The opportunist photographer

Many of my very best photos and most successful paintings of all have arisen out of completely opportunist moments – the ones that birth out of the fact that you are aware enough, and living in the moment enough, to discern ‘the extraordinary’ glinting like a rare gem on a sandy beach.

That’s pretty much what happened to me last week on one of my walks; Rudi and I stopped off at the little ‘beach’ area of the river bank where we often sit down to enjoy the water and the dragonflies when I spotted a pure white swan feather lying there on the mud, like a gift left for us to find by its donor, who came to join us shortly after; paddling surprisingly close to Rudi yet keeping his watchful distance.

As I picked up the feather – smiling at how appropriate since I had just placed the final brushstrokes on my latest painting; a swan – I twirled it between thumb and finger and noticed how it caught the light. Then I realised this perfect back-light wasn’t coming directly from the sun but from its reflection in the water, which was alternately like the steadiest golden-white orb and then a thousand dancing sparkles as Rudi sploshed on by.

Without a moment’s premeditation, I grabbed my phone and started to take dozens of shots of the feather in my hand, using the reflected light as my back-light. These are the results.

They possess that certain kind of magic that always seems to accompany the most spontaneous, opportunist, in-the-moment kind of joy that translates its energy into the very best of photographs (and, I would say, paintings); engaging the viewer with something of the same thrill of that first moment of discovery, perhaps because it reminds them that such moments of unexpected joy are freely available to us all, all of the time – just as long as we remain open to them!

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
This entry was posted in Art, Art technique, Life choices, Light, Personal Development, Portraits, Walks and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The opportunist photographer

  1. The textures and colours you’ve captured within the ‘white’ feather are quite unexpectedly lovely. For me, it was pheasant feathers this week, that I found on our walks.


  2. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Yes, I remember your sharing on facebook. Extraordinary beautiful!


  3. Pingback: Grace in the flow | scattering the light

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