Dianna Donnelly of Canna Clarity: “Carry your camera with you at all times”

Carry your camera with you at all times. You can always attempt to replicate a scene but you can never recapture that magic. In addition, practice practice practice. Pics can always be deleted and I’ve captured magical pics without even knowing they were magical until I began to edit and publish. As a part of my […]

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Carry your camera with you at all times. You can always attempt to replicate a scene but you can never recapture that magic. In addition, practice practice practice. Pics can always be deleted and I’ve captured magical pics without even knowing they were magical until I began to edit and publish.

As a part of my series about “5 Strategies To Take Stunning Photos” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dianna Donnelly.

Dianna Donnelly is an internationally regarded writer well known for her work on plant medicine. She’s also a passionate home gardener as well as consultant with a professional history that plants keep popping up in! She’s long been known as the one to go to with any questions about growing — and recently her stunning photos of all kinds of plants in all kinds of growth stages has been drawing attention.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As a writer, I strive to use words so well that visions appear inside the reader’s mind. However, four years ago my writing pivoted from dozens of articles about Cannabis law reform and patient rights to my Boveda Home Grow Journal. I’m here to say that lack of education or equipment should not delay new photographers! Photography skills can be honed swiftly. So much of photography is logical and uses common sense that if you have a smartphone, you can shine on any platform! Feedback and a love of the subject builds your confidence. I’ve recently been told that my photography on IG inspired a grower to enrich their love of the plant. With this in mind, let’s discuss how to take great pics with almost any device or skill level.

In this case, from necessity came craft and a swiftly evolving set of best practices that continue to help me achieve good photography. Like pretty much all other skill sets, this one still grows daily by nothing more or less than practice.

As alluded to above, the majority of my early published writing was about patient rights and Cannabis law reform which didn’t demand photographs to make my point. However, when I was hired to write the Boveda Home Grow Journal I was urged to include pics of my set up & my wee greens. (any chance we can link to this for relevance to illustrate the evolution of my skills?) What I now find humorous is that this 15 part journal shows the progression of my personal photography skills. This first segment is a ‘what not to do’! I’m embarrassed by some of the photos but the steps to learning are what they are.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Since starting to use my own photography for my writing, a few very interesting things have occurred. Firstly, I can take good pics even though I hold no education on the subject. Secondly and more interesting is how I’ve experienced a bit of an unveiling of my vision when it comes to my photography.

To explain, I took a really great pic of this new growth on one of my cactus plants. It was up on IG for days before I looked at it again, and realized that there was a little Aphid hiding inside that growth. What is interesting was how in that millisecond, I couldn’t unsee that which I previously couldn’t see at all.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first began putting myself out there on camera, I was working as a Cannabis Counselor at Canadian Cannabis Clinics. I’d guide newly legal Cannabis patients by day and blog about it by night. My niece Madelyn even gave me the Superhero name Canna-Girl! Some of my first YT videos are a lesson in what not to do. Yet, one made four years ago titled “Anxiety Sucks!! CBD Helps!” has gotten 4700 views. Reading the comments gives you a clue as to why I do these personal testimonials. However, these three tips would’ve helped improve it immensely:
1) look at the lens not your own eyes
2) place camera at nose level or higher
3) face your sun! Lighting is everything.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

My photography is a celebration of nature. I’ve been told by multiple viewers that they didn’t know plants could do this or look like that. I express this same thought numerous times a week as well so in my case, I give all credit for standing out to my subject matter. However, I’d also give credit to my parents for raising me in a way that encourages that I partner with nature — not against it. In that respect, my curiosity is never-ending and ever-evolving. Free will is a big thing right now and I marvel over how, if given free will, plants will do incredible things. Some examples are my Morning Glory’s which I call botanical sycophants because they can grow inches daily, strategically wrapping themselves around absolutely anything above. And likewise, a new plant named Lofos is doing the very same thing but to the Morning Glory’s. Admittedly, I’m routinely guilty of interfering by using positive reinforcement and showing them where they CAN wrap. In the end, I think my photos stand out because I notice things that others might not. Oddly, this “eye” has gotten sharper as my actual eyesight has gotten weaker so I’m grateful for the zoom feature daily.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Nods once again to my folks for this motto:

“Work smart~not hard!” > Convert this to photography and I’d say, take many pics from many different angles with and without the flash. You can easily delete but can never truly recapture that visual moment in time and the reenactment is never as good as that first time.

Also, I’d say that there’s a reason why we began doing this “catching a moment in time” thing. For myself, it fired me up in good times and that fired me up in sad times. So I try not to box my photography in. I often take pics that have no hope of making it outside of my device that then speak to me in some way afterwards. Maybe capturing those moments is part of keeping that zest for photography zesty.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

As mentioned, my subject material is plants and fungi so I must thank my parents and my rural neighbors growing up who set the bar for botanical beauty very high. My folks partnered with nature and so it was a natural path to follow and from an epigenetic standpoint, horticulture is definitely marked upon my genes.

In a more literal sense, I’d thank my hubby who actually took an elective photography course and therefore helps me whenever needed.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Several months ago I happened upon a piece of artwork called the ‘great awakening map’ (greatawakeningmapdotco) which is a ten year compilation of paranormal and woo-woo for those existentialists who still wonder why we’re here and where we’re heading. Through various topics on this map, specifically the “Law of One” (lawofonedotinfo & llresearchdotorg/), I’ve begun to realize the power of pyramids. Thus, my current projects include bundles of 8 bbq sticks and a glue gun!

Pyramidology is not new as humans have been using these shapes to preserve food and dairy for a very long time. In fact, in 2012/13 a paper titled “Pyramid shape power as a new halal-compliant food preservation and packaging technique”. This paper in Elsevier outlines multiple other studies conducted where pyramid power kept razor blades sharp (1959), preserved dairy, changed the pH of water and several other amazing feats.

I currently have several in my grow tent and have just placed one near the fruit bowl to try to deter fruit flies! How does this help my photography? Within one week of having my DIY pyramid over one of my struggling seedlings, the green hue has returned, and she has quadrupled in size. Pyramid Power might be to the plant what a Reiki session is to the human, bringing out that natural beauty.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I am a rebellious seed-saver and so many of my friends were gifted Marigold and Morning Glory seeds from my own balcony plants. I’ve also gifted many plant cuttings in the past few years and am really happy to be known in my many communities as the person to contact for help with all-things plant medicine including growing, dosing, and product/ingestion choice. My company Canna Clarity offers these and many other services so I should charge people but I rarely do. For me, intangible payment comes when they see relief and benefit from plant medicine. And every person I help builds my knowledge so I can help more people.

Can you share “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Take Stunning Photos”. Please an example for each.

  1. Where’s the Sun? Lighting is everything so always make sure that you’re using all lighting to your advantage. Sometimes all you have to do is switch positions or angles. I usually take pics with flash on and off as well.
  2. Carry your camera with you at all times. You can always attempt to replicate a scene but you can never recapture that magic. In addition, practice practice practice. Pics can always be deleted and I’ve captured magical pics without even knowing they were magical until I began to edit and publish.
  3. Check the entire scene — not just the subject matter! The first segment of the Boveda Home Grow Journal includes a pic of my beautiful clones the moment they arrived, but I left the no-name pop bottle in the background. We’ve all seen the oopsy pics of personal items in view but today we also have to be wary of infringing upon others’ privacies when outdoors.
  4. Selfie-Check! Camera at nose level or higher, look into the lens (not your eyes), & face the light.
  5. Get weird! Take micro and macro shots, off-centre shots, and pics that zero in on a particular portion of your subject matter. These usually turn out to be quite magnificent from a “sum and its parts” perspective.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As mentioned above with my bbq stick pyramids, I’m learning how to manipulate energy while here. One of the ways to do that is through manifestation. Every single action taken begins with a thought or a mental vision. The theory is that if you visualize something enough times, you will create that reality. My current mantra is this:

“I’m SO happy to be calling in my 100 acres with an underground spring, a small pond, and a modest house.”

I have no idea how this will happen but I absolutely hope to start a movement all over the planet. My husband and I are both visualizing different aspects of our property in order to amplify our efforts and cover all bases — the Universe isn’t a mind-reader after all 🙂 Our home will be modest but will expand to have workshops, greenhouses, and a large Yurt in which to work, teach, heal, and learn about plant medicine. The Yurt shape — like the pyramid shape — facilitates healing in such a special way that there is even a patent on pyramid shape for healing and relaxation purposes.

We will grow and sell produce and fungi with the help of pyramid-power but we’ll also teach and provide space for others to grow their own. Some produce will be bartered or gifted to others. We will also become designated growers of Medical Cannabis for as many patients as legally possible and hold seasonal workshops and work bees to process what we grow for preservation and possible sale.

The pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is a self-sustainable, functioning tiny home community that grows a majority of the food we eat. We will practice barter systems and reclaim what it means to be pack animals. Hit me up if you have property or startup funds you’d like to donate!

My city has been having a housing crisis for several years. Last summer, the old golf course became a homeless camp. From outside it looked grim; but inside was an intricate system of aid and agreement between humans much like what we’d call a community. My friend Peter was seen as the elder, therapist, and nightly entertainment when his arthritic fingers allowed. He had purpose there. I believe that when we dismantle these established ecosystems, we systematically weaken the framework of our own humanity.

My vision is unity and I am manifesting it as I type. Dear readers, your power is great. Wanna help? Visualize what I’m describing. Several times each day I visualize myself in the middle of a huge garden surrounded by dozens of other vegetable gardens. I hear voices so I turn my head and see friends with kids running towards me with soon-to-be filled baskets. I smell horses and dairy-yielding livestock and I hear the chickens debating barnyard politics. I smile and get back to taking stunning pics of every single wee green. I love you!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/CannaClarity

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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