If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.
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…
The job of the color photographer is to provide some level of abstraction that can take the image out of the daily.
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…
this would be a great time to reflect on your own artistic journey.
If I’d had some set idea of the finish line, don’t you think that I would have crossed it years ago?
Going into my second year of weekly blogging I debated about doing the next year in monochromatic but ultimately decided that I don’t like limitations. In my mind, each image clearly dictates its final presentation and rarely do I ever consider publishing a color version and a black and white version at the same time.
My favorite color images are typically the ones that just share a hint of color. I seem to almost physically recoil from images that are too saturated or multi-colored. I suspect it is just an individual thing with how our brains work and how we process information.
I see color very clearly and when color matching for paint or some such thing, I don’t need to carry a color swatch but visualize it and match it from the image in my head. Likewise I rarely measure and can tell just from looking if things will fit, and if they are straight. I clearly missed my calling and should have worked for a moving company!
Numbers on the other hand are for me utterly confusing with the exception of how they relate to photography. Those combinations I find soothing, perhaps because they have such a strong visual result.
As this year draws to a close and sharing from my own personal experience; if you desire to be a photographer or any kind of artist for that matter I can’t stress enough the importance of daily practise. Not only will your creativity increase but because you will become so familiar with your tools, when the opportunity arises for that special image you will be confident in your ability to capture it and bring it to life as you see it.
This will go a long way in helping you to develop your own personal style. I love to look back on images from years ago and visually see where the biggest changes occurred.
A question to ask yourself…do you feel confident in your abilities? If the answer is no, now is the perfect time to make a change and invest in yourself.
May 2016 be filled with joy and inspiration! Where will the new year take you?
And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Fifty two weeks of blogging. Fifty two weeks to link images and words. Fifty two weeks of growth and direction.
When I started this project I wasn’t sure how it would look or where it would take me. I worried that it would become a self-imposed “assignment” that would loom like a dark cloud over my week-end.
The time has literally flown by though and this has become an enjoyable part of my week. Much to my surprise I have never had to struggle through the writing of the post and as an added bonus, I have a lot more clarity on my own direction.
It brings me great pleasure to see people from around the world taking a few minutes out of their day to see what images and words I have shared. Time is in short supply for most of us and I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who have signed up to follow my blog, comment, or just drop in from time to time.
For me this has been a valuable lesson in not having expectations but just going forward and letting things unfold. Do it for yourself first! I know that I harp constantly on creativity and how important is it to feed it but for those of you who struggle with it, I swear that if you make a commitment to yourself to feed your art on a daily basis you will have more inspiration and ideas than you will know what to do with!
Merry Christmas, may the season bring you joy and inspiration and time with those you love… two-legged or four!
are never far away as the season slowly kicks off.
Keep your face always towards sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.
Images like this bring back memories of the most blissful of days. Gliding slowly uphill, keeping a close eye out for fresh powder, pristine and as yet unblemished by those who worship at the church of the chair.
Some may say the idolatry is blasphemous but for one who pays homage to snow in all of its forms I can only say “How much closer to God can you be?” On this day I can recall the silence, it was a day of such bountiful beauty that the spoken word seemed intrusive. It was a day for silence broken only by the whir of the chairlift and the hiss of the board as it slid its way through the fresh snow.
Children of the snow…church of the chair and as a good friend would tell me “When it’s this deep, keep your tip up!”
As she disappeared down through the trees following a line spotted from the chair, I can still hear her laughter pealing like church bells through the silence…
I love to play outside in freezing temperatures; single digits or gentle climbs into the teens will get me up early every time!
When hoar-frost and rime are not readily available, when the patterns on my windshield seem a little haphazard, when snowflakes have become uncooperative, that’s the time when I set up my own winter scenes and wait for Mother Nature to bring it!
It’s a challenging dance. Everything has to be lined up just so; very cold, no wind, superb light, and preferably a blanket of snow.
It’s really a balancing act. First orchestrating the placement of the bubble and then should that be successful you have only seconds to get the shot before any number of catastrophes can occur. Focus is often challenging and ever-changing.
Sometimes I think that the shot that would be the one would be the shot of me taking the shot!
When it all comes together though, it is breathtaking to watch. Each time I am amazed at how the frost patterns bloom and grow on the substrate that I’ve provided. Sometimes floral in their design, other times fern-like. Sometimes hard and directional yet other times faint and tentative.
When asked how do you do that I am often at a bit of a loss to explain. It’s a dance really and for the best results one really does need a willing partner.
We were hit hard with a winter storm this past week; one that communities south of us are still recovering from.
I am happy to be sitting at my desk with the power restored after a few days without. It makes one feel grateful and appreciative for all that we do have. We were warm and toasty, aided by our wood stove. We weren’t hungry. We had candles and flashlights and we were together as a family.
Winter brings these kinds of storms that depending on the timing, can wreak havoc in the Northern climes but you won’t hear me complain.
Winter also brings a beauty with it that is varied and intricate. Always changing the landscape and added a layer of simplicity as it gently blankets the debris left behind in the fall.
With it comes the freezing temperatures that paint everything from trees to windshields with frost; when the sun makes its way up, the world then sparkles as it hits these formations.
When temperatures warm up it creates the perfect atmosphere for snow making. Snow can be clumpy and fast building and at other times precise and crystalline in its structure. Those are the ones that I love to capture, each one unique. One has to work fast though to capture these before they drift away.
One of my favorite times is when I wake up to a world filled with hoar frost which is formed at temperatures below freezing by the direct condensation of water vapor to ice. These structures are amazing and can be tiny or quite large in formation. They remind me of frozen feathers and if you walk through them you can hear a tinkling sound.
I don’t hate winter, I relish the beauty that it will bring to the landscape and the photo opportunities that come with it.
Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
My morning started out with listening to Whiter Shade of Pale; a song that never fails to bring back an abundance of good memories. It also is the song that springs to mind when I am photographing winter scenes.
I love this time of year and find myself working in tandem with mother nature as she throws down the most exquisite frost patterns and formations. There is a fragility to these scenes with conditions changing rapidly and if one blinks…the moment could be lost forever. I find it to be quite a work-out to do justice to what my eyes are seeing especially with light playing such a role in these images. There is never a better time to move around and look from all angles before capturing the moment.
This is a magical time of year when everything is not yet covered in a blanket of snow so fall colors can still blend with the wintry mood and have one last showing.
It is the perfect time to pull out that macro lens and search for the most intimate of landscapes…but bundle up because baby it’s cold outside.
An added note…
As I proof read this prior to publishing, the word fragility leaps off of the page as news begins to filter through about the attacks in Paris. My heart goes out to the people of France.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
Edgar Allan Poe
I have never been accused of lacking in imagination and while sometimes I wake up from a night’s sleep and wonder what on earth?!? other times I wake up with a smile thinking about a grand adventure.
While I find pleasure in the long days and warm nights of summer watching the milky way arc across the night sky my thoughts do begin to drift towards winter. Perhaps that was where this idea came from…not powder but light, not snowflakes but stars.
I recently added a layer program called Perfect Layers to my Lightroom which allows me to blend a couple of images into a composite. I have not been a fan of composite images unless they have been true double exposures and not images intended to trick the viewer but this program allowed me to construct an image that represented a dream…pure fantasy.
I think a vivid imagination is a gift to be treasured and nurtured and honestly …who wouldn’t want to carve out a line spraying stars across the night sky?