Photographing Sunset from a Snowy Picnic Bench

The road leading to the overlook at Captree State Park was blocked off to vehicle traffic. This was likely due to the heavy snow and thick ice that filled the parking lot. Rather than turning back, my client (John) and I parked in a nearby lot, and just walked over. With partial clouds, a frozen landscape, and the sun close to setting, all of the ingredients for a dramatic landscape were present. Still, even the most promising scenes can suffer from poor compositions. Rather than setting up the tripod right away, I recommend walking around and looking through the camera to explore various perspectives. In this case, a weathered picnic bench turned out to be a perfect raised platform to work from. At this raised height, the animal tracks that lead towards the water are more visible. It also creates separation between the foreground and the bridge in the distance. 

Tracks

Earlier in the evening, we photographed the Fire Island lighthouse from the largely frozen ocean. Here's a shot of John setting up for a vertical composition.

His resulting shot is a dramatic, unique look at an iconic symbol of Long Island. It also tells the story of what has been a record breaking winter. By adjusting the white balance, he picked up the subtle warm tones from the sun. The entire composition is strengthened by the extremely low shooting angle.

Image Copyright © 2015 John Fox

Image Copyright © 2015 John Fox

 "I had a great time yesterday, that is the first time I worked with the tricky metering of the bright snow in a landscape, it was a great lesson." - John

 

If you'd like more information about private photography lessons on Long Island send me an email, or visit here

Disrupting the Light

This image, like several others on the blog this week, is an in-camera multiple exposure. I wanted to introduce a sense of motion and disrupt the light and shadows streaming down from this great structure in the Metropolitan Museum. The first frame is tack sharp, the second suffers from intentional camera movement. As individual frames, neither really works well. Put together though, and it's a lot more interesting.

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Seeing Double

If I'm not in a hurry, I much prefer to take a bus than be underground in a subway. The key is to get a window seat if at all possible. On this particular ride, I set my OMD-EM10 into multiple exposure mode and photographed the sites as they rolled by. The M4 from Penn to the Met is the perfect duration, as it takes about 30 minutes and passes through some really interesting parts of town. 

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." - Henry D. Thoreau

New Video Tutorial: How to Freeze Life with Fast Shutter Speeds

People often ask, "what is the correct shutter speed?" The surprising truth is, there is no one right or wrong answer. Ultimately the proper setting depends on how fast your subject is moving, and what you are trying to achieve. You can either choose to freeze a subject, or reveal its motion. Automatic options like the "sports mode" are unpredictable at best, typically serving up an array of blurry images. Instead of leaving this critical decision to the camera, here are some baseline settings to get you started with fast shutter speeds.

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