We had our first proper fall of snow this weekend and our dog loved it. I was wondering who I’d take for an environmental portrait and I’m still not 100% certain this really meets the strict criteria since I’m not sure if pet portraits count this is my project and the subjects are meant to inspire not restrict.
He’s a Labrador-Setter mix with long hair so when he plays in the snow he gets covered in snow and ice. Had to give him a hair cut after this since every surface in our house was covered in little puddles of water as the ice fell off when he walked around. He was due a haircut anyway. This is one of the spots he likes to stand or sit on to watch the world go by, it’s up on our deck so it allows him clear lines of sight over the fences. Not sure what he’s looking at here. I only had a few seconds to take this shot before something grabbed his attention and he was off running again.
This week proved a little difficult because I got caught up in my own mind with an image I wanted and unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and provide me with a sunny day that would give me the shadows I wanted. I did take a shot like the one I wanted some weeks ago when the weather and light was perfect but as part of this challenge I want to take the photograph in the week of the challenge and won’t reuse old ones.
So with most of the week gone and I found another inspiration. Star Wars The Last Jedi opens tomorrow night and against the odds I managed to get a ticket for opening night. Decided to take out my daughters 12 inch Darth Vader and shine some lights on him to get a shadow looming over him. Initially I wanted him looking at the camera but I tried a few from the side and to me the angle produced an effect where Vaders helmet shadow actually looks like Kylo Ren’s helmet, which is quite apt. Now as a Star Wars fan I’m probably a bit biased and reaching a bit but I’ll live with it.
This weeks assignment (which I would have done last weekend if I wasn’t so busy with other photography sessions) was to take a Landscape panoramic photo. Normally I’d use a DSLR on a tripod, take several photos in portrait and then stitch them together to make a wide landscape. I’ve done it a few times and the results are nice but the process is time consuming. That was one of the reasons I didn’t get out to do it, Christmas photos for friends take priority.
That said there is a nice handy feature in the iPhone camera app, Pano mode. This works very well with a bit of practice. That was what I used to take today’s photo. While walking to work this morning I came across this scene and realized it was just what I wanted for this weeks assignment but I didn’t have time to set up all the gear, the sun moves too fast some times. I took out my iPhone, switched to Pano mode and then dropped the image into Snapseed for a couple of tweaks I’d normally do in Lightroom and then used Gimp2 on a PC to make the last little fix to remove a lens flare. So in summary, a completely different setup to the one I normally use. I liked the result so decided to use it. I’d still like to use my normal setup as much as possible for this 52 project but if it’s a choice between posting no picture or posting a good iPhone image I’m happy to use the iPhone.
This image may not be as wide as other panoramic images I’ve done before but it is still wider than normal and going wider on either side would have brought other elements into the shot that would have ruined the composition.
I have some other Christmas photos to post later this week, but I’ll try to space out my posts a little.
I’m a little behind on my 52 Project this week because I’ve been working on Christmas mini-sessions for friends and family. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a Christmas nut, my wife calls me Clark Griswold. I was decorating the basement back in November but that was to set up two scenes for the sessions, mostly. For children Christmas holds a very special magic and just being around a kid can make even the Scroogiest of Scrooges a little more festive. I can’t wait for our little one to wake up on Christmas morning and go looking under the tree.
Here is a sample of the photos I’ve taken so far this year. There are others that I wont post just yet since I wont post pictures from a shoot online until after the client posts first, I don’t know if a picture is meant as a gift for grandparents or as a Christmas card and I don’t want to ruin someone’s surprise.
I had a picture in my own mind for this weeks topic, a faceless portrait. I was going to do the regular shot of myself holding a camera over my face. But time got away from me and at the same time provided me with a better shot to post this week.
I spent yesterday doing a couple of Christmas photoshoots of kids. Christmas is really about kids, we grow out of the magic but they grow into it and it’s fun reliving some of the spirit and wonder of Christmas. As well as taking some photos of friends we did a couple of Molly including some with a old wooden themed backdrop in one of her mothers old childhood dresses. This year is the first that our daughter is really into the idea of Santa and Christmas. We were about to swap to another setup and change dresses so Molly had to put down the Christmas 2017 chalk sign she had been holding. Instead of just putting it down she went over to the rocking chair and hung it carefully on the arm rest, obviously trying to put a few ticks in Nice column on Santa’s list. As she tried to get the rope untwisted the sign was hanging perfectly and I realized I’d much rather do this as my photo for Week 7 than some generic self-portrait.
Second Christmas themed photo of the challenge and it’s still November but in my defence you have to do the Christmas photoshoots really early if you want to get them printed. I expect the next few weeks might see some more Christmas photos appear. Apologies to all the grinches out there :-).
Candy, should be easy right? Turns out this week kind of fell between Halloween and Christmas. Only some bags of potato chips left from Halloween and no Christmas candy bought yet so actually there wasn’t any candy in the house that I could photograph. Bizarre. But my wife got a bag of Santa candy and I decided to use this as an excuse to go get some candy canes and try to put together something simple, who doesn’t love Santa and candy canes?
On the plus side I got to play a little more with the settings on my flash for “product” photos. The settings that work for portrait shots did not come close to working for smaller scale shots and in fact I had to dig out the manual for my camera to find the menu settings I needed to change. That’s the best part of doing something like this 52 project with set topics, I end up being forced to take photographs I don’t usually take and learn something new.