Everyone deals with stress differently, some people exercise, some eat, and some get more stressed. I get more stressed. So, when my husband, Rod, announced months before our sons high school graduation that he would like to complete laying the solid maple floors in our family room prior to the party…I got stressed. After spending the past 10 years on a gradual remodel/upgrade to our house including flooring another room of the house, I knew what to expect. The sound of wood being planed, the swift cuts from the chop saw, the repetitious pound of the hammer while each board is laid and the massive amounts of sawdust. I was elated at the possibility of having something other than plywood in our family room. That was two months before the party.
Five days before the party, the chop saw still graced our family room along with stacks of wood and sawdust. More sawdust than they eye could see and it permeated the entire house. I was stressed. Thinking to myself, “I can’t clean so I will shop for food and do anything else to prepare for the party just a few days away!” Rod continued to plane and scrape the 40-year old varnish off the recycled maple. As I continued to stress. Before I knew it, my husband was on his hands and knees hand-planing boards for the precision needed and quality work he is known for. What that meant to me is that the whole flooring process just slowed down. I was about at my wits end with the (lack of) progress when my husband showed me a simple, elegant photo he captured on his iPhone. The photo was of the tight curls from the hand planed strips of wood that covered our room. How do I stay stressed now? My husband found the perfect solution for me to relax, photography. I grabbed my camera, flash unit and remote triggers.
The iPhone photo Rod showed me was excellent, so my challenge was to capture something different but equally as strong in composition. Starting with my 24-120mm lens, I was having difficulty simplifying the subject; too much was in the frame. Even though I can crop on the computer, I prefer to capture the image correct in the camera. So, I switched to my 60mm macro lens. Laying on the floor and shooting at an angle toward the shavings, I didn’t like the extreme shallow depth of field. Then I remembered, because I was shooting such a small subject and using a macro lens the position of the camera needed to be on the same plane as the wood curls. So, I positionedmyself directly above the shavings and started shooting. I really liked the natural light that was coming from our windows as backlight, but would have needed to increase my ISO to continue shooting handheld. So, I placed my wireless flash unit to create a soft side light and reduced the power of the flash. I found a composition I liked and after brushing away a few distracting pieces of sawdust I captured an image that I liked. I did not use my tripod since I was hurrying to get out of Rod’s way. At 1/60 sec, f/4, and ISO 100, I captured the intricate curls from our flooring project. Although I slowed down progress on the floors, I found my stress reliever…photography.