Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

How can this possibly be the last day of another year?  I am wondering where the year went...
I want to thank each of you for your interest in and support of my photography endeavors this past year.
New blog entries will resume in January, and new photo galleries will be posted to the web site in the upcoming months.
Wishing Everyone a Happy and Healthy 2011!

(Canon Powershot S90, f 5.6, 1/8 sec, ISO 400)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Wishing You Happy Holidays and the Very Best in 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photographing in Snow

The calendar has yet to show us that winter has officially arrived, but in the mid-western U.S. we have had a full week of "the white stuff" already with temperatures in the single digits! If we are still in autumn, you sure could have fooled me!
I made this winter image today as I was putting my mail out for pick up. When I raised the flag on my mailbox, the icicle that had formed on it was sticking straight up in the air!  It looked so silly, so I went into the house for my camera.

Indiana Winter
Winter scenes make beautiful images, but photographing them can be tricky.  
When photographing a snow scene, the exposure is very important to keep in mind.

The light meter in your camera wants to make every tone it measures a mid-tone grey. Shooting a snow scene "on the meter" will result in dull grey snow.  This can be explained simply: the scene is so bright, the camera stops down to make the bright whites medium toned.  (see the Polar Bear image to the left shot on the meter.  the snow and fur are a dull grey)
Shot 'On' the Meter

In order to get the snow to show white in your photo, it is important to remember to add light to the exposure using a + exposure compensation. The tricky part lies in how much exposure compensation...the answer is: enough to make the snow white without losing the subtle details and texture. 

+1 1/3 stops

In the  Polar Bear photo to the right, +1 1/3 stops were added to properly expose the image. (Enlarge the image by clicking on it to better see the correct tones while maintaining detail in the fur and snow.)

Unfortunately, there is no set amount of exposure compensation to use when photographing snow scenes, although the rule of thumb is +1 1/3 stops.  So, depending on the ambient light conditions, you may want to begin by adding 1 1/3 stops of light, and then tweaking the amount of light you are adding by assessing your histogram on the back of your camera. It is important to make sure the far right (white) is not clipping. (i.e. the histogram is bunched up against the far right side of the graph)
If your snow scene shows a histogram bunched up to the right side of the graph, your image is over exposed and detail is lost.  In this case, you must then, subtract light (- exposure compensation) by small increments to make sure you are capturing detail in the whites.  You will know the white detail is present when the histogram 'backs off' the far right edge of the graph.

(Polar Bear images made in Manitoba, Canada)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Food Glorious Food~ Part 2

Continuing my thoughts from last week, I decided to write more about the comparison of food to the arts.
In last week's blog, I compared food to the visual arts.
This week, I would like to take the connection of food to the arts one step further and liken it to the performing arts.

During a visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, we decided to dine at Emeril's Restaurant located in the heart of the downtown warehouse district. The only seats available on this particular night were at a bar facing into the kitchen.
We decided to sit at the "kitchen bar" and had a wonderful and most memorable dining experience! Not only was the food fantastic and the plating worthy of fine art photos, but watching the kitchen staff turning out literally hundreds of meals in the few short hours we were there was amazing! (and not one meal was returned to the kitchen!!)
Every person (performer) in the kitchen (stage) had a definite job (role) to perform and did so in a flurry of activity and in perfect synchronization. The process and timing of the food preparation and cooperation of the kitchen staff  (the performance) was like watching a well orchestrated and well choreographed ballet!
Of course, I had my camera with me and throughout my meal, I photographed the food preparation show in front of me.  It was a lot of fun trying to capture the bustle of activity.  I have included some of the resulting images from the evening that I think captured the essence of the experience.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

With the holiday season upon us, food dominates our lives from Thanksgiving right through to the new year. Enjoying good food and wine is as much a passion to me as my photography. I love to gather with family and friends to enjoy a lingering meal together. After all, the company and conversation add so much to the culinary experience.
Also, when I travel, one of the highlights for me is tasting and eating foods from different cultures and experiencing new foods I have never tasted before.

What does food have to do with photography, you ask?
Like photography, food is an art. In photography, we discover the subject, select the gear to create our images, set up and compose the shot in the viewfinder, process the image, and finally present a work of art.
The art of food can be described in the same way: deciding what dish to prepare (the subject), selection of the ingredients to create the selected dish (gathering the gear), preparing, combining, and cooking the ingredients (processing), plating the food giving careful thought to colors, textures, and arrangement on the plate (composition) and serving the dish. (presentation of a work of art)

Just like photography is a "sport" for all of the senses, so is same for food. In last week's blog, I talked about how all of one's senses come into play when out in the field photographing. The same holds true for the enjoyment of food.  And, in my blog from 11-12-10, I discussed the importance of visual details to add a 'finishing touch' and to 'convey the essence' of the whole experience.  Food images from my travels help me to complete the story of my adventures, adding more interest to images of the traditional travel experience.

When I traveled to Italy with friends 3 years ago, we ate some amazing food throughout the trip. As my first meal was set before me, I decided to photograph it as a remembrance of the dining experience. Each meal set before us was a work of art, and so I self assigned the task of snapping each meal of our visit to Italy. By the end of our holiday, I had made a very nice collection of food images from Italy. The fruits (no pun intended!!) of my labor can be seen in my web site gallery entitled 'Mangia!' Looking back through the images of the food I consumed, I can remember what the food was, how it tasted, where it was served and who I was with at the time of the shutter click.
Ever since my visit to Italy, I have been photographing my food. The images featured on today's blog page were made in Namibia.