many from longtime readers.

  7. Debbie | 27th Feb 20

    this is a wonderful post karen BUT please allow me to say – you think too much!! your thoughts are so beautifully presented, but i think you are doing just fine!! wander, meander…allow yourself to just be. you are a beautiful, talented soul, go with it…i think you will do just fine!!!

  8. Carola Bartz | 1st Mar 20

    I’m not quite sure why you call this “bad art” – I honestly don’t think “bad art” exists. It’s all in the eye of the beholder I guess. I see this as fascinating trials on your path, and by trying this challenge you found out what you like and what is not your cup of tea. That is a great result! Like you I tried out several challenges and thus developed a real liking for some things and a “not again” for others. As you said at the end – it’s all good. So are detours, by the way. My life has been anything but a straight path, and I think those detours gave it so much richness.

I am always happy to hear from you!