As I look out my window this morning, the first big winter storm of the new year is packing a big punch. Many people have the day off but, for others, no such luck. With schools closed, it’s time to get outdoors and have fun in the snow, sliding on a favorite hill or heading to the Snow Bowl for a rare day of powder skiing. Getting outdoors to take a few pictures can produce some fun photos and there are a few tricks you can try to make sure you get nice, white snow.
If you are using an all automatic camera or an SLR on auto mode, then your results will be at the mercy of the camera setting. Often times the snow in a selected scene tends to be in the grayish blue part of the light spectrum and a bit too dark. Why is this you ask? The light meter in your camera tends to do a bit of averaging in order to compensate for all the light falling on your cameras digital sensor and this averaging produces a scene that may not look the way you hoped. So, how do you remedy the problem?
The easiest way is to change the camera mode from automatic to manual. This often scares some people because taking pictures in manual mode may seem too difficult. It really isn’t difficult and can make your results that much better. Once on manual mode, select your scene and then adjust your light meter for a proper exposure. Remember, your light meter is still doing an average of all the light in the frame and you must then make an adjustment before you snap the picture.
That adjustment is very easy. Your camera has f stops that control the aperture or amount of light falling on the sensor. To make sure the snow in your photo is nice and white, open up the aperture by one or two f stops. This will allow more light to fall on the sensor and produce beautiful results. This adjustment will work best on days after a snow storm and the skies have cleared. The fresh snow, bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine will be waiting for you to take that perfect winter picture. Have fun!
We’ve all come across old photos of family and friends only to find them showing the effects of aging. The usual problems result in fading, discoloration, and often times cracks that appear in all the wrong places. Disappointment and sometimes heartbreak can create a sense of loss that can’t seem to be recovered. This happened to me when my brother found a picture of our grandfather all decked out in his Sunday best in a remarkable pose. I never knew my grandfather because he passed away when I was just a year old. The picture said a lot about him that made me wish that I could have known more about him and his interests. The condition of the photo wasn’t too bad but it definitely needed some attention. After sitting down at the computer and reworking the photo to correct all of the signs of aging, I ended up with a photo of my grandfather that is now as good as or better than the original. This got me to thinking that there are photos like mine in every family. Wouldn’t it be nice to dig out these treasures and have them restored so future generations can enjoy looking at the past without being disappointed with the quality of these photos? Most of us have these pictures stored in shoeboxes where they never see the light of day. Saving them in an archived restored digital format for easy access and printing can be very rewarding.
If you have been meaning to do something about some of your old family photos, then contact me and let’s see if we can properly restore these pictures to their former condition. Imagine these photos proudly displayed once again, creating new memories for you and your family.
Living at nine thousand feet above sea level presents challenges that are much different than you might think. First of all is the weather. Even though the TV stations broadcast the latest forecasts, they rarely include the high country. Today is a glorious day with brilliant sunshine and frigid temperatures, but the intense sun is working hard to warm things up. Did I forget to tell you that already there is foot of snow on the ground? As I sit here, I can see the wind blowing freshly fallen snow off the mountain peaks into the backlit blue sky. Down here in the valley chimneys are pouring wood smoke straight up into the dazzling wild blue yonder. The crystals in the snow are glistening in the bright sunlight creating a winter wonder. Having lived by the ocean for most of my life and loved the beauty of the Maine coast, I can see the same sense of wonder and beauty in the mountains of Colorado.
Another challenge in the high country is breathing. The air is definitely thinner and adjusting to the new altitude takes several days. Simple things like climbing stairs can or hiking can quickly cause fatigue. Once acclimated these symptoms disappear and life returns to normal. I’ll give this a test tomorrow by venturing out skiing for the first time this year. I might not last long, but I know it will be fun.
The final challenge I have encountered in the high country is cooking. I never realized how long it takes to boil water. Last night I made a delightful shrimp/artichoke casserole. It’s a good thing I started early or dinner would have been late. Modifying recipes to account for increased cooking time is a must. If the recipe says it will take forty minutes, plan on sixty.
As you can see, life here is an adjustment and learning all the tricks can be….well, tricky! Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how the skiing is in my next post.
Pet photography comes with all kinds of challenges and getting the right pose will often seem impossible. Dogs are usually easier to work with than most other pets, but even they can cause frustration. Years ago I photographed a high school senior who was an avid horse lover. She wanted a portrait of her with her horse. I showed up and expected that it would be an easy shoot. How wrong I was. Every time I tried to pose the two of them together the horse wouldn’t cooperate and shied away every time I raised the camera to take a picture. The owner was quite surprised and had no explanation for this unusual behavior. I thought perhaps the camera was spooking the horse and tried to pose the two of them together without the camera. It didn’t make any difference. The horse just wouldn’t get anywhere near me regardless of the camera. After several failed attempts, I almost said forget the horse. The day was a bit on the breezy side and, while still contemplating a solution, a gust of wind suddenly blew my hat off my head. What happened next was a complete surprise to me and the owner. The horse calmly walked over to the girl and assumed the pose we were looking for. After all the attempts to get the horse in the picture, it turned out that the camera wasn’t the issue at all. It was my hat! For some reason the horse just didn’t like my hat and decided not to cooperate. Needless to say, we all had a good laugh and I was then able to shoot many great pictures of the girl with her horse. That’s the challenge of photographing pets. Sometimes it can be the most trivial thing that creates a trust issue.
The tail end of November is fast approaching and I can already smell the turkey. That means the Christmas holiday rush is about to begin. Just when we’ve gotten over all the political hype and collected our breath, along come the ads to buy, buy, buy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the craziness can seem overwhelming. We will be spending the holidays with our new granddaughter and, yes, we will most likely get into buying gifts for her and our family. After all, that is part of the spirit of Christmas and it would look unnatural with no gifts under the tree. So … what is my point here you ask? These holidays need to be remembered. I’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures that will preserve all the fun that will later be translated into memories. The gifts, cards, parties and egg nog are all part of the fun, but nothing is more important than family. Preserve your memories as well and Happy Holidays!