2020 WEEK 51: Finding Magic in the Mundane

This week we’re going to challenge our perception of the things around us. The idea for this challenge comes from my desire to find magic in the brown winter landscape that currently surrounds me, but it could just as easily apply to anyone who has limited mobility and/or travel restrictions due to COVID lockdowns – or any other limitations.

The other day I went out for a walk among tall dry grass with the goal of finding magic. At first all I could see was brown as far as my eye could see, but then I turned around (looking into the sun) and noticed that the backlit grass was glowing orange and with a shallow depth of field, the bokeh looked magical.

Magic in the Mundane by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Magic in the Mundane by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

In the case of the dry grass, the “magic” was a combination of back lighting and bokeh, but there are many other ways to find magic. It could be that you look at things from a unique perspective. Or it could be that you get close up and use macro to find something interesting. I combined both of those in the photo below. I had noticed this small patch of moss earlier in the year and I wasn’t all that inspired by it until I put my camera on the ground next to it and then it became a magical forest of sparkling dew drops. (The moss itself wasn’t more than ½ inch tall.)

Fairy Forest by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Fairy Forest by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

While “good light” can certainly make a scene magical, magic can also be found by looking at your surroundings in terms of lines, shapes, repeating patterns and textures (as opposed to subjects). Don’t forget to look for shadows as part of this exercise. Check out these previous challenges for ideas:

Dahlia by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Dahlia by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Notice the soft light used to bring out the repeating patterns. Strong light is not necessary to find magic.

You can also create magic in your images with in-camera techniques like Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) or multiple exposures. Recently I was struck by this magical image by Deborah Hughes Photography taken of sunlight streaming through her back door window. But if you’re stuck in an area without any sun this week, maybe you can find magic in the holiday lights that surround us this time of the year. Check out these previous challenges if you’d like a refresher course on some in-camera techniques:

Christmas Aura by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Christmas Aura by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

 Whatever you choose to photograph this week, I want it to be something that you walk by all the time and don’t pay any thought to – something that’s so much part of your life that it’s lost meaning. You are allowed to add light to the scene as well as use post-processing to create magic in your scene. And as always, pay attention to composition rules and proper exposure to make the best image that you can.

Challenge summary:

  • Take a photo of a subject that you normally don’t notice in your everyday life in a way that makes it look magical.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, December 13 and Saturday, December 19.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2020photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2020 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa

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