View Full Version : Cold and Dark
As we in the north approach the shortest days of the year I always start to fret about prospects for photography.
There is a certain amount of street photography that can get done if one wants to capture holiday lights and wide-eyed tourists, but it takes a lot of energy to wander around in the cold.
An alternative is to turn to created images. This means setting up a still life or using models indoors. Some how using a camera to record a manufactured setting has never appealed to me, although I have nothing against others doing it.
It's not "photography" to me, it's using a camera to record your concept. I'm stuck in the school of pointing the camera at the world and clicking the shutter. It's limiting, but that's what I seem to end up doing.
If I had to express it as a "philosophy" I would say I'm trying to show people things that are right in front of them that they just didn't notice. Perhaps it shows a lack of imagination on my part...
Anyway, my question: what do you do to avoid the blahs during the dark days of winter?
In leu of taking a photo, being stuck inside is a great time to take a tabbed lens and practice your guess focusing.
I've been taking fifteen minute breaks from work to go take short walks to do some street work. If I can every get myself to do it, I'm going to try to get into work and hour or two earlier then normal so I can leave while it is still light out to make get a few more in at the end of the day. Scheduling is very relaxed at my employment and most employees can pretty much come & go as they please, as long as they put in a full days work, so that helps my case.
Maybe it also helps that I love the cold and am not opposed to going out in the worst of weather to get some photos as well. We just had a short 30 minute period of heavy snow blow through. Soon as I seen it put my coat on and went outside.
Bah, I wish I can see *some* snow here in North Texas ... :p
I went to college in the Midwest and as far as I can remember being there there's always something about the snow that is lovely to take a picture of.
Like said! get out and take pictures!
weird enough I feel that in winter I tend to produce works that really satisfy me.. and if the weather is really too bad to go out, I finally have time to go through those summer rolls not yet scanned & edited :)
(more upcoming this late winter.. dozens of 800s waiting for me!)
I was out before light this morning taking photos of ordinary folks wrapped up in many layers going on their daily routine. School kids, farm workers, factory workers, and so on.
Photography does not have to be sunny weather and smiles. We can make photos that are misty cold weather and grim determination to get to school or work on time.
I missed a great one today because I was talking to a friend and lost my concentration. A young woman of perhaps 18 years walking to school in the dark, but reading a school book, perhaps for a test later in the day. Missed today, but maybe there on another day.
Just outside in our backyard there is a nice, pretty tall tree that's still turning colors and losing it's leaves...in the morning the sun will light up this tree and if the wind picks up, the leaves will twist on the branches, some will fall and then others already on the ground may kick up too...
I want to shoot this scene...just need to get out there...for now I have to wait for the rain to stop...
Photography does not have to be sunny weather and smiles.If its any consolation, even summer doesn't guarantee that: we've been having storms (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfunnell/sets/72157603401952118/).
One man's "blahs" are another man's "yehaws". Each season presents a unique set of circumstances and images. I was just out at the coast in rain and fog. Some of my group complained that the weather was so awful and it was difficult to find clear shots. Others were going nuts shooting the coastline and the sea stacks as the moved in and out of the fog. Very moody, brooding...and very special in my book.
I would say I'm trying to show people things that are right in front of them that they just didn't notice. Perhaps it shows a lack of imagination on my part...
Robert, I'm pretty new to the concept of street photography. I've done a bit of it and I've posted a few images in my little gallery on this site. However, I was wondering.......
Do you notice the things you are shooting and record them deliberately or would you say your style is literally to point the camera, press the go button and see what's in the can when the film's developed?
The former seems like something I'd do (maybe there's a control freak in me somewhere?) but I don't think I'd feel in control (there's that word again.....) if I simply let fly without composing and making the shot.
I don't think it shows a lack of imagination; I believe it shows a somewhat courageous and optimistic streak in you.
My "modus operandi" is to work myself a situation where I have the best chance of getting the shot I want. Having shot weddings years ago, I know we have to expect the unexpected and be ready to pounce - but I prefer the "slowly, slowly" approach - waiting for the decisive moment.
If that fails, then I don't see any harm in a "staged" portrait as you can reclaim control (damn, I've done it again...) and get the best technical quality out of the opportunity at hand.
For me, winter is darkroom time. All those negatives have to get printed. This is the time to do it. All the downloaded digital stuff has to be organized, gone though, printed. Some of it needs to get deleted, too. Time to send cameras in for their CLAs.
And maybe a little shooting, as well.
Darkroom days for me too, but it's difficult for me to keep the trays in temperature. So I started a little project: a ultra-cheap do it yourself heated tray.
Take two TROFAST ikea trays, put one inside the other, you will notice than there will be a small space between the trays. I will put water and a heater (aquarium heater, or some other small electrical device) to keep the water at 20/25 Celsius.
First I started with two chemical hand heaters, but with no success-
I will let you know !
I have much trouble during the winter also. Is the cold that prevents the mood for photography. When I am not comfortable, I cannont take good pictures. And I hate that. Now I am trying to put up an outfit warm enough to get me going. And sometimes I choose to go somwhere warmer. Like in Morocco where I will be in a few days.
The focus training is a good ideea for staying indoors.
Winter is no problem for me. It's a great time to do available light indoor shooting at parties, etc. I also have a friend who is a theater producer and I do lots of theater work for him. In fact, offering your services to a thater group or company is a great way to take some extraordinary shots. In this digital age, it doesn't even cost anything for the film and processing.
Andrea: Yet another reason to go to Ikea! I'll be passing by an Ikea this weekend... I will have to stop in.
I process 8x10 sheet film I've shot over the past year. I know it is a terrible practice to wait so long but it really is a production when you have 150+ sheets and only tray dev 5 or so at a time with constant agitation in PMK-Pyro.
When the films are done I'll be contact printing until spring with my Weston-esque bare bulb setup. (although I'm looking forward to the arrival of the Microtek M1 so I can scan these negs instead... What a sell-out!)
I dont mind cold and dark weather. Its kind of inspiring. I just dont like shooting in cold wind.
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