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Starting with “good bones”

Since buying our curent home seven years ago we’ve, one project at a time, made it from what we purchased into what we envisioned it could be when we purchased it.   We knew this house had “good bones” for us and needed only some “renovations” to reach our personal visions.

I often make photographs of the same type.  I look and develop a vision about what I find interesting in the scene or what the particular scene is saying to me.  I’ll then use the camera to capture the “good bones” of the scene as best I can.  Later I compare what I captured and my vision making “renovations” in post processing to fulfill one with the other as best I can.

Of course when renovating a home you’re vision will change mid-process as you introduce new possibilities.  That was our case in some of our home renovations and has often been the case with my photographic process as well.  I will see something else in the scene during post-processing that changes my direction — I believe a vision should be “alive” and fresh, not stagnant.

One of the home areas we’ve worked on is the back yard.  Initially very rough dirt and grass, several years ago we did landscaping — including having stone walkways and an Italian style arbor built. The first year yellow jasmine planted to cover the arbor died during a harsh winter but was replanted last spring and has managed now to covered two corners of the arbor.  It’s already attracting a multitude of butterflies and we hope it will meet in the middle this summer to also provide needed shade.

The rest of the plants and bushes planted during the landscaping are also reaching a level of maturity that’s beginning to match our original visions of a backyard we could enjoy and one which would provide us pleasure from it’s functionality and beauty.

So here’s to “good bones,” recognizing them and making them fit your own personal vision — in photography or elsewhere.

Above are photos made of and from our own backyard this spring.



16 Comments on Starting with “good bones”

  1. Wow, Earl, you and Bonnie have done an awesome job. I love it when I know people take the time to enhance, improve and maintain their homes. Love the images and of course the butterflies catch my attention. Glad to see you have the Colorado state flower, the Columbine. All of our flowers are white right now, so I’m loving this images. :-)
    Monte Stevens recently posted… April 16th’s Snow Report

    • Monte, thanks. I’ll give Bonnie the vast majority of credit for driving this project. Cool, I didn’t realize the Columbine was Colorado’s state flower. If I could box up some of this spring we’re having and send it to you I certainly would. :-)

  2. This is a nice series, Earl. It looks like you may be starting to get your “groove” back.

    This message ties in with your thoughts on maintaining your equipment properly from “Sometimes I Listened.” I think it is very important to start with “good bones” in many aspects of our lives. Whether it is a house, a lawnmower or a camera, having a good basic starting point is important, so we don’t spend all our time trying to make the tools do what they should have been designed to do properly in the first place.

    It sounds like you have added gradually and tastefully (we’ll give Bonnie credit for the good taste :) ) to your landscaping over the last few years. Add a little, stand back and see how it looks, then add some more as needed. Eventually you have what you wanted, and you have created your own “good bones.”
    Tom Dills recently posted… April Wallpaper

    • Tom, When you clear 60 there are lots of “grooves” you can seem to get rid of. But of what you were speaking of, yes, I’m feeling a little more enthusiasm for photography these days.

      I agree there was a connection with that past post…I guess my mind is running along that track these days.

      Of course you nailed it about Bonnie having the good taste. Of course I can always fall back on the fact that she also picked me! :-)


  3. I like the idea of ‘good bones’. Lovely bunch of images also.
    LensScaper recently posted… Fence Line

  4. I don’t know how your house looked when you started, but I’ve seen in its current state and, well, you’ve done a heck of a job, Earl. You and Bonnie! It’s a beautiful home!
    Paul recently posted… Foot fascination

    • Hi Paul, the house was in fairly good shape when we bought it, nice general floor plan and all, but very dated and not at all our taste. The only room we haven’t redone now is the laundry room — the only room we initially liked — no plans for it! :-) Thanks, we appreciate that!

  5. It can be hard to get that complete vision when it is all filled in, but boy does it give a great feeling when it does start to take shape. It was this way with the pond we put in. Rather bare and artificial looking to start, but once nature grew in, it really started looking like I first envisioned it.
    Mark recently posted… Reverse Image Search

    • Mark, thanks. You absolutely right. This has been the first year I’ve really seen and felt we were approaching our initial vision for the backyard, and it been about four years. It takes patients doesn’t it, but it can pay off.

      Of course Bonnie’s already got additional plans for other parts of the backyard now. ;-)

  6. I like your metaphor and your pictures are beautiful. As for your home, it looks not only lovely but lovingly cared for too.
    Cedric Canard recently posted… A fresh start

  7. I think a good photographer has an advantage in finding the “good bones” because their vision is usually open to more than just the obvious. They see potential and I can see from your photos that you saw it as well. It looks like a great place to call home.
    ken bello recently posted… Kent Park Arboretum

    • Thanks, Ken. I agree with you. However I’ve noticed on occasion as a photographer I’ve been so focused on spotting the obscure I’ve totally missed obvious things. Those are usually the moments Bonnie says…”Hey, did you see that!” :-)

  8. I used to do a log of running and cycling in my younger days, and I liken shooting a new subject to the “warming up” period people go through in sports. At first the shooting feels strange, almost forced, then, after 10-15 minutes I feel nice a loose and the ideas flow and I get to a stage where I don’t want to stop photographing a subject. I guess that’s similar to your “good bones” metaphor…

    Very nice series!
    John – Visual Notebook recently posted… Irises in Monochrome

    • John, thanks. I also often experience “being in the moment of photography” when things just seem to flow. I believe those moments is what keeps me shooting. :-)

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