Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Tis winter, still...

Grey skies hold no allure to me right now, yet there is a "silver lining" to every cloud, right?
One could go out and try to find that lining...
Bernie lured me into a Mill Creek hike near dinner time yesterday. 
I went, bringing along my Sony point and shot camera, simply because I had been reading about the joys of black and white photography, which is best indulged in when the sky is grey and looks unpromising of anything good.

The snow looked weary, trodden upon by man and beast, melted and refrozen to the point where it had totally lost its pristine appeal.
Such snow is just the thing for black and white work though.

(I now am on the look out for natural snow rolls, and the tracks they make as they tumble down the hillside.
The humor of this particular one coming to rest in a paw print gave me a smile.)

For most of the hike (just in boots, no need for snow shoes when the snow has hardened) I could hardly find the sun overhead.
When it managed a weak wintry glow, I took note of it.

All the reading that I have done directs shooting in color first, then switching the photos to black and white later, using a photo manager like Photoshop or Picasa.
In most of my shots, it was hard to tell whether they had already been switched to black and white or not.

What I am most interested in determining is the most pleasing color temperature, and how to achieve it.
I'd like to do some black and white portraits, but dislike the blue grey tones replacing the warm tones of the skin.  That will be an area of exploration on another photo session, for now I find adding just a touch of warm to the landscape shots appealed to me.

I do like how the blackest of areas seem almost mirror like when I view the photographs full sized.

Looking at shots without color also makes me consider the pictures composition more.
Yes...I am easily distracted by pretty colors!
But pretty colors look even better when place thoughtfully in a composition; I need to consider the picture structure as well as the exciting colors.

Having photographed these forests in autumnal blaze and springtime brightness, I am finding the snow to be rather boring.  The black and white option gives me another way of "enjoying" the snow until the seasons offer me colors again.

(A bit of happy news: we could spy a few fish in some of the deeper stream bed pools.  Oh how Bernie is itching to go fishing again!)

I know in a few weeks I will look up through the tree branches and realized the leaves have unfurled. 
I saw no such leafing yesterday, and also recognize that early leaves can catch late snow and cause a lot of damage to the trees.
I need to be patient and agree that God is letting everything proceed in due course for a reason.

Don't those tree "toes" look like they are in for a chilly dangle in the stream?

There was one bit of color: the moss of course.

I learned a new word a few days ago: Bokeh
That's the technical name for the part of a picture that is out of focus, either deliberately or by chance.
The branch shooting away in the background is an example of bokeh. 

Christmas lights that fuzz out to a bubble shape or raindrops that make lights look blurred are other examples.

I wasn't trying for bokeh in this shot; it happened naturally because I was using my on-camera macro setting.

Isn't it cool to have another word to toss around that makes one sound like they know what they are doing?
Little by little, maybe I will!

And little by little, spring WILL come. 
Until then, I am going to try to learn a few more things about seeing beauty in all the seasons of life.


Vicki said...

I enjoy black and white photography. I really like the photo of the sun...that gives a great impression of a cold, wintry sun.

I learned all about the term "bokeh" during the Christmas holidays and spent many photo-shoots trying to capture it in Christmas lighting to no avail. I'm not giving up!

I've never seen a natural snow roll before...that is so neat! :)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Your black and white winter pic's are great.

Bokeh doesn't always happen for me when I want it to. I'm working on that.

ellen b. said...

Love the black and whites. bokeh...I'll have to say it and think about it so it gets into my head. No more snow in the lowlands here!

Lovella ♥ said...

Snow scenes do make fantastic natural black and whites but I'm like you. .itching for some real color. We have a gorgeous blue sky day today which we have so rarely in winter. Your spring template is perfect.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

All the great photographers worked in black and white. It's not as easy as many think and your photos are wonderful...very crisp and clear. I found bokeh a "hit and miss" technique..especially because my middle age + eyes see everything a bit

PS: The orchids did smell wonderful..some more than others. Thankfully the greenhouse was well ventilated so it never became too overpowering.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Your photography skills continue to amaze and bless me. It is a real joy to visit here and see what you have captured with your camera. The black and white photography portrays the winter season in a way the color photos can't. I think you should teach photography classes. I like the way you mist the flowers before photographing them.

Your new blog look is beautiful!

Pondside said...

Your snow scenes are elegant - I especially like the road that is lined with trees. I'd never heard of Bokeh - sometimes my photos are all Bokeh.

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

I've always liked black and white photos better than color. I'm not sure why, but Ansel Adams had a lot to do with that decision. I think you can see detail better in them.

Mountain Blessings said...

Hi from Arizona! I love your photos. My bro & sister in law live in Cedar City and we visit as often as we can. Love it there, we go especially in the winter so we can snowmobile at Cedar Breaks. Beautiful state! Oh I am your newest follower so I will be back often. Great blog, thanks for sharing, Marla