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Author Topic: Should photographers hibernate?  (Read 5721 times)

EYEONE

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Should photographers hibernate?
« on: February 02, 2012, 09:53:40 AM »
I love taking pictures. I have only recently gotten a DSLR (about 3 years ago). But I have always loved taking pictures. My life is filled with frustration and boredom (work) but there is always photography.

But, obviously it's winter time here. Unfortunately I live in the southern US which means winter typically lacks beauty and just looks depressing. There is no pretty snow or ice to photograph here, everything is just dead. The maple tree in my front yard looks a bit like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree. The grass is dead, the trees are dead, the leaves on the ground are dead and rotting. Adding to that is the unseasonable warmth this year. The high yesterday was 69F.

Now, normally I would be all for getting outside and photographing some of these dead things. I think I could manage to pull something good out of the winter death. But there is another problem with winter: the sun. It's basically completely down by the time I get off work. So there is not much time to go on a walk. In fact by the time I drive to my house it's dark. Last week I did manage to get my EOS-3 out and shoot at a beautiful local university campus (they actually have winter grass so it's green). But I only had ISO400 film and it quickly got too dark.

So, I guess I'm just sitting here at work staring at my camera bag wondering what you guys do in the winter. I haven't had a photo session in a few weeks and I'm getting a little antsy I guess.

What are some tips? What do you shoot in the winter? Do you live in a place with a pretty winter or do you have to make do?

Should I just take a long nap until spring?
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Should photographers hibernate?
« on: February 02, 2012, 09:53:40 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 10:31:08 AM »
I recommend macro photography...you can almost always find interesting textures on bleak subjects, or buy a flower arrangement and shoot it indoors.
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unfocused

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 02:34:51 PM »
Read these four books:

  • The Photographer’s Eye, by John Szarkowski;
  • The Nature of Photographs, by Stephen Shore;
  • Why People Photograph, by Robert Adams;
  • Beauty in Photography, by Robert Adams.

Then read them again. Then read them at least once a year.

They are short, but profound. They will give you a lifetime's worth of insights and thoughts that will make you a better photographer if you actually absorb all the lessons each one contains. Fortunately, or perhaps not so fortunately, it would take several lifetimes to really absorb all the lessons.
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JR

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 03:28:49 PM »
I also recommend having a kid:  it certainly fill all those boring moments with life (lol)...and they always provide you with plenty of opportunity to take pictures....but of course you would not simply have a kid because they are cool to take pictures of...just trying to light up your boring winter with humor here...

 8)
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EYEONE

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 04:02:00 PM »
I also recommend having a kid:  it certainly fill all those boring moments with life (lol)...and they always provide you with plenty of opportunity to take pictures....but of course you would not simply have a kid because they are cool to take pictures of...just trying to light up your boring winter with humor here...

 8)

Ha, good point. I'm getting married in a month so I'll be sure to get right on that.
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tron

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 04:07:06 PM »
How about weekends? Maybe you can find some time to go somewhere while there is still light.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 04:28:12 PM »
I live up North of Spokane, Washington, and its miserable weather right now, it is snowing today, but was 46 degrees a day ago.  The ground is frozen solid, and we have huge puddles of water to wade thru two or three inches deep with a inch of ice on the ground underneath.  That ice does not melt because the ground is frozen two feet or more deep.  If I went walking around with my camera, as clumsy as I am, it would be smashed in 10 minutes.  We do have lots of evergreen trees, but no grass or other greenery left.  We have hay and grain for our farm animals, and shelter from the rain and snow, but you can tell they do not like it when its like this.   

There is lots of wildlife to photograph, deer come into our yard looking for any vegetation or food at all to eat, a squirrel and the magpies eat our cat food, eagles, vultures, and ravens and more gather along the roads to eat the dead roadkill, and there are some beautiful snow scenes up just a mile or two from here.

I was thinking I'd rather be in the South right now!  :D

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 04:28:12 PM »

EYEONE

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 04:46:41 PM »
Those are all good suggestions. I would love to do some macro work but I don't have the lens for it at the moment. I did have a Tamron 60mm f2 1:1 and it was pretty good but the AF on the 7D was terrible, loud and as slow as Christmas. I sold it. I don't think I've ever go with Tamron again.

That's just the way it is I guess Mt Spokane. We southerners love snow when we get it (even though we freakout over an inch or 2). And most northerners get tired of it. We want what we can't have. Even though it is normally quite cold here this time of year. Anyway.

What I'd love to do is get some PocketWizards and start playing with HSS on off camera flashes. But perhaps I can use the down sun to get away with killing the ambient light without need HSS. I have a couple of umbrellas and flash stands.
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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 04:47:40 PM »
Try having a play with HDR - that'll take a flat scene and liven it up.

I use Photomatix - and it pre-process the images and gives you a choice of down right ridiculously processed to very subtly processed that just adds a bit of life.

This scene: http://500px.com/photo/4723952 is clearly HDR, but with a temperature of -1, a wind chill of -6 or 7 and the flattest greyest sky i've seen in a long while, i grabbed 3 hand held shots using AEB with a 2/3rd stop selection and let Photomatix have a play.

I don't pretend it's a straight photograph, but it's a site more pleasing image than the single shot option!
And it gets the camera used - which i hadn't done in 2012 until 31/01/2012 (or 01/31/2012 in the US).

You can download Photomatix for a free trial - worth it just for the experimentation.

dstppy

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 04:49:56 PM »
I was thinking I'd rather be in the South right now!  :D
Straight up.  Shooting in the winter with raynaud's is just freaking annoying. 

If it's warm enough for no gloves, then there is beauty everywhere :D

+1 on the kids thing

Not only that, but you get all sorts of bonuses once they're 3-5 like no one looks twice at you when you're photographing things when you have a kid with you.

I think I'm going to turn my SX10 IS over to my son (nearly 6 now) for the Chinese New Year celebration and see how he does.
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Caps18

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 12:07:21 AM »
Photographers should migrate.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 01:52:26 AM »
I like shooting in winter there are often lots of interesting things to shoot

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 02:59:41 AM »
I love taking pictures. I have only recently gotten a DSLR (about 3 years ago). But I have always loved taking pictures. My life is filled with frustration and boredom (work) but there is always photography.

But, obviously it's winter time here. Unfortunately I live in the southern US which means winter typically lacks beauty and just looks depressing. There is no pretty snow or ice to photograph here, everything is just dead. The maple tree in my front yard looks a bit like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree. The grass is dead, the trees are dead, the leaves on the ground are dead and rotting. Adding to that is the unseasonable warmth this year. The high yesterday was 69F.

Now, normally I would be all for getting outside and photographing some of these dead things. I think I could manage to pull something good out of the winter death. But there is another problem with winter: the sun. It's basically completely down by the time I get off work. So there is not much time to go on a walk. In fact by the time I drive to my house it's dark. Last week I did manage to get my EOS-3 out and shoot at a beautiful local university campus (they actually have winter grass so it's green). But I only had ISO400 film and it quickly got too dark.

So, I guess I'm just sitting here at work staring at my camera bag wondering what you guys do in the winter. I haven't had a photo session in a few weeks and I'm getting a little antsy I guess.

What are some tips? What do you shoot in the winter? Do you live in a place with a pretty winter or do you have to make do?

Should I just take a long nap until spring?

Glory in the dearth. Use the grimness to make striking monochromatic like images. Look for lines and shapes. Showcase the empty limbs of the trees.

Believe me, it is a blessing to be where trees lose leaves at times... here in Florida, I only have the opportunity for those shots I mentioned with the Bald Cypress trees...
What is truth?

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 02:59:41 AM »

smirkypants

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 04:04:06 AM »
Winter? Hibernate? This is strictly theoretical, right? I thought it was summer? It was like 90 yesterday and there were thunderstorms in the evening. Oh wait, I'm in Buenos Aires.
8)

pwp

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 04:30:07 AM »
I love taking pictures. I have only recently gotten a DSLR (about 3 years ago). But I have always loved taking pictures. My life is filled with frustration and boredom (work) but there is always photography.

But, obviously it's winter time here. Unfortunately I live in the southern US which means winter typically lacks beauty and just looks depressing. There is no pretty snow or ice to photograph here, everything is just dead. The maple tree in my front yard looks a bit like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree. The grass is dead, the trees are dead, the leaves on the ground are dead and rotting.
Should I just take a long nap until spring?

I wouldn't be focusing too hard on the dead stuff around you. It can bring you down. In amongst the apparently bleak world which is your winter, look closely and you'll find incredible beauty and life-force. You tend to see what you put your attention on.  Death/Life....you can choose. Hibernation is a cop-out.

Look for the subtle beauty and the tenacious life-force that punches straight through the winter shutdown. Try it and you could come up with the most powerful photographs you have ever taken.

Paul Wright

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Re: Should photographers hibernate?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 04:30:07 AM »