Where I Went Wednesday: Polar Vortex 2.0

January 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Deep in the throes of Polar Vortex 2.0 in Chi-beria, I realize it’s time to write a Where I Went Wednesday post.  Sadly, this week it’s nothing more than an account of the couch/ bed/ gym/ work rotation I’ve been keeping.  Frankly, it’s just been too chilly to get out and about.  But even in this extreme weather, I won’t complain about the cold temperatures- so cold that my house key snapped in half.  I won’t whine a bit about the icicles that form on my eyelashes on my walk to the train.  Won’t even mention that my mutts can’t pee outside, or that my car won’t start half the time, or that the trains even quit when it drops below – 15F.   No, I  will embrace everything that hooker mother nature wants to throw at me this winter with open arms and sweat pants.  Because this is just the cost of living in the greatest city on Earth.

My polar votex companions:

Photography

A few photos of my best pals on a cold Sunday morning. Pet photography isn't that much different than kid photography-  get the subject in the general vicinity of where you want to take their picture, then bribe them with words like "treat" or "You wanna go bye-bye?" to get smiles.  Since I prefer the look of natural light, I did all that I could to avoid getting out a flash. 

Lighting/ Reflected Light:  I opened the blinds halfway- there is harsh light coming in from the open window, but I strategically placed the mutts to be in the softer light that comes through the window shade.  I opened it just as far as I could to allow in the most light, while still keeping a shaded, softer light big enough to pose in.  In non-photog words, there's bright sunshine streaming in from half the window, but they are posed in the light from the half of the window where there's a curtain.  Opening the curtains like this provided more ambient light, and the light-colored floors reflected it beautifully to get light on the shaded side of the mutt.  This is a critical technique to learn in natural light photography-  look around for light reflectors.  Reflected light adds definition to a photograph.   Often times on a photoshoot, I look for the natural reflectors of light brick walls, a water puddle, sand, etc.  The concept is that you use the main source of light (in the mutt photos, the light from the window) to illuminate the main focus of the photo- but usually at an angle.  Then the reflected light adds in detail to the shaded parts of the photograph.   Above, the main light is coming from the left of Sue, and left behind of Reagan.  You can see the directionality of the light in the shading.  Then, there is light reflecting off of my light-colored walls from the right and off the light-colored wood floor from the bottom.  There's depth in the photo from this technique.

ISO Settings:  Even in the day with blinds open, my condo isn't the brightest.  So, to keep the flash away, I dialed my ISO up to 1600.  ISO settings are a measure of the sensitivity of the film/ digital sensor.  To you, that means that it's a measure of how grainy the photo will be.  Low ISO results in no grain, high ISO is high grain.  In full sunlight, you can set your ISO at 100, shade may require ISO 400 or 800.  Evening I jack it up to 1600 or 3200.  Same goes for using a flash.  So- relating back to my low- light situation, higher ISO also requires less light to get a correct exposure, and that's why I chose to dial it up.  The small bit of grain that resulted was later fixed in Lightroom (my post-processing software). 

Aperture Settings:  For the mutt portraits, I wanted a low aperture for 2 reasons-  first, to give less depth of field (ie greater blurred background effect).  Second, lower aperture allows in more light.   Read more on  aperture in this Snap!torial.

Whew, I'm pretty impressed with my ability to write this much about a couple quick photos of the mutts.  :)

Happy Shooting!
Cara


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