Sunday, 16 December 2007

Backyard Photography

I am a firm believer in the idea that one’s best photographs are made in places close to home rather than exotic and picturesque locals. I think is particularly the case for nature photography. It is simply a combination of more time to truly explore the photographic potential of your area, as well as a more intimate knowledge and understanding your personal landscape. I’ll take this one step further and say that the best place to practice photography is your backyard. Is there any other stretch of nature you know so well?

I’ve been thinking about this topic again because as a result of my recent move, my new backyard offers significant opportunities for photographic exploration. With a large partially wooded lot and lake frontage, I could probably wear out my K10D without going more than 2 minutes walk from the front door. For example, the image below was made at the lakes’ edge, late in the afternoon with ice just beginning to form along the shore. I used a Cokin Blue & Yellow polarizer to emphasize the blue and gold highlights of the reflections on the water and the rocks. I think the overall effect is nice, but I’m not really happy with the harsher blue & yellow highlights. This is a problem I’ve noticed when using the Blue & Yellow on a digital camera; it tends to make for some gaudy looking highlights. I’ve tried Darwin Wiggett’s suggestion to adjust white balance in the RAW conversion to compensate, but they don’t seem to work for me (possibly due to the fact he’s using the Singh-Ray filter not the cheapo Cokin version I have). Any one have any ideas?


Howard Grill said...

Chris...I agree that at home is the best place to practice and often the place to get your best shots.

I have given up pretty much with my Singh Ray Blue and Gold...however, here is some help and suggestions from Tony Sweet as to its use on a digital camera:!.html

Great shot by the way.

Chris Sheppard said...

Thanks for the link, Howard. It looks like Tony's fix is similiar to Darwin's; adjusted to colour temperature in the Raw conversion. I've tinkered more with the image, and I think a big part of the problem is the lower quality of the Cokin filter over the Singh Ray. Humm ... I may have just justified buying a new filter.

Photo Buffet said...

Chris, I couldn't agree more if I tried--my favorite photos are right in my own backyard, too. In winter, I t end to go for landscape or bird photos. In spring and summer, I head for the flowers and create soft macros. Sticking close to home has taught me to really study details, and to look closer each time I'm out there. Your photo is a perfect example of that.

Photo Buffet said...

Chris, what a treat to discover your beautiful photos. I take about 90% of my florals in my own backyard--literally. I've always figured that it's the best place to experiment.

Photo Buffet said...

Chris, apparently I already discovered your beautiful blog back in January. Today I followed a link to it and it was like the joy of discovery all over again. (Please delete duplicate comments! I couldn't find your email or I would have written to you.)

I look forward to checking out more of your archives!