Enough of the landscape stuff…

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Heeeeeere’s Oliver! It was so cold when we walked the golf course on Sunday, the shutter button on my camera literally froze. Seriously. Before it did though, I managed a few snaps of my baby boy. He’s already 16 months old, though in these photographs I can still see glimpses of the cute little puppy we brought home just over a year ago. He amazes me every single day with the amount of joy and affection he has to offer, and I wonder just what we did to deserve such unconditional love. The least I can do in return is take him to the golf course and let him run off his leash. Like most dogs, he loves tennis balls and sticks… give him either, and he’s one happy boy!

For those interested in the semi-technical stuff… Canon 5D II in A1 Servo mode with a 70-200mm f4 lens mostly at 200mm. The camera finds dealing with the snow quite challenging – it usually tries to tone the brightness down and leaves a darker than normal image – so I intentionally set the camera to overexpose by half a stop to ensure a more accurate exposure. I bumped the iso to 200, and chose a shutter speed of at least 1/500th second (fast enough to freeze even the quickest Golden Retriever). Then it’s just a matter of throwing the stick or tennis ball, and when he fetches and eagerly runs back toward me so I can repeat the process, I position myself down on one knee at his eye level and snap away.

Every now and then I get a good one 😉

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Ghosts…

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On our regular walk to the golf course, Oliver and I always pass a large stand of pine trees located opposite a graveyard. Depending on the time of day, the light, and the current season, these trees present a variety of interesting opportunities for photographic compositions. The sun had already set when I took the camera out one last time on this particular walk – I set the shutter speed to half a second, and started moving the camera up and down through the scene. I knew that the strong lines of the trees would contrast well with the cool carpet of snow that covered the ground, and it only took me a couple of tries to get something I liked. As twilight washed over the scene, I feel as though the low level of light combined with the dark tree trunks made for a ghostly impression.

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Experimenting

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12-30-13 oliver14I usually only carry a 70-200mm lens when I take my “real” camera to the golf course to make photographs of Oliver as he plays, and I like the reach it provides for my fast moving friend. The longer focal length is a significant departure from the wide angle approach I usually take when shooting landscapes, and it provides ample opportunity to practice and experiment with a different perspective. The sun had already gone down for the day, and although there was still some warmth on the horizon, the snowy fairway was engulfed in the blue hues of the reflected darkening sky. The longer lens compressed the scene considerably, and I had some fun experimenting with a variety of compositions. Here’s one I liked.

A snowy abstract…

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12-30-13 oliver15So far, we’ve been getting our fair share of snow this winter. The temperatures have dipped down pretty low too, making it a little challenging to spend any kind of quality time outside. New Year’s Eve brought us a cozy – and record low temperature of – minus 13 degrees F (that’s -25 C!), so it’s fair to say that it’s been chilly around these parts lately. After a fun walk to the golf course with Oliver, I spotted this little scene while making our way home. The sun had already dipped below the horizon, and almost reluctantly, I pulled my frozen fingers out of what were warm and toasty mittens to shoot the cool shadowy blue of this snow bank contrasting against the sunset sky. I used a long-ish lens (70-200mm) and a large aperture to isolate just the elements needed, and although a rather simple and abstract composition, I kinda like it. Oh yeah… and this one makes for a “cool” (pun intended) iPhone home screen.

Like glass…

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12-30-13 oliver16We still haven’t managed to lose any of the recent accumulations of ice received during the holiday ice storm. Instead of warming up, the temperatures have taken a dive for the worse, and that means the landscape is still covered in a glaze of ice. At any other time of the year, this little tree isn’t something I would even think of photographing, but with a coating of glass, it glistens magnificently in whatever kind of light we have. Returning from a walk with Oliver, I was intrigued by the beautiful colors in the sunset sky and grabbed the quick photograph posted above. Several days apart, below is the same tree in very different light…

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A foot of new snow…

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…so away we went to the local golf course. Oliver loves the snow, and he also loves being off leash. We recently spent a few days visiting Granny and Grandpa in Northampton, MA, and although I’m sure there are places we could have let him run, we aren’t too familiar with the area just yet, so it had been about a week since he ran free like this. A foot of fresh powder overnight meant some serious digging out this morning, but it also made for a perfect winter playground – and needless to say, Oliver made the best of his opportunity. I like to think he’s genuinely smiling in the photograph above, and even if he’s not, I KNOW he had himself a blast! Happy New Year!

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Ice

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So, we had ourselves a little ice storm here in Maine. It’s amazing how much trouble a half an inch or so of ice can cause, and although this storm wasn’t on the same scale as the one in 1998, its impact was still felt pretty hard all across the region. The actual event of ice falling isn’t what creates all of the havoc, but rather it’s the ice accumulating on tree branches and then being frozen in place as a coating of glass. Tree limbs are heavily bowed – and in many cases broken – with the added weight, and if electrical wires happened to be in the vicinity, well there’s a good chance they came down too. We were some of the lucky ones. Other than a few intermittent outages, our power has stayed on. Many people were not as fortunate though, and I can’t imagine what kind of holiday they had. The cold temperatures have hung around for the past week, and without a noticeable warm up, the ice is still laying heavy on the landscape. We’re bracing ourselves for another 6-10 inches of snow this evening, with more ice, sleet and freezing rain mixed in for good measure. Although it makes for a winter-wonderland landscape, I’m about ready for some of those balmy mid-thirty degree, ice-melting temperatures. And yes… that’s a very happy dog in the last photograph – he’s exploring along the edge of the woods where all the good smells are 🙂

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