Stream of Light

This was taken at the same location as yesterdays post and I used a second camera and tripod to get this shot. This is something that can distract you when you are trying to get one good shot and have to run back and forth with two setups,but it worked and I am very pleased with how the sky lit up the water. For the first half hour I was setup to the right about ten feet but after the lights from the house started showing in the water,I knew they were not in my composition,so I moved over. There was a tree just to the left or I would have gone further left than I did here.

Bridge of Beauty

This is a spot in the country that has a nice meandering stream and this lovely little bridge and a gazebo in the distance toward the house.I arrived,decided to include my candle luminaries and proceeded to throw some light onto the bridge to highlight it in the shot.A couple lighted deer would have looked cool on the island on the left but this shot turned out nice just like this.

Santa has Arrived

This is the last image from this location and features reindeer lining the path to the home. I have two cameras and only one of them is fully prepared for complicated shooting scenarios and by that I mean equipped with radio remote,flash remote and wi-fi unit. Trying to do shots involving added off camera flash and then having to run and look at the camera lcd screen to see the result is maddening. Using this shot as an example, my normal routine is stand with my flash wherever I want ,trigger the camera and look at my tablet without moving. For this camera only shot, I need to set the self timer,run to the spot,quickly aim the flash and then trigger the flash by pushing the test button when I hear the shutter open. That may sound easy, but the problem is the shutter speed needs to be fast enough to keep the snow dark and for the flash to have full effect,the iso needs to be up at anywhere from 1000 to 3200 which increases shutter speed. So I can try to shoot at two seconds at iso 200 so I have time to fire the flash and it is ineffective or raise the iso to 2000 and then get a shutter speed of  an eighth of a second and flash power increases. Have you ever tried to listen for your camera’s shutter to open for a fraction of a second and try to fire a flash in that time? Well I thought I might be good enough to pull that off but after 15 frames and nothing on them,I knew it was a joke to try. The beauty of the wireless remotes and a tablet with wi-fi is you can use fast shutter speeds at high iso and even if you shoot at a 250th of a second,your flash will be synchronized with the shutter firing and you can look at your light positioning and adjust rapidly. I was trying to get the shadows from the deer cast onto the snow and if I used my tablet setup, this may have taken 8 shots to perfect, but instead it took over thirty and included walking to the camera to look at the result every time. Some shadows were out of the frame, some were at a terrible angle,some had lots of flash flare. but this one was spot on. I included this info for others wanting to try these types of images and to explain what I go through to accomplish things.

Dawn and Dusk

This pair of images are from the same location as yesterdays shot and the top one was shot at dawn, while the bottom one was taken in the evening. I really hate to shoot duplicate views but I wanted an option with the house looking more alive inside. I can’t decide which I like the best but each has its strong points. I changed the composition slightly in the lower shot to allow more snow between the fence and house because I knew I wanted to shoot some light out the windows to cast shadows on the snow. This proved to be more challenging than I expected because as I started shooting my big flash out the windows, I could barely see any shadows showing up on my tablet as the image gets transferred for review. I knew my flash was kicking out full power and yet it was barely showing on the snow, so after a little analysis, I asked if the windows were tinted and they were so I knew they were absorbing the light. The only option left was to crank the iso up to 5000 which effectively makes the flash more powerful and then I achieved my objective thankfully. This is the only time I can ever remember where I exhausted five Nikon batteries in less than two hours time as well as 8 double AA lithium batteries in a power pack because of the extreme cold. I had foot warmers in my boots and double hand warmers in each glove to make sure I could withstand the temperatures. I remember the circumstances surrounding many of my shots and the intense cold will always be part of this memory, especially since the home was so cozy and warm when they left me in to do the lighting.

Frigid Morning Adventure

Here in the Northeast we are in the midst of a pretty intense cold snap and shooting has been a little challenging because of that. This was taken this past weekend and as I climbed into my truck in the pre dawn hours, my thermometer read 10 degrees and as I arrived here to set up, it dropped down to 7 degrees. There is a creek to my right so maybe that had an effect as well and there was also a breeze of about 8 mph that really made it extra special if you know what I mean. The road is on a small hill so I pulled as far off as possible and used my truck to block my tripod and camera from getting obliterated by any passing cars. I lit everything in the dark first and placed my candle luminaries to add some interest and then waited for the sky to get some color. I was very worried that my camera batteries were going to be dead until the shot was finished, but amazingly they worked for at least an hour in these brutal conditions. One might think you could just put in fresh batteries but you have to remove the camera from the tripod,then the motor drive from the camera and till you put it back on, you can forget about the image being in registration from when you began shooting. The other tough part was using my tablet to control the camera,which forces me to have my fingers out of the gloves to touch the screen and believe me there was a point I could not feel my hand touching the tablet and it was excruciating. I sat in my truck with fingers sandwiched between hand warmers for ten minutes till the pain subsided, so I decided not to climb Mt Everest this year. There is really just one angle to shoot this scene safely and thankfully not a single car came by this morning. The owners were very gracious here and allowed me to wander around to get another shot or two which I will post over the next two days.