Sun in the sky…

you know how I feel.

DSC_3902-2It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

That’s the thing about life.

No matter what the day or the week has brought, if you’re waking up to a new dawn, you’re one of the lucky ones.

A friend of mine said that it’s about reframing how you react to the things that happen to you.

As a photographer, it’s the perfect metaphor. The same image can be framed so many different ways and my inner voice always says “there” when I’ve got it just right.

Click…

Finally…

it’s winter again!

DSC_3681There are very few really stark black and white stories.

Jim Lehrer

As the first storm of the season blankets what remains of fall I can feel inspiration seeping from every pore.

I’m a child of winter.

All of my major life events have occurred in the winter months.

The snow swirls and floats outside my window and I’m reminded of those snow globes that contain tiny little worlds encased in permanent blizzards.

I can’t wait to begin another winter series…

 

Winter…

blues.

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The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.

Wassily Kandinsky

This week I felt the first brush of winter and it sent me rushing outside to attempt the first “frozen” of the season.

All around me I hear mutterings from people mourning the loss of summer but all I can think of is…soon.

This season brings with it a partnership with nature and I can’t wait to see what creations I can capture.

I’m ready…bring it!

Wind scoured snow…

and a hint of sun. Perfect for a winter landscape!

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Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.

Ansel Adams

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last two weeks going through images, updating my website, and having prints made.

If you haven’t done something like that in a while it is really quite interesting.

It can go several ways I suppose. You might look back and think that it’s time to just put the camera on the shelf or start using it as a paper weight OR you might come away feeling energized. Hopefully it will be the latter!

For me it was a two-part process; deciding on prints that I really liked and then seeing how they looked in print. That did not always go in the way that I had expected. There were surprises in both directions. Some required more attention when it came to the edit while others just seemed to lose something on paper. Explore how things look printed on different paper. I tend to favor matte and for images like this one, Somerset Velvet fine art paper made it really special.

I’ve learned a lot more about handling RAW files and feel more comfortable with what needs to happen to them before they are ready to print. I pay a lot more attention to my histogram especially when it comes to shooting things like infrared. There’s no substitute for it especially when you’re out in the bright light and can’t see your screen. If you are not used to using it, bracket some shots and then compare each one to the histogram when you get home. Learn how it needs to look to make the shot that you’re envisioning.

Ultimately though it had the effect of refocusing me. I don’t feel the need to photograph everything but look for those special moments that pop up like today’s image. Moments that won’t ever look quite the same again. I was glad that I had opted to bring my camera and a lens change with me.

Snowboarding through the trees I was aware of the sun occasionally and ever so slightly breaking through the clouds; not staying for long but adding that one special element that I needed for this winter landscape shot.

The snow was windswept. It still clung to the trees from the storm the night before: the direction of the wind was evident. It was much calmer today but the occasional gust sent showers of snowflakes from these trees through the air.

Making a mental note of this spot I looped back around to the chair hoping to be able to get back before conditions changed too much. Racing down on my next run I stopped, mindful of being in a “safe” spot where I could be seen by others should they come downhill following a similar line. Sheltering my camera in my coat I dialed in the settings, removed the lens cap but kept the lens pointed down so that it didn’t get spotted with snow… and I waited.

When the next brief flash of sun came, I took my shot. I think this might become one of my twelve shots for the year and it was the icing on the cake after a good morning of riding.

How’s your crop coming for the year? Does it need watering?

Here comes the sun…

and it made for a fun day of play!

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If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.

Jay Maisel

It’s been a very overcast winter for the most part here in the Inland Northwest so when it finally cleared up, the night-time temperature dropped, scattering frost over the damp ground and trees.

I like to mix things up, change my lens, change my settings, change my position, and take full advantage of light conditions.

Having a few days of sunshine has made me want to play with lens flare and ghosting; using them intentionally to add a different element to my shots.

These effects occur when a bright light source hits the front element of  lens creating haze and artifacts due to internal reflections within the lens.

Days like this one, shooting in a very specific way, are always highly interesting to me. I learn so much about the possibilities and have a really good time just playing with my gear.

It reminds me to continue exploring each and every piece of gear in my bag and to think about how I can present something differently from the person standing next to me. Granted, different is NOT always better but these times of exploration are invaluable and often lead to something new.

This technique reminds me of spattering watercolor paint from a brush onto a painting except with a lens you have more control. Although I prefer this image in mono I left it in color because the artifacts show up more clearly.

Take advantage of each day and whatever it offers and don’t for one minute leave your camera at home because you think that there will be nothing to shoot…

Reflecting on winter…

and its stark, magical beauty.

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The job of the color photographer is to provide some level of abstraction that can take the image out of the daily.

Joel Sternfeld

One of the things that I love about winter is the light. Certainly we have many days when it’s overcast and you wonder if you will ever again see a color other than gray but then just before you put the camera away, you turn around…

A gentle, soft wash of color glowing on an open stretch of water and repeated in the sky low towards the horizon as the day draws to an end.

This for me is the time for color photography. I photographed many aspects of this scene, quickly before the light was lost. In one, a heron stood at the water’s edge patiently waiting for something to catch his eye. In another, a wide-angle shot of the water and bank. And then there were the shots of pure reflection, taken of trees upside down with their blankets of snow still clinging to them.

The winter months seem to have a different quality to the light, perhaps in part due to the reflective quality of the white snow.

This is the time I most often see alpen glow on the mountains opposite to the sunrise or sunset. If you’ve never experienced this, it’s a sight to see with intense pinks and oranges lighting up the mountain tops.

Winter landscape photography is more challenging due to the working temperatures and access but I can’t get enough of it’s constantly changing beauty.

I don’t long for spring and will find continue to find joy in every winter day…

Ten years ago it wouldn’t have occurred to me…

to find beauty in something so simple.

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

This winter more so than others I have been drawn to high key, white on white imagery that just seems to showcase the season so well.

There is a complexity to snow that you might not notice if you only look at it as something to be endured.

It can be hard and crystalline or soft and undulating. It can form pristine flakes or pelt the ground with fertilizer sized pellets called graupel or grail.

Years ago I would not have had the confidence to post an image of such simplicity but to me, in this stage of my journey, this image brings me such a feeling of satisfaction.

I believe that a connection to subject matter is integral to being able to fully express that one moment.

In a busy, imagery fueled world, I find myself drawn to that which doesn’t share every detail but leaves a story just on the fringes of it.

What do you believe? Where do you find beauty?