Handling a tripod with metal legs that are close to a cold outside air temperature has always been a challenge for me. In the winter, setting up the tripod and then composing shots is difficult because my hands get cold.
When it is warm outside, carrying a metal tripod on my shoulder is not the most comfortable thing to do either. One way to alleviate the discomfort of tripod tubing on a shoulder or cold feel of the metal legs, is to cover them with some kind of padding.
My wife gave me a set of tripod leg wraps from OP/TECH USA this year. The wraps, or covers as they are sometimes called by other manufacturers, insulate the cold legs from bare hands, and help cushion the tripod when carrying it on your shoulder.
Covers, pads or wraps also help protect the tripod from dents and scratches. They are easy to install, lightweight, very durable and can be washed with damp cloth if they get dirty.
With padding on the legs of my tripod, my hands no longer become numb from the cold metal. And in the summer, it will be way more comfortable carrying the tripod when trekking about the countryside.
Early this past week, the weather in this area was bitterly cold and windy. Outdoor photography can be a bit of a challenge in these conditions and normally it doesn’t bother me. After all, I am primarily an outdoor photographer and the weather, pleasant or unpleasant, is part of the experience. But with the wind chill near the single digits I decided to cut myself a break.
An alternative to freezing outdoors is getting creative indoors. Benefits include warm fingers, toes and face, plus the camera equipment works better.
We often overlook photographing subjects within the confines of our own homes, probably because we are so used to seeing them on a daily basis. Looking through a camera and lens at ordinary and familiar items in our surroundings can present them in a whole new perspective.
Who would have thought the inside of the clothes washer would make for an interesting subject? To me, this looks like some kind of futuristic propulsion unit for interstellar space travel.
My wife and I first met in the middle of the winter a few weeks before Christmas. A few of our first dates consisted of “photo excursions.” We would explore local parks, or the streets of the town where she lived, or just go for a drive and see what we could find.
On one frigid afternoon, we went for a drive down a country lane and came across a group of frozen ponds near the road. We thought we might find interesting patterns in the ice to photograph.
We parked the car in a safe spot and gathered up the camera bag and tripod and headed through the brambles towards the ponds. As we got closer to the ponds we noticed the ice resembled what we called a Star Wars landscape. Apparently, freeze thaw cycles caused the ice to lower and break on the protruding rocks.
We got some shots of ice crystals near the edge of the pond, and some overall shots of the surroundings. We began to experiment with exposure settings and colored filters normally used for black and white photography, trying to duplicate how an alien landscape would appear.
My sister had just given me a polarizer filter for Christmas and we thought we should try that one to see the effect. I got the filter out of the camera bag and tried to hand it to my wife (girl friend at the time). But both our hands were so cold, the hand-off was a complete failure in coordination.
That brand new, never-been-used filter, dropped to the ice, and slid out to the middle of the pond like a hockey puck. She was horrified. “Oh No! David, I can’t believe I dropped your brand new filter! Lordie, you must think I am a bumbling idiot!”
I reassured her several times that our impromptu hockey game was an accident. After a few moments of laughter and teasing, we went on a quest for a long stick and ventured out onto the ice to retrieve the filter.
Had we been wearing warmer gloves that day, the old adage “there really is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” would not have come into play.
Winter is here for sure. We had a light dusting of snow this morning and the temperature will not get out of the 20’s. The wind is gusting to 40 mph and the wind chills are somewhere near…well, let’s just say it’s a bit brisk. Since it is the winter season, I thought a photo reminding me of warmer times would be a nice treat, and this waterfall scene fits the bill.
My wife and I had been to this location several times for picnics and hiking and photo excursions, but on this day I had something else planned.
It was a beautiful warm summer day and the conditions for photography were just about perfect. We got some shots of the falls and then ventured downstream to photograph the water tumbling over the rocks in the stream bed.
We took our shoes off, clambered onto some larger rocks to sit and cool our feet in the mountain stream. We sat there for a while listening to the sound of the water and enjoyed the woodland surroundings. The air was refreshing with a light mist from the falls and the wild rhododendron bushes were in bloom, covering the banks of the stream.
We agreed this was one of the prettiest places we had visited together. I decided this would be the perfect time for my surprise. So, I pulled this little velvet box that you get from a fancy jewelry store out of my pocket, opened it, and asked her if she would like to spend the rest of our lives together. She looked at the “sparkly” resting in the box, and almost fell off her rock.
She told me later that she had an idea I was going to ask her to marry me soon…just not when she was teetering on a rock in the middle of a cold mountain stream.
This waterfall is named Silver Thread Falls and it is located in the lush woodlands of northeastern Pennsylvania.
During our last visit to western Montana, we discovered this statue outside the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It stands in front of the foundation’s museum, where visitors can learn about the elk and other wildlife of the region, plus what is being done to help preserve their habitats.
After touring the museum, we went outside to get a closer look at this larger-than-life statue. Impressive is a good way to describe it.
I had taken a couple of shots, but the statue was in deep shadow from the thick cloud cover. Disappointed, we started packing up the camera gear and decided to return the next day to try for some better photos. As we were finishing up, we looked back and saw the clouds had parted, allowing the sun to shine through and highlight the statue. So I quickly grabbed the camera and tripod. And I was able to compose a few shots before the light disappeared.
I sure am glad we were taking our time putting all the photo equipment away!
During the holiday season I took some time out to look through my film archives. I have thousands of slides in protective pages and in those little yellow boxes that came back from the processing lab. I didn’t review all of the slides, or I would still be at it come this time next year.
Back in the day, before digital cameras became commonplace, we used film cameras. And there were many types of film available, ranging from slow to medium speed (ISO 25-400) slide films to slow to fast speed (ISO 50-800) print films. Film had a quirky trait when exposed for long periods of time. When exposures started to reach the 30 second mark or less, depending on the film and light available, the film’s ability to render true colors would shift throughout the color spectrum. This was known as reciprocity failure and could be used to the photographer’s advantage if abstract images were the main goal. Or the photographer wanted to experiment.
The film I used for the photo in this post was Kodachrome 64. The aperture I used was probably f16 or f22 and the shutter speed was most likely around 25 seconds. Available light was minimal since the sun had already set and it was almost dark.
This photo is a small portion of an ice patch near the edge of a creek. I took several shots at various locations along the water’s edge. The color shift varied from frame to frame, depending on how long the exposures were. The rainbow lens flare in the upper corners of the frame may have been caused the light reflecting off the water. Because of the long exposure, the color of the ice shifted from white to blue, with spots of lavender, giving it a surreal look.
For me, the hardest thing about using film was waiting to see the results from the photo lab. Good or bad.
For all you readers of my blog that take time out of your day to comment, like, follow, and offer feedback, I would like to offer a sincere thank-you for your kind words and support. It is greatly appreciated.
In the short time I have been a part of the blogger experience, I have travelled the world through your words and photography, and have met some truly wonderful people from all walks of life.
I wish for you and your families, a joyous Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
One day last week I headed over to a nearby town to photograph the older buildings and storefronts in the shopping district. It was rather brisk outside so I bundled up with a warm coat, hat and gloves. It is December after all.
I had photographed several shops that were all decked out for the holidays and I also squeezed in some shopping. Then I came upon something completely unexpected.
I wandered into the courtyard of a store that sold whimsical garden sculpture made by local artisans. Some of the items were brightly painted and others were made with rusty metal. Other pieces of garden art were made with a combination of metal and glass. While roaming around the outdoor displays, some interesting shadows on the far stucco wall caught my eye. After closer inspection, I realized the shadows were created by several panels of this rusty wire sculpture leaning against the wall. The multiple panels resembled a jumble of tree branches. Looking at them more closely revealed they were actually an artist’s rendition of gigantic leaves.
I really liked the interesting patterns created by the shadows and how the rusty wire contrasted with the white stucco wall. To me, it evoked a tropical feel.
Knowing we are headed for these colder temps for the next few months, thinking about garden sculpture and warmer weather sure beats the memories of shoveling that 52 inches of snow we received last year…all in one week.
While out on a walk late Saturday afternoon, I came across one of my favorite trees, commonly called the American Sweetgum. They are large species of tree, reaching upwards of 100 feet tall at maturity.
Sweetgums are one of the last trees to leaf out in the spring and one of the last to drop leaves in the fall. Its leaves have five to seven lobes similar in shape to a maple, and turn multiple shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. It also bears prickly seed pods that attach themselves to animals and clothing. I suppose it is nature’s way of transporting seeds away from the host plant.
As children, my sisters and I would to collect the seed pods from a tree in my grandmother’s front yard. Our mother would create indoor arrangements, adding the pods to evergreen branches and twigs with berries, to surround a grouping of beeswax candles. She would also add them to her wreaths at Christmas time. And we kids would hide them in each other’s coat pockets for a prickly sibling surprise…
Just in case you are all dying to see what the church looks like, I figured I had better post an image of the interior.
I apologize for the hasty post…I was making dinner last night and tried to squeeze in posting while cooking. Not smart to attempt that.
So here goes. Yes the pews are actually curved (no optical wide angle illusion there) and the lavender light you see is created by the light coming through the windows. I used a tripod and shot all photos using the daylight white balance setting