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Creative Photography with the Jeep Filter, Part Two

The other night I had an individual photography lesson with a student and, just as we were packing up, a deluge poured down upon us. We said goodbye and made a dash for cover. From the protection of my car, I immediately noticed the sparkling beauty of the lights through the rain-splattered windshield and was reminded of the very creative Jeep Filter (only this time it was the Mazda Filter).

After positioning my car in the right spot, I grabbed my camera and started photographing the amazing colours and patterns that were forming in front of me. I focused on the windshield, on the distant lights and sometimes on the space in between. It didn’t matter because a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns emerged no matter what I did.

When I looked at these later on the computer, I was amazed to see creatures, faces and more in many of the images. Some look like little Pac Men, some like ghosts and others, well, it’s kind of like finding faces in the clouds. Your imagination is the only limitation.

What can you see in these photos?

And, did you ever think that a stormy night with a downpour could be so much fun!  Psst! The secret is in having your camera with you all the time!

rain creatures at night
“Hello, Stranger. We are the creatures of a rainy night. Would you like to come and play with us?”


raindrops in the night
When the rain comes out, we like to dance and spin and celebrate the light, and imagine what could be. Do you see the goldfish in the sky?


sparkling lights in the rain
A beluga whale has joined the party, the goldfish is blowing bubbles, and the  creatures of the night are dancing in the street.


An army of electric soldiers await the instructions from their commander above them.
An army of electric soldiers await the instructions from their commander above them.


street lights in the rain
“Let’s all hide under the tree,” they whisper to each other, “and avoid the UFO above us!”


Oh no, the soldiers have all become ghosts!
Oh no, the soldiers have all become ghosts!


out of focus highlights on a rainy night.
“We’re surrounded! The Darkness of the Night wants to overtake us! We will never give up!”


Thoughts for Photographers

Am I losing it? I hope not. Instead, I’m trying to be open to the visual possibilities that emerge. The opportunities to create impressionistic photos are all around us. We just need to be observant and aware of the visual tools we have to work with. In this case, it was simply the use of a shallow depth of field and focusing on different points. The last image has nothing in focus yet it provides interest simply because we are seeing something common in an unusual way.

Often I will head out with my camera with an agenda of doing something creative. The harder I try, the more I fail. I find that creativity is elusive, like the butterfly that settles on your shoulder when you least expect it. But, one thing I’m learning is that when I allow myself to simply play with the camera and the subject in front of me, with no expectation or agenda, I am more likely to create something that I’m pleased with. That is what happened here. No expectation, no agenda, just play. Allowing ourselves the freedom to play is sometimes the hardest thing for us adults.

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