About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

The New Year is off to a good start with lots of visits with friends and family, so color that red, or some bright color of your choice, but the weather here in Vancouver is grey. I miss the blue skies, albeit cold temperatures, of Cariboo.
I have a few new photographic tools but testing them is difficult in this weather, so that blog will have to wait.
Amy Newman in the middle of the Gingerbread garden at Van Dusen. Amy's face is light by a  LED flashlight that I carry, then the image was processed in RAW with Aperture 3, with recovery, shadow lightening and some added luminance.  Shot on Nikon D7000.

In the meantime we returned to the bright lights of Van Dusen gardens, thanks to comps from Amy's friend, James. Amy has sung here in the past and the annual Christmas light show is a cluster of jewels in the greyness of winter.

The light show is, in a word, brilliant, but I found that photography was more difficult than I expected.  Our eyes take in more than we think about, they fill in blank spaces and crowd our peripheral vision. A camera does not do that.  We have to decide what to include.  Surrounded by light this can be confusing at least.

I had decided, after a week of testing new equipment and DIY projects, to keep my Van Dusen shoot simple. One camera, my Nikon D7000 (which is absolutely stellar at night shots) and one  wide-angle lens, the Nikon AF-S 12-24mm f4.  I further decided not to get too worked up about photography tonight and just enjoy the experience.  However, the camera kept leaping to my left eye.
Christmas trees in a "pool" of light.
A garden of light.

A garden of spring crocuses.
An example of the black space the camera sees which our eyes fill in.

All the above photos were taken at variable focal lengths, with the ISO set on Auto and the aperture and shutter speed on AUTO. The only allowance for exposure was made by sometimes exposing for the darker areas and then "freezing" or holding the exposure while I panned back to include brighter subjects such as the gingerbread man.  None of the photos are manipulated in Aperture 3.

"Shoot the cliches and then keep shooting."  Someone once told me that rule, and it is a good one to follow, for after you have shot everything you start to really see new opportunities, even when it is not an assignment.  In the days of film this could be expensive but in this digital age it is inexpensive, at least from a film point of view.

Get higher I thought. So I used my usual method. Put the camera on a monopod. set the timer for 3 shots after a 10 sec delay, lift the camera, rely on auto for exposure and guess work for framing, hold it still and wait for the 3 shots. Sort of an advanced "hail Mary" which is what we called holding the camera in the air at arms length and praying. So I got these first two shots below. And for another change of perspective a zoom shot.

For a different view of the toad stools I set the shutter for about 1 sec
 and quickly zoomed out while the shutter was open. It is hit and miss
 but it can give a interesting shot.

As the evening grew to a close I thought about what I might shoot if this was an assignment for advertising and realized I needed people in the shots.  So, I shot a bunch, including the one at the top of Amy on the trail and another of her in the garden of daisies.

Amy had to climb into the garden and crouch down for this shot, then hold
 still for a longer exposure. The image was manipulated from a RAW image
 to lighten shadows and intensify the color.
All in all a fun evening of being wrapped in light - a fairyland of light and shadow.

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Copyright ©2012 Richard T.Wright

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