Photography Tips For the Photo Doldrums – Frost, Ice, Re-freeze and ‘Tenacious Grace’

Some Of Water’s Cold Season Photo Ops

In (3) previous articles we have considered photography tips using water as an ideal photo subject during warm seasons when it involves waves, waterscapes, waterfalls, reflections, abstracts, spray ‘n splash, bubbles ‘n foam, puddles, condensation, hail, mist and fog to help us out of the photo doldrums. Now, let’s consider some of it’s cold season photo op’s for doing that.

Water is unique because it can be found in all three basic states: vapor, liquid and solid. In the cold seasons, when it can turn crystalline or solid, is when it can produce truly fascinating and amazing pictures. Here are some photography tips for that season:

#1 – Frost: Transforms things into artwork. On leaves and vegetation, subtle edge and vein patterns stand out boldly as intriguing designs. On window panes frost patterns can be fascinating. Again, it’s mainly a matter of checking out your local weather forecast, knowing your surroundings, what to expect, and getting there with your camera before it melts!

#2 – Ice: If there are puddles, or a pond or lake nearby check out the edges when the water freezes. There will be ice captives; leaves and twigs just below the surface encased in the ice, sometimes with air bubbles and patterns in the ice itself. Just be careful about thin ice and how far out on the ice you venture when taking such pictures!

#3 – Re-Freeze: Here is a special ice-situation to look out for; It snows, then turns mild and rainy, then suddenly cold snaps. Check out the depressions and roadside ditches. The snow has been ‘sculptured’ by the melt and run-off, then encased (along with leaves, etc) in the clear ice from the rain and cold snap, producing some very unusual subjects.

#4 – Tenacious Grace: Is there a lively stream or brook nearby, one which tumbles and bubbles over stones, rocks or fallen trees and branches, generating splash and spray? When the temperatures drops well below freezing you’ll find a delicate embroidery-like ice (hence the name) forms on the edges of things from the spray.

Self-Assignments For Above Photography Tips

Choose the projects that interest you most. Follow the photography tips conscientiously. Re-shoot when you aren’t satisfied. Do it til you are satisfied. It’ll take all your patience and passion. Your skills and eye will improve with the practice. Shoot especially in early and late light. Use a tripod as much as possible. Edit your results relentlessly. Pin small samples on the wall for a few days to study before making final prints for wall art.

Photography Tip #1 – Frost: (1)During winter cold-spells choose a window that faces the rising sun and place a humidifier in front of it. Open the inner window about ΒΌ” to let warm moist room air enter and contact the outer window to form jack frost on it. Take pictures as the sun rises and shines through the frost. (2) In late fall and early spring when the forecast predicts frost, get outside early and look for fallen leaves and grasses with frost on them. Take pictures.

Photography Tip #2 – Ice: When it’s cold enough for ice to form, locate some large puddles or a pond and look for “ice captives” (leaves) just under the ice surface, and take pictures of them through the ice.

Photography Tip #3 – Re-freeze: When the weather does a snowfall, then a thaw with rain, then a re-freeze, get outside and check the depressions and roadside ditches for snow swirls under clear ice with leaves, etc caught in it and take pictures.

Photography Tip #4 – Tenacious Grace: When the weather turns really cold locate a nearby stream that briskly tumbles over rock piles and branch jams and you’ll find ‘Grace’. Find a pleasing section of it with water running by it and shoot with a slow shutter speed to blur the water in contrast to the sharply detailed ice.

In the next of this set of articles we’ll consider still 4 more photography tips on cold season photo op’s that water can provide for overcoming the photo doldrums: icy streams, freezing rain, icicles and snowflakes.

Eight Easy to Prepare Vegetables to Boost Your Detox

Tired? Stressed? Feeling bloated and heavy? Then your body may be in need of a rest, cleanse and detox from your usual foods.

Eating a variety of vegetables as well as fruits whilst on a detox helps to build and strengthen your immune system and other body systems.

Wherever possible, lightly steam your vegetables or even better eat your vegetables raw, for example, you can make a wholesome and filling raw vegetable salad by thinly grating and mixing together carrots, sweet potatoes and beetroot.

If you are used to eating the same few vegetables, why don’t you be a bit more adventurous and use your detox as a time to explore the taste and texture of different vegetables. Vegetables are crunchy and when you eat and chew correctly, they can help to take the edge of any hunger pains or cravings you may be experiencing as you detox.

The following eight vegetables are easy to prepare and can be juiced or eaten raw to maintain their natural nutrients.

1. Cabbage. Red, green or white cabbage is an excellent source of fibre, vitamins (especially C, K, E, B1 and B9), minerals (iron and potassium) and beta carotene, these are all essential for good health and vitality. The dark green, outer leaves are the richest source of anti viral and anti bacterial nutrients. Cabbage aids digestion, helps to cleanse the liver and detoxifies the stomach.

2. Celery – Celery (I must confess, as a child I ‘hated’ celery, but after my first detox it is now one of my favourite vegetables!) Celery is low in calories, always a bonus when you detox, and a superb source of fibre and potassium (potassium plays a vital role in the body, e.g. in nerve function and control of blood pressure.) Celery also contains several other active compounds, for example, it is a natural anti-inflammatory, and as such helpful to ease rheumatism.

3. Cucumber – Cucumber has a very high water content (96%) which makes it an effective diuretic, therefore aiding the kidneys to work more efficiently. You can even cut thin round slices of cucumber and rest them on your eyes as you relax during your detox.

4. Carrots – Carrots are among the best detoxifying vegetables, they are naturally sweet which hampers any sweet cravings you may have on your detox. Carrots are a rich source of beta carotene (carotene – vitamin A). Beta carotene has powerful antioxidant qualities that may help protect you against many diseases. High in fibre content, munching carrots has a beneficial healthy function for your bowels.

5. Broccoli – Broccoli is a magnificent source of vitamins – Vitamin C, B9, calcium, zinc, iron, folate, potassium and beta carotene (precursor of Vitamin A). The nutrients found in broccoli are believed to give protection against many diseases and contains cancer fighting photo chemicals. Raw broccoli is a must for your detox.

6. Beetroot – A beautiful rich colour, beetroot is essential as a liver cleanser and is a powerful detoxifier. It is an excellent source of fructose, vitamins B9 and C and minerals, especially potassium, calcium and iron.

7. Radishes – this tiny vegetable is a good source of fibre, vitamin C (which is essential for the health of various tissues and for wound healing and also offers some protection against anti-infective activity.) Radishes are a good diuretic and as such used to treat kidney and urinary complaints.

8. Courgettes/zucchini – Courgettes are low in calories, contain generous amounts of vitamin C and B9. They have a high fibre content which promotes regular bowel movement.

All that goodness just from eating a few more vegetables! As you can see, when you detox you give your body a boost of vital nutrients which helps to boost your energy levels as well as strengthen and repair your body organs. I am sure when you are tempted to divert from your detox, you can find a vegetable to snack on to assist your good intentions. I would be interested to know what vegetables you enjoy the most. Drop me a line and let me know.

Great Stock Photos When the Conditions Aren’t – Making the Most of Every Opportunity

Most photographers arriving at a popular photo destination will do so with a fairly clear idea of the shots they want to get. They will have seen the postcards, books and travel brochures, and they’ll have an expectation of what they want from the visit.

Basically they want the classic shot of the destination that everyone gets, and if they come away without it they can often feel cheated or even inadequate. So regardless of conditions, they will try to get it, even if it’s an exercise doomed to failure from the start.

It might be a famous vista on a dull overcast day, or some outdoor landmark under stark midday lighting, or an impressive waterfall late in the day when the light is going fast. The conditions mean they’re never going to get the shot they’d hoped for, but they take it anyway.

That’s OK for your personal record but for a professional photographer this can be a real trap. Once it’s in your collection it takes iron discipline not to include it in your marketing efforts. I see these types of image sneak past even the most discipline self-editor, again and again, and it can make the most experienced professional look like a total amateur.

It’s easy to see how they slip through though. As long as it’s ‘the best you’ve got’ on a subject, it’s going to lead the ‘polls’ when you are evaluating your work, and most photographers find it incredibly difficult to discard ‘everything’ they have of a specific subject.

Most of us will edit it down to one or two without too much trouble, but to actually discard everything is really tough.

And yet, deep down we always know the image is not up to scratch, we know that there will be better images available to buyers, and if we’re really honest we’ll admit that it’s never going to sell!

Even worse, if you go so far as to post it to a collection or show it to your Clients, it can make your whole collection look bad.

Remember, being the “best shot you’ve got of it” doesn’t cut it for buyers. Neither does ” that’s just what it was like on the day”, or “the bus was leaving so we couldn’t wait for better light”. The exception is obviously if the location is particularly remote or unique, and seriously under-photographed, but here we are talking about subject that you know are well documented.

So if you are going to take these shots ‘for your own records’, make sure you remember that reasoning when you get to the sorting & editing. You need to physically remove them to your personal file at the first opportunity… before you weaken!

The other problem with this approach is that it focuses your attention on the shot you can’t get to the exclusion of all the other shots that might be there waiting!

Because they know deep down that they haven’t got the shot, most photographers will get caught up on the conditions and ‘fate’. They’ll moan about the dismal conditions and walk away with one or two ordinary images with zero commercial prospects. If you’ve ever been around when this is going on you’ll have heard them grumbling about the weather and how they would have gotten a great image if only they weren’t so unlucky.

Less than ideal conditions don’t have to mean a missed opportunity though.

In fact, because most photographers are going after the Classic Shot, this is a great opportunity to add something relatively unique and much more marketable to your portfolio. The trick is to focus on the photos you can get?

If conditions are less than perfect the first thing you want to do is take control of the lighting.

That means finding subjects where you can move in close and create your own lighting conditions using flash, reflectors and basic camera settings. Is the sky is dull and washed out, take it out of the frame. If every photo you’ve ever seen of the subject had a big blue sky behind it, then that is even more reason not to include a washed-out boring white one!

So look for the flash shots? Look for the close ups? Look for the macros? When you get in close you stop being a slave to the conditions.

Can you use the location as a backdrop rather than the feature? If you’re focused on a strong foreground subject, then the washed out sky can actually become an asset, so what other subject matter is there to work with? (Again, those days are often ideal for the close ups of vegetation, wildlife, architectural detail!)

Can you bring some people into the image? (This is something you should be doing regardless, but the drab overcast days can actually make it even easier). For this to work though you usually need to take control and build the image you want. That’s going to mean talking to them, telling them what you want to do and arranging them where you want them.

If conditions are poor, ANY of these ideas well executed will usually outsell your best attempts at the Classic Shot. Once you’ve got a few ideas, then you can start to think about which ones have realistic commercial prospects.

1. WHAT subject matter can I get good photos of?

2. WHO is likely to use this subject matter?

3. HOW are they going to use it?

4. WHAT will each buyer-type need their photo to do?

Instead of an ordinary shot of a popular subject, you have the opportunity to add dozens of marketable shots to your collection. The real bonus is that most of them will be shots that most other photographers will miss!

You will always find it’s much more productive to devote your time and energy to producing something a little bit unique, custom shot for specific buyer-type, than taking another ordinary shot of a popular subject.

As a guide, if you’ve seen more than one or two published photos of a subject, then you can safely consider it ‘popular’. There is little value adding an ordinary shot of it to your stock collection because someone will have already captured it under ideal conditions.

Shoot a copy for your own files by all means, but be realistic about it’s potential… someone is sure to have been there at the right time on a good day. You’ll do much better if you keep looking for something different with a real market.

The good news is, the more often you do this, then the more possibilities you’ll see in every photo opportunity. It all comes from reversing the thought process and holding off releasing that shutter until you know exactly who it is you’re shooting for and what it is they’ll need.

When you do this you can work out exactly what you’re trying to achieve… and when you know what you’re aiming you’ve got a much better chance of hitting it!

So treat every frame as a mini-assignment and you’ll not only shoot more prolifically, you’ll be shooting stronger stock images as well!

Photo Cake

If you’ve been to a child’s birthday party recently, you’ve more than likely to have seen a photo cake. A photo cake has a photograph of the guest of honour or something they hold close to there heart imprinted on top. Thanks to technology, a non-toxic photo can be printed out and used as a cake topper!

How is this possible? Most people ask this and its simple the person wishing to have a photo on cake made gives a favourite photograph to a website of choice. The website will print out your image with and description that you require on happy birthday or anything you want then you will add it to your cake.

To make the photograph for the photo on the cake, the website will add any inscription you require and print the provided photo. Once the photograph fully edited it’s printed out on special edible “paper” made from potato starch, water, vegetable oil. The ink used to print the picture onto the edible paper is made from food colouring.

(This edible paper won’t take away from the overall taste of the cake)

The things to keep in mind when picking your picture will be that you want the person or main object to be centre this will help if you want an inscription on your picture so the inscription can go around the edge. If you can’t find a picture were the person / object is centered a good website will still be able to produce a great photo cake.