Archive for the ‘weather’ Category
It’s a season everyone is looking forward to. Especially when you live in a country like Finland, where you’re digging your Life through 5-6 months of snow every year. And that’s Southern Finland (let’s not start about going up north).
And yeah… Finally, after many, many months it really does look like spring’s on its way (save for the snow that’s coming down as I write this).
Spring always comes with surprises. The worst part of the snow melting is all the dog poop that is surfacing and accompanying it the foul smell of it. I could go all into detail and describe to you the gooey… but no, I won’t.
A little colorful flower, which has had the power to withstand the weight of the snow that’s been piled up for way too long, and is now breaking the surface of the snow like the hand of a zombie trying to get out of the soil.
Cars that have disappeared under piles of snow with the winter ongoing, and the snow plows shoving all the snow off the street to the side.
And yeah… It can thus happen, that that big pile of snow looks exactly like… well… a big pile of snow. And a snow plow doesn’t really feel the difference when it piles up more snow, and maybe pushes it a bit further off the street and a bit further toward the pavement.
And yeah… If you happen to be the owner of such a car, and you don’t use your car during winter, then it could just happen that your car actually DOES disappear under said pile of snow.
And yeah… If the snow then melts, and your car happened to have been disguised as a pile of snow, you might just be in for a nasty surprise when the snow melts and your car peeks it’s battered head out of the snow…
This was absolutely breath-taking. Even if it’s very simple to explain what you see, sometimes it’s hard to actually believe what you see.
And it’s remarkable how the weather influences your perception. We drove by this inlet several times and only once was it like this. When there was even the slightest breeze, and the water would start moving, the dream scenario disappeared instantly.
Seeing the Northern Lights isn’t a given. With the unpredictability of the weather up there there’s as much chance of seeing the Lights as there isn’t.
And considering the fact that the Lights are only visible in the evenings and/or at night, it leaves about 12 hours of daylight time to shoot other things. And besides being insanely expensive, Norway is also an insanely beautiful country. At least up in the north where we were.
Sunsets and sunrises, a part of every photographer’s portfolio wherever he/she goes (I’m privileged that I got to see the Lights in the first place, but it would be sooooo cool to catch the them at sunset…)
I’ve decided to stick in the cold for a bit.
Last year we went to Norway to shoot the Northern Lights. It almost turned out in one big expensive disappointing trip.
This year we went again, and it turned out in one big great expensive trip (3 Peppe Pizzas for 108,00€: chaCHING!!!!). But the photos we got were absolutely breath-taking. And no need to Photoshop anything into another picture. All these are genuine and -save for some color adjustments here and there (foreground mostly, not the Lights)- unedited.
I’ll not bore you with any superfluous words. Judge for yourself.
Prints are available from here:
My Norway Gallery on Photoshelter (link opens in a new window).
… before we go to the nice and warm Philippines…
I’ll make this an exposure 101. If you’re a pro-photographer you already know this (or at least, you should! ), but I’ve been asked about this a couple of times and I decided to do a simple, little write up about it, without getting into too technical language.
Why is it important to take (manual) control of your camera?
A lot of people, especially those who have just bought a camera or have just gotten into photography, use the automatic settings in the camera. In most of the average cases that would be just fine, but since a camera is just a thing, with no obvious intelligence, when things get out of average, the picture goes south as well.
My camera is set (in 95% of the cases) to full manual with spot metering. I prefer spot metering above all other settings, because I get to pinpoint a location in my frame for which I decide what exposure is the best one, based on the initial suggestion of the light meter in the camera.
The other metering methods are also working fine, but don’t just blindly trust the values the light meter in your camera shows you.
What you need to know about the camera’s light meter, is that it’s “calibrated” to assume that everything in your frame has an average hue. The light meter doesn’t see or read colors, it just sees light or dark. 18% grey may sound familiar to some of you, maybe not to others. But 18% grey is what the light meter thinks the average hue in your image is (or rather, should become). Green grass, for example, is about 18% grey, on a normal sunny day. So if you were to take an image of a sports field with mostly grass and you’d have your camera do everything automatically, you’d have a great picture with a perfect exposure. Of course there are plenty of other things that are -about- 18% grey. But what if you’re shooting somewhere where everything, or the bigger part of your frame, is NOT 18% grey?
If that were the case, and you have your camera set to automatic (or to manual, and you’d dial the exposure, ISO and/or aperture so that the bar sits nicely on the 0 in the middle), your camera will make everything 18% grey.
The perfect examples are in the two extreme ends of the light spectrum.
Imagine a winter landscape, with mainly… yep: snow. Snow is one of the purest, whitest substances on this planet (provided it’s not territorially marked by some inhabitant of this planet ).
So what would happen in the camera when I’d point it at my winter landscape? The meter sees the landscape and ‘thinks’: “Wow! That’s easy! A big frame full of 18% grey.” And so, thinking the purest white snow is 18% grey, the camera underexposes your image with about 2 stops.
In order to correct this, and to get the right exposure for the snow, you’d have to manually adjust the exposure time either by dialing up it with up to two stops, or use the exposure compensation.
The same thing goes for the other extreme of the scale. When what you see in your viewfinder (or your Liveview screen) is primarily black/dark, the light meter will assume that this is 18% grey and will adjust -overexpose in this case- the exposure to make the blacks look like 18% grey. You will have to underexpose the image to correct for the camera’s false assumptions.
….. when you expect one thing, you get something completely different.
That’s what happened when we went out for a sunrise shoot a week or so ago.
The weather was a bit… weird. I knew that if it would be completely overcast, the way it looked the day before, I wouldn’t go, because it wouldn’t be worth it, really. But the forecast said it would be partly overcast, which would be good. So we went out, and…
Yeah, it was completely overcast. I knew already then that what I’d be shooting would be monotone only. But it was good that we went, because even on totally overcast days you can find nice things to photograph.
(it’s funny how the color shifts when it’s rendered on the web. These images were all changed with the same setting in Lightroom, and look the same in full format. Here the hues are all over the map…)
Of course during the day the weather cleared up, and the clouds disappeared, bringing on yet another crisp and cold night.
I borrowed the Nikkor 300mm from a Buddy of mine (thanks Don!) and was presented with a good target in the early evening. Shot off the balcony of the apartment:
Tried to put 2 TC2s on top of each other, but that didn’t work. It’d require me to file off a piece of one of the TCs and that was a bit too much of the good
I like the image as it is, though. It’s a lot crisper than previous moon pictures I once took with my old Sigma 170-500mm.