Winter Break – Part 1

I decided to stop the photography tutorials for a while in favor of some seasonal photos. We are approaching the holidays and some of us will enjoy time with their families while others will travel or enjoy the nature.

Almost everywhere in the Northern hemisphere winter will present photographic opportunities to those carrying a camera. In most cases you don’t need expensive equipment: a compact digital camera and a small tripod (optional for most) may be enough to get some great captures. Just make sure you don’t push the boundaries too hard and shot in extreme conditions unprepared.

Let’s see some examples of photos that don’t even require going too far from your home. These images have some artistic value without being by any means extraordinary: they are just pleasant for the eye and good to illustrate your seasonal (e)mail.

Winter Hat (Canon 40D, ISO 200, F4, 1/128 s)

Getting out on the porch in a beautiful winter morning, led to this capture of my neighbor’s lantern. The amazing snow hat got me excited enough to return inside grab my camera and take few shots: this is one of them and the post-processing was minimal (cropping and fixing a slight underexposure).

The Golden Fir (Panasonic Lumix TZ5, ISO 100, F3.3, 1/60 s)

I must admit: I own this one to my wife who noticed the tall fir in the background lit by the afternoon sun. It was the first day of Christmas and the golden fir looked like a gift for me: the perfect Holiday postcard!

Christmas Night on My Street (Lumix TZ5, ISO 100, F3.3, 2.5 s)

Later on that day I grabbed the camera again and a tripod, and took a shot of my street covered in snow from the front of my house. When shooting with a tripod make sure you either use a remote (cable or wireless) or set the timer to take the shot after few seconds delay. This way the camera will be very steady and you will be able to shoot with long exposure times like I did in this photo. In many cases the result may not be as good as this image: mine wasn’t either! But trying multiple times, eventually using exposure bracketing will help a lot later in post-processing. My final result proves that good results can be obtained even with a compact camera and some additional work. One day I will return with the full story of this photo from a more technical point of view.

Waiting for Santa (Canon 20D, ISO 200, F11, 20 s)

Finally, at the end of the day, a photo taken inside. Obviously the image was modified later on the computer to make it look like this – the effect is called “rock”. Such post-processing where the image is altered deliberately in order to achieve a certain artistic or optic effect is done through (software) filters. There are a lot of filters available for almost any imaginable photo manipulation; some filters are provided free by their creators (or for a small donation), others can be very expensive and complex but all have something in common: they extend the abilities of your photo editor beyond its intended purpose.

The next few posts will continue this little wintry journey: I hope it will give you some photographic ideas that can be developed even in your backyard!

Ho, ho, ho! Have lots of fun folks!

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