#Lens Artist 114 #SundayStills The Inside Scoop on Negative Space

#Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #114Negative space #SundayStills Inside

Fire News on the Home Front

“I often find that people confuse inner peace with some sense of insensibility whenever something goes wrong. In such cases inner peace is a permit for destruction: The unyielding optimist will pretend that the forest is not burning either because he is too lazy or too afraid to go and put the fire out.”

Criss Jami, Killosophy

Please pray for all the brave firefighters battling the many blazes in Oregon and California. Without them our own house would be in the midst of the fire instead receiving the ashes from someone else’s tragedy.

A picture of the ashes in the air with a flashlight shining on it at about 8:00 in the evening.

Would you want to go outside in that air? Hugh’s challenge of inside was a welcome one.

The air was a negative space today, but not in a photographic sense. Looking out the window was like looking through a filtered lens that made the grass look greener and the sun a brilliant orange – perfect for Hugh’s Sunday Still’s theme of orange last week.

The weather outside was frightful, and the fire was not delightful. We had no other place to go because the ashes were falling as snow. 

The words may be a little too flippant and insensible for the occasion, but I couldn’t keep myself from hearing this Christmas song in my head. My dad made up stupid words to songs embarrassing me when I was a child. His silliness wore off on me. Sorry!

You could watch the ashes and tree bits fall all day long – from the safety of inside our house.

In Fresno County, just about forty miles north of us the Creek Fire burns the Shaver Lake area. They don’t expect the Creek Fire to be contained until October 15th.

The Creek Fire was first sparked on Friday evening (September 11) and was 182,225 acres as of Friday morning with 6% containment. At least 377 structures have been damaged or destroyed, and more than 14,000 are threatened. Officials say 30,000 residents of Fresno County and 15,000 residents of Madera County have been evacuated.”

Using Negative Space

According to Amy from Lens-Artists, “Negative space is the area around the main subject of your photograph. This space is empty or unoccupied. Spencer Cox at Photography Life explains, “Photos with high amounts of negative space are: empty, subdued, peaceful, calm, and isolated.”

Sue works with children, so she put clear plastic in her mask so that they could see her mouth.

This photo didn’t start out with a lot of negative space, but I wanted to show you this great mask for teachers that my friend, Sue had made. To create negative space, I began by cropping the printing off Sue’s shirt. The Photoshop clone tool covered the the arm of the man and a post next to her with mulch. I guarantee that this negative background will NOT grow weeds.

However, since the real focus is the fact that you can see her mouth through the mask, I thought I could do better. So, I cropped the photo again close to the mask then smudged out Sue’s eyes to create more negative space. Her mouth isn’t digitized, the plastic is steamy. I get so hot working in masks, I can’t breathe – that’s negative space, too. But the next picture is a breath of fresh air.

Prescott Valley

“Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesty…”

In July a real estate friend and I traveled to Prescott, AZ to look at property. What we really loved were the skies.

This flag in the middle of nowhere made me want to get outside the car and salute. It wasn’t exactly nowhere, it was on Road 5 North, not Interstate 5 North, which for some reason struck me as funny because this was no freeway.

Then the skies charcoaled and we pulled over to capture their magnificence. Within minutes they performed the miracle we are praying for in California and Oregon right now. 

We sat inside the car and marveled at how good it felt to have a little downpour. The rest of the picture blurred, giving the picture some negative space and concentrating more attention to the raindrops on the window. The temperature instantly dropped from about 95 to 75. We felt like we had been transported to heaven and were ready to move in that instant.

But we didn’t. We came back and my friend Sally and I walked three miles around Bravo Lake lake at 6:30 in the morning to beat the 110 degree heat. The reflection of the foothills on the glassy surface stopped us in our tracks.

This photo was taken as part Cee’s challenge on horns, but it is the perfect photo to play taps for these two challenges. Looking at the horn from the inside of the bugler’s head revealed that our trumpeter had very little gray matter between his ears. You can see his webbed synapses, and the little Charlotte that keeps his brain spinning. The background blurred giving the picture lots of negative space, as I zoomed in on the inside of his head and his eyes and spidery thoughts horned into focus.

“Where Do You Find These Photo Challenges?” a friend asked.

Click the links to join my friends Hugh Roberts subbing for Terri Webster Schrandt with #SundayStills and Amy with the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #114.

Do You Host a Writing or Photography Challenge?

If you would like to do an interview on my blog, Always Write about your writing or photography challenge, please contact me below. I’d love to chat with you. 

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Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

29 thoughts on “#Lens Artist 114 #SundayStills The Inside Scoop on Negative Space”

  1. I hear the news every day about the wildfires in your part of the world, Marsha. I also know a lot of bloggers from that part of the world. Their accounts of what is happening are heartbreaking. I pray that you all soon get cooler temperatures and some well-needed rain.

    Your photos are breathtaking -especially the one with the reflection of the foothills. And I love how the flag looks as if it’s in the middle of road 5 North.

    Thanks again for joining me for Sunday Stills this week.

    Take good care of yourself and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are. We haven’t had blue sky in weeks, and the last two days have been the worst. They are probably going to evacuate the nearest town east of us. We are keeping our fingers crossed that won’t happen. The folks in Oregon are in worse shape. They’ve never experienced anything on this scale.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very clever take on the subject Marsha – and I loved your silly song. Yes there are those who will say it was inappropriate but these days we need things to smile about and we all understand how serious these fires are so get over yourselves people!!! You’ve included many beautiful images of negative space and effectively combined two unrelated challenges with this one. Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Tina. I’m really enjoying the challenge. I have known both Cee and Terri a long time, so this focus on challenges, not only has introduced me to new artists, like the Lens-Artists, but reconnected me to my long-time friends. (Notice I didn’t say old.) Have a great week, Tina. 🙂


    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, JohnRH. The clouds there were delicious. Any clouds would be delectable today here in central California. We have smoke still. Hope you are doing well in your location. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember your horrifying pictures. Especially of the fire you saw at the beginning and then after it had burned. The air quality index in Yosemite, near Fresno, is 400, hazardous. In Portland, where my brother is, the air quality index, which is usually excellent was at 349 on Friday. It’s back down to 260 today, which is still bad. Eugene, where I used to live was at 437 and Bend was at 515. Vince was considering Bend a few years ago with our friends Spenser and Margaret as a great place to retire. Glad we didn’t go there! Our air quality right this second is 168. So much for our cheery news for today. 🙂


        1. Yes. Portland AQI is currently at 61, which is still a bit unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ours is 102. Prescott, AZ is 38, which is good. Yay! Huge garage sale next week. Want to come?


  3. Fun to see your pics, Marsha, and your perspective on several challenges! We had similar ash fall in Sacramento too last week. Now here in Spokane, the smoke filled skies are oppressive but gives the feel of early Fall with the orange glow. Hope you and your family are staying inside and safe when you can! See on Sunday when I get back to the blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TTYS (I just learned this from Yvette Prior.) Can’t wait to hear all about the new house. Our house is almost finished – probably two more days and it will be back to normal. It’s given us plenty of time to pack up stuff we don’t use and get everything ready. So we are not far off schedule. We close on Cindy’s new rental in Prescott, AZ on the 28th! So Cindy and I will be going on vacay on the 29th and see what needs to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

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