It’s no secret that I love moss. But when summer has withered my ‘go to’ photography setting, it’s time to embrace the dry, scorched scraps.
I came back from my summer vacation shocked by the parched, arid paddocks around our house. The harsh landscape was jarring compared to the rainforests and waterfalls I’d spent my holiday exploring. Sunburnt browns and seared oranges now painted our once verdant pastures.
We’ve tackled the changing seasons and their influence on our photos before. I thought the changing seasons didn’t change my photos, but Shelly confessed to having seasonal infectious disorder, and James contracted the disorder too in autumn.
I didn’t have the time to drive to the beach. And even if I did, it was a holiday long weekend and our beaches would’ve been besieged by holidaymakers.
I searched our property for any moss that might have escaped the summer’s baking sun. No, all obliterated by the solar sniper. I combed the neighbouring bushland in the hope that the trees had glanced the sniper’s aim. No luck.
With no moss, no sand (if only James had shared his sand secrets earlier), and no time, I had to improvise with what I had. And what I had was scorched paddocks of dry grass.
Dead leaves and the dirty ground
When I know you’re not around
White Stripes – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
I’ve never really liked shooting on grass. It always feels out of proportion. That’s why I like moss. However, exploring our seared paddocks I found little swathes of dried grasses, delicate enough that a LEGO Minifigure didn’t appear dwarfed.
As well as avoiding shooting toys on grass, I’ve tended to avoid shooting on dry tones, unless I’m at the beach. For me there’s something too harsh about the colour palette of the dry. Autumn is my least favourite season for that reason too. The autumnal tones of orange, yellow and beige signify the coming of winter. Their short-lived display announces the approaching dormancy. Plus, despite being a LEGO fan, I’ve never liked the colour yellow!
I thought it was worth waiting
You’re caught up in my head
Wet sides from time to time
But mostly I’m just dry
PJ Harvey – Dry
But, after being forced to use these dry palettes, I’ve now come to understand them. I’ve even come to appreciate what they provide. Yes, they are harsh. And yes, they are barren and stark. But that gives them an austere beauty that my beloved fertile, verdant moss could never do.
I’ll never like yellow.
But I now like the dry, burnt tones of the Australian summer that I’d rejected up until last week.
Are there palettes or settings you avoid in your toy photography? Or perhaps there is something you once avoided, but have recently embraced like me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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