Sunday, March 07, 2010

Motion and Light, and the Weather

I can’t remember who said it, or the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of “If you want more interesting photos, put yourself in front of more interest subjects”. Might have been Jay Maisel.

This is certainly very true. An aspect that goes along with this is the environment as a whole – put yourself in the situation to make a picture when you know the environment is going to be more interesting. Where I’m going with this is ‘watch the weather’.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

If it’s cloudy, stormy, pouring cats and dogs, snowing so you can’t see 10 steps in front of you, fog all over – use this to your advantage. This is the time to get out and make some interesting photos. Most of the general population would rather be sitting inside their warm homes than wandering around outside like a fool with a box that captures light around their neck… but then they also ask why their pictures never look like yours. 

Rain especially is your friend. When things are wet they tend to reflect much more light, which translates into coolness of photos. It doesn’t have to be raining out, true – if you go out just after it stops you’ll benefit from the wet pavement. The falling rain itself can add a stylistic element though, streaking through your frame.

Fog can make things mysterious and even help to hide or soften aspects you wouldn’t want to show in your image, such as a busy background.

I’ve thought about creating a series of images that all reflect some elements of motion and light. I also decided I would like to create these images when the weather isn’t at its greatest, generally speaking (ie. sunshine and heat).

The images in this post were shot during what could be called a snow squall, at least. I had extreme visibility problems when driving home. You can’t really see the snow as much in the images because of the lengthier exposures. I was the only photographer out in an area where you can usually spot at least a few happy tourists snapping away at something, or someone more serious.  It would have been optimal to have something covering my camera, but I hadn’t thought it would be as bad as it was.  My lens had a bit of a squeak for a few days after, possibly because of some snow melting and some moisture getting in, but it’s all dried out now.

You don’t have to have any fancy weather covers – I’ve shot in driving rain with a plastic shopping bag with holes cut in it. I still use plastic sleeves for my cameras – granted, these ones are made for that purpose, but it’s still a hunk of clear plastic. Not pretty, but they work. If you are interested, these are the ones I currently have.

Back to the images and possible series, I liked the idea of some slight motion to draw attention in the images – whether it is a person slightly blurry from walking, or the lights of a car driving by. The light I’m interested in not only comes from the vehicles driving through the scenes, but also light spilling out of any windows in the vicinity.

Drop me a line in the comments to let me know what you think, and also if you have any ideas of places where I could continue the series.

Thanks for checking in. Look for more of the motion and light images possibly in the future.

Get out there; take some pictures.

1 comment:

Terry said...

dear paul..these pictures are wonderful!
it looks like you were at niagara on the lake and when i saw the prince of wales hotel,i googled it, and you know what?.. your photo of it is far nicer than the one they have on their site.
even the horses look more majestic!
you are right about the weather and you can see that it was definitely your friend and you were its friend too. instead of complaining that it was too cold out, [and really how could the weather help THAT?] you gave IT a photo shoot too, just had you had done for aunt margaret.
you are a good boy.
i am looking forward to looking at your photos.....from terry

ps..when my husband looked at these pictures, he said that they are just like beautiful and expensive christmas cards!