Boppin’ around in the snow.
Some of you might not care about the day-today trials I face, but I’m going to unburden myself right here and now. All winter–and it’s been a fairly snowy one, here in Philadelphia–I have been trying to get a pair of boots onto my daughter. Big, big parenting fail. Her feet just wouldn’t go into the gorram boots. Thus, no frolicking in the snow with my kid.
Mother-in-law to the rescue! She came up this past weekend and had a ginormous pair of boots (really, rainboots, and for a child either a year older, or with serious scuba-flipper feet) in tow. They slid right on (and, it turned out, when I picked her up from the snow, they can slide right off, too…), so out into the fresh snow we went.
I took her down to Valley Green last week to feed the ducks for the first time. I set her down on a rocky spot by the banks of the creek, and she stood there, stock-still, not moving her feet even once, for about twenty minutes. Geese and ducks approached, got disconcertingly close, were distracted as I threw bread at them. No movement whatsoever from The Bean. And that’s how it was today. She’s been pointing out the window at the snow all winter, and I finally get her out there to play in it, and…she stands there. Nothing else.
So we stood in the backyard for a good eight minutes, then started to head in, then retrieved the loose boot, then finished heading in.
When you’re shooting someplace like a snowy field, don’t forget to ramp up your exposure compensation; I went with +2.0EV, and shot 1/160 sec at F5.0, on ISO 200. 24mm. Probably could have closed that f-stop down a bit, as it was a bit on the “generously exposed” side. Lightroom with the save!
I’ve tried to get in the habit of writing up my entries here at the same time each day, to get into a routine and because that’s when my daughter is sleeping and therefore not trying to lick the computer. But on Friday, I was sat on a jury that will be hearing a case for the next seven to ten days, and that pretty much shoots the idea of writing when my daughter is not around to lick the computer. The only other choice? Late evening, after dinner and bedtime.
Here, I’m back to some ice images, and I think this one is a bit reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, from 1952.
One thing is certain, working on these abstract images: when unburdened of the need to accurately represent color, some very interesting things can be done with just the Vibrance slider in Lightroom. That slider will adjust subtle shades of a color much more than already-vibrant shades, so something like ice or snow, which appears mostly white, will undergo a pretty serious transformation of hue based on what the light is imbuing it with; here, the day was wearing on, and the light was becoming a bit warmer, and the resulting image shows that. The shadows, too, where bluer colors lurk, have shifted quite a bit. It’s an interesting tool.
I don’t know why, in an image that is as manipulated as this one, I feel the need to brag that I’m not adding any colors that weren’t there to be brought out from the RAW file. Call it selective pride or something. Still, I’m having fun learning Lightroom better through these experiments.
I think this will be the last of the reflections for a while. I’m sitting here avoiding the State of the Union, scrolling through Lightroom, and finding that I have a bit of a backlog of images I would like to share and blahg blahg blahg a bit about. Plus, as much as I like these images, my attention is being pulled elsewhere by me trying to do two opposite things: (1) clean up my skills in using off-camera flash in portraiture, and (2) figure out more reliable ways to make photographs completely non-representational. I’ve got a theory about that that I’m working on, so I can promise to unload some verbiage on you about that later.
Very well then. I’m sure the state of the union is strong. Recovery, clap, sacrifice, clap, stimulus, clap. Hopefully no one yells “You lie!” or mouths “Not true,” or suggests that Beyonce deserved it more.
mhallphoto Art Photography, Landscapes, Seasons, Winter 24-70mm, art, burn, D300s, dodge, forest, landscape, Lightroom, Philadelphia, photography, seasons, shadow, Sigma, snow, trees, winter, Wissahickon 0
Outside today, it’s grey and slushy and overal-lly crappy…the dreaded Northeast Wintry Mix. No better time, then, to continue on with some of my winter shots that evoke the more pleasant possibilities of the coldest season.
Since yesterday I put up a shot of trees, I thought it might be nice today to post the implication of trees. Rather than posting direct light, I’d post the implication of direct light. I thought I’d also do the unthinkable, and put up a finished image, and the SOOC image it came from (below).
The original has, I think, decent composition, but shooting shadows on snow that is reflecting sunlight is tricky; you have both the dark areas, which you don’t want to completely lose detail, and you have the highlight areas, which are very strongly highlit indeed and in danger of blowing out completely. The histogram is strongly skewed to the right.
After converting to black and white, the first thing I did was adjust exposure, darkening the image so that the highlight area on the right edge of the frame had acceptable definition. But, when this was done, the top left background went nearly complete black, and it took the fence with it. I dropped a graduated filter with a positive exposure setting over that part of the frame, and used an exposure adjustment brush to make sure the fence was properly exposed and showed a bit of its texture, too. A little bit of fill light, and a tweak to the black slider, and you have the image at the top of the post.
This is another great example of how learning the basic darkroom techniques of dodging and burning–not to mention the simple task of evaluating photographs–can lead to a much clearer sense of what to do in a digital workflow.