Saturday, January 23, 2010

more winter scenes

More winter scenes from this outing last week.  I have been trying really hard to capture winter this year, mostly because it is really hard, esp. when it looks so drab at times.  (It might look drab because there is no sun, or at least no mood in light, but that is still just a theory I am testing.) How do you encompass the feel of the cold, the difficulty of walking in the snow and frozen boogers in a single photo?  Here I just looked for little moments and took them as that.

One of my favorite ways to tell a story about a place is to include people in that place enjoying it. Add a human element into a picture and it gains “place” and “meaning” instantly…well at least in my book.  I tried that here, even talked to the first couple below to see if I could photograph and post their images.

Monday, January 18, 2010

hoar frost? yah that

I guess I spoke to soon, the phenomenon mentioned earlier came back, and we looked it up and it is known to some as Hoar Frost (or Radiation Frost, but that just sounds a little more boring to me.) I made Sarah drive to church yesterday as I snapped a couple more photos out the window.

Today it was back again, but not as spectacular. Sarah and I went for a drive into the country anyway, really glad we did.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

behind the scenes

The behind the scenes from Dottie’s portrait session continues on with the Importance of light theme I have been playing with. All of the photos were taken with natural light, similar to my sister in this coffee shop. Since I wanted a really soft look and I didn’t have a 6 foot soft box, I just placed Dottie on the table next to a big sliding glass door and shot away, the black drape just makes it look cleaner. (look at the catch lights in her eyes!) Like I have said before, subject and timing mean a lot more than light, yes light is good but it is always trumped.

Sorry if you feel like I am beating a dead horse, since I have done so many posts on the subject of light…maybe I should move on. But that would assume I have learned the lesson, it always seems to slip out of my mind though.

baby dottie

Tina’s follow-up portraits from here, these now have Dottie on the outside of mommy.
Nothing else needs saying..

Saturday, January 16, 2010

silver trees

Sarah and I were driving around town this morning and found that the mix of light fog, rain and around freezing temps created a cool look on some of the trees around our place. After Breakfast I drove out to a large park only to find that it was more of an isolated event. After I got over my disappointment I did find one tree that resembled what we found earlier. I guess it shows you that if you see something good, grab it, it might not be there when it is convenient.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

sisters coffee

So after Urbana 09, my sister-in-law came home with us (she too attended) and spent the week with us. It was a nice week of movies, relaxing and coffee shops. Here is a string of images from one such adventure in lazy recovery.

This is also another example of the importance of light. There is a large bank of windows behind me bathing her in great soft light. Our closeness to the window makes the light fall off (or get darker) as you look farther behind her. I am beginning to love this light but still struggling to see its beauty before I photograph it. But as a tag to the importance of light, I don’t want to let that overshadow the greater importance of timing and subject. Here the timing tells the story and the subject makes it fun, without this it is just light. A great subject and perfect timing can overshadow bad light, just look at most people’s family photo albums.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

picnic point…but no picnicking

Steve S. and I went for a little photo walk the other day out in the snow to Picnic Point here in Madison. Obviously there were no picnickers out in the cold. Like my last post about light, it made all the difference when the sun was hitting my subject(s) and just really made the images pop. In fact, the images I took when the sun was hiding behind a cloud didn’t make it into this batch, they just didn’t look as good.

Friday, January 8, 2010

importance of light

So here is a great example of the importance of light. I took these two images back to back, separated by only 10 seconds; the only difference is the light. It was a cloud filled day, meaning that there were constantly great big beautiful clouds drifting through the sky. Any guesses which photo was taken when a cloud passed in front of the sun?

One of the first things I learned as a nature photographer was that if the sun is not hitting your subject directly because of clouds, DO NOT INCLUDE THE SKY in your photo. The sky is too bright compared to the shaded landscape, so the sky goes all white. Now if there are clouds in the sky they are actually acting light a huge soft box (or lamp shade) that makes shadows pleasing to the camera and makes colors POP, so take advantage of those days…but just don’t include the bright sky!! There you go, the secrets I had to learn over a couple years in one lesson! Oh, the other end of this is to start off with good light, and the easiest way to do that is to get your lazy butt out of bed and catch the morning light…oh I wish I wasn’t so lazy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Urbana 09 scenes

Even though my Job at Urbana was not photo related I still took my camera with me…did you expect any less? The long walk from my hotel room to the back of the dome provided several opportunities to see students (and some staff) milling around during registration, at the book store, missions booths (Global Conexions) and other random intervals.