Monday, March 7, 2016

Chilling Out

By Emily Hussey

Emily Hussey teasing the camera in the bright sun
(Photo credit to Devon Groombridge)
We have all experienced that bombarding, chilled feeling of stepping out the door, ready to
begin the day, and a huge gust of wind makes you turn right around and go back to bed. When
it comes to photography, cold weather can be a huge deterrence! Winter life is a beautiful thing
to capture. To beat the winter blues and get motivated, here are some tips I have accumulated
along the way from friends, colleagues, and from my own experience!
Reflect and Ponder-
Ice, snowflakes and overcast clouds are all things that you must consider if you want to have a
successful day out in the field of photography. There are so many reflective surfaces when you
venture away from the studio: perhaps even more during the frozen months.

Ice is an obvious issue when watching for light bouncing back to your lens but some people
don't realize that snow reflects too! Snow on the ground will reflect light back making it difficult
to get the perfect exposure, or colour balance(1) if you aren’t careful. This is because snow acts
as a large bounce card(2). A creative photographer will be able to use this to their benefit, for
example, you might use the reflection from snow to create stunning catch lights(3) in the
model’s eyes. Overcast days may seem dreary but they are ideal conditions to shoot in. The clouds, similar to the snow as a bounce card, works as an enormous scrim(4). Think of it like the sky is your
assistant holding up a diffuser(5)!

Dave Beaton enjoying the sunny weather. (Photo credit to Alexa Manser)
Weathering the weather-
Temperature is an unpredictable stipulation that, unfortunately, we're forced to work around.
My advice for this would simply be: get prepared! Going out to shoot shouldn’t create more of a
problem for you such as wind burn, frost bite, illness, or dehydration.
The essentials: Fingerless gloves, warm winter coat, waterproof boots, hat to cover your ears,
and if need be, a scarf to cover your throat. Also, include your shooting gear. An important
object in my pack is a water absorbent cloth. If it starts to snow or for some reason your
camera gear gets wet, you can quickly be rid of the moisture.
Bringing warm tea or a water bottle will come in very handy, especially if there is a lot of snow
or mud to tread through because this exertion results in dehydration very quickly.

Taryn Lutz took off her coat to pose (Photo credit to Emily Hussey)
January 29, 2016, was a bright and sunny day for shooting! The temperature, however, was
in the negatives. We weren’t about to let the that pull our mood down with it. Devon
Groombridge and Taryn Lutz came along with me to capture some beautiful shots for our
project of four separate portraits. The four photos had a number of specified light situations:
direct sunlight, direct shadow, a tight headshot in sunlight with scrim and bounce card, and a
full-length portrait with scrim. Our mission was laid out for us as we started on our journey!
We ventured to the Animal Farm for the great backgrounds the area provided. Despite the
weather forecast, many of us had not fully prepared for the day. The snow had finally delayed
its falling, which had started earlier that morning, but the ground was still graciously covered.
We spent the day jumping from different locations all over the property to complete the project
and made great progress.

Taryn Lutz smiles for a portrait, no matter the weather.  (Photo credit to Emily Hussey)
We learned quite a few tricks along the way: The best way to hold a scrim in the rushing wind
is not to use your teeth; whether you want it to or not, the bulky coat has to come off the model
for a more sophisticated photo; and lastly, discovering the power of a good joke is key! It is one
thing to be a technical wizard with your tools but being able to relax your model and get them
to show true emotion is the goal to great portraiture- even when you can’t feel your frozen
cheeks smile!

Taken from wikipedia:
(1) Colour balance- In photography and image processing, colour balance is the global
adjustment of the intensities of the colours (typically red, green, and blue primary colours).
(2) A card, either silver or white, that is used to create soft indirect lighting on a subject
matter. The card allows light to bounce off itself and onto the subject matter, creating a
delicate atmosphere. Sometimes cards are used to create soft shadow areas or a soft
brightening on an area. Frequently the cards are used outside because they do not need
any electrical power to work. Also known as a reflector card.
(3) Catch light or catchlight is a light source that causes a specular highlight in a subject's eye
in an image. They are also referred to as eye lights or Obies, the latter a reference to Merle
Oberon, who was frequently lit using this technique.
(4) A scrim or gauze is a very light textile made from cotton, or sometimes flax. It is lightweight
and translucent, great for reducing the amount of light going through the cloth.
(5) A device that spreads the light from a light source evenly and reduces harsh shadows.

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