Feb 18 2017

The Art of Composing

Melissa Crytzer Fry

com·po·si·tion (n).  The artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture.

I loved the way the reed floating on the water broke the plane of the concentric circle created by the ring-necked duck's butt wiggle. Click to enlarge.

I loved the way the reed floating on the water broke the plane of the concentric circle created by the ring-necked duck’s butt wiggle. Click to enlarge.

Full disclosure to anyone who might be reading my blog (I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve all disappeared since it’s been so long since my last post)…

The words I’ve been composing have not come to me quite so quickly as of late, but I was reminded of the uncanny similarities between photography and writing last week during an outing to a riparian area in Arizona with my photography instructor and other shutter bugs.

This male mallard continued bobbing beneath as I patiently waited to get beaded water on his head when he emerged. Click to enlarge.

When I saw this male mallard  bobbing beneath the surface, I was hopeful he’d reemerge with water beads clinging to his feathers. He did not disappoint. Click to enlarge.

It’s all about capturing the perfect scene — either with words or through the lens.

Grackles aren't the most stunning birds in the aviary kingdom, but I loved the angles and starkness of this photo -- kind of Halloweeny and spooky. Click to enlarge.

Grackles aren’t the most stunning birds in the aviary kingdom, but I loved the angles and starkness of this photo — kind of Halloweeny and spooky. Click to enlarge.

We’re all trying to tell a story with our art, aren’t we?

I’ve also learned that the act of photography, which I (sadly) did little of in 2016, has a tremendous impact on my creativity overall, often adding a boost to my writing. And frankly, shooting photos just makes me happy!

If you click to enlarge, you can see the TINY feet of this male Anna's hummingbird gripping this branch.

If you click to enlarge, you can see the TINY feet of this male Anna’s hummingbird gripping this branch.

Loved the 'double duck' reflection. These guys were VERY photogenic. Click to enlarge.

Loved the ‘double duck’ reflection. These guys were VERY photogenic. Click to enlarge.

The goal is to do much more shutter snapping over the course of 2017. And, of course, to continue pounding the keyboard, even on those days that it offers frustration vs. the frenzy of flowing words.

For Writers, Readers, Everyone: What stories are you trying to tell? What fiction have you read lately with the perfectly composed scenes and structure? How are you keeping your creativity fueled?

 


15 Responses to “The Art of Composing”

  • avatar Nina Says:

    I’m trying to figure out the story I’m trying to tell STILL. But on a positive note I’ve realized that answer to that question changes every few years and that’s okay.

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Ahh – but that’s part of our journey — each of us — figuring out our story!

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  • avatar Donna F Says:

    Glad to see your post!

    I love your photos! What lens did you use? You may have no desire to do so, but have you ever considered submitting any to National Geographic’s photo contests? Yours are lovely! They make me want to grab my camera and start snapping pictures. ?

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Hi Donna. You humble me with your compliments. Thank you. I WISH I were a NatGeo photographer; I have much to learn! But I agree – you SHOULD grab your camera and start snapping! So much fun.

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  • avatar Sue Mitchell Says:

    Glad to see you post again, Melissa. I have always enjoyed your photos and posts. My creativity and my contact with nature — the two things that theoretically are most important to me — are both being slighted right now (can you say “full-time job”?) so seeing you re-emerge has given me hope that I can do the same soon!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Oh Sue, I hear you. Last year was not good for me on the creativity and nature side of things — in the respect that there just wasn’t enough of either. (I am NOT kidding; was just thinking of you the other day and thinking about – sadly – how many folks I’ve lost contact with since the heyday of Twitter and blogging. SO glad to see you here)! And wishing you the best in your reemergence! Are you blogging at all? I looked and couldn’t find you!)

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    Sue Mitchell Reply:

    No, I put my coaching business and blog on hold so I could focus on finishing up my teaching career. I had been teaching part-time and self-employed part-time but needed to get some big income years to maximize my teaching retirement. (Ha ha, “big income” and “teaching” in the same sentence!) I hope to retire in June 2018 and then will get back to writing, coaching, nature and all those things that I miss so much! I do get in some writing and nature here and there but nowhere near as much as I’d like.

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  • avatar Cherry harris Says:

    Melissa , would you believe I thought of you just the other day . Where was the lady who lives on the edge of the Arizona desert ( am I right ?) and then you poppped up on my screen. Where have you been ? …probably doing life like all of us . ( gosh that sounds like you’ve been locked up I’m sure you haven’t?)
    What gorgeous photos , I love the way you photograph the atmosphere as well as the subject …favourite one has to be the duck an the water droplets ????
    Cherryx

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    You were right — except I don’t live on the edge of the desert, I live right smack-dab IN it :-). Yes, I’ve been “doing life”– ha ha — I love your description. How are YOU, Cherry? Still taking walks and enjoying the outdoors?

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  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    I’m currently on a three-month sabbatical (Jan-Mar) in a (rural, undisclosed location, where I only have internet connection on Tuesdays when I go to the library.

    I was delighted to see a post notification for your blog in my email. Great to see you! Beautiful photos, beautiful post!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Oh, Laurie. I love that you’re taking a sabbatical and staying away from the Internet all but one day of the week! Yay for you. On an untreated note — years ago you wrote a post about the big bowls you used to make your meals. Do you know where I can get something like that? I might have already asked… I want some for giant salads! 😉 Hope you’re well and creatively musing about!

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    Laurie Buchanan Reply:

    Melissa — I know the exact post you’re talking about. Here’s a link: https://tuesdayswithlaurie.com/2014/12/30/buddha-bowl/.

    A huge proponent of “repurpose, reuse, reclaim,” I got that bowl at a resale shop.

    I can assure you experientially, that over the years I’ve discovered THE BEST kitchen items (and other items as well) at resale shops.

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  • avatar linda anselmi Says:

    Wonderful photos! I love the drops of water on the duck and all the texture detail in its down!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thanks, Linda. I was pretty excited that the droplets came out. Thanks for RTing on Twitter! Hope you’re reading something good right now and snapping your own pics :-).

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  • avatar Leah Singer Says:

    Beautiful photos! And so happy to read your writing again.

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