I am a people photographer, but take me out of my regular environment and I’m happy as Larry shooting everything and anything, whether it moves or not.
Shooting into the light
I have been spending a few days in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York before heading to the warmer climes of Florida. The weather here is chilly but bright and we are travelling in a valley beside Cayuga Lake. The sun is visible weakly behind the thick mist coming off the lake. It is ideal to be able to shoot directly into the sun to create some really atmospheric effects.
I love the receding planes of lesser contrast as the mist obscures the detail of the trees. Shooting in this way turns a relatively nondescript scene into a hauntingly beautiful landscape, where you expect a werewolf to be lurking just out of frame!
I always shoot in RAW as it allows later experimentation on alternative colour balance decisions. In this instance, because you would be more likely to spot that lurking werewolf after dusk, I pulled the balance towards the blue end of the spectrum.
During these trips I spend a lot of time shooting textures and scenes that I can later integrate with studio model shots – you are bound to see the above scene cropping up in my work sooner or later. It is always a source of amusement that on our vacations whilst my wife is busy shooting scenery I am shooting the sides of rusting dumpsters and grungy cracked walls! Other photographers hurry to my side to ensure they are not missing a photo opportunity, only to leave with a puzzled look when they find I am apparently shooting nothing!
Photographing into the light
The next morning presented a further chance to shoot into the light. When the sun is near the horizon, not only does the light take on a warmer orange hue, but the strength of the light is less, keeping the flare when shooting into the sun more manageable.
As I didn’t get out as early as I had intended, there were elongated shadows which help make the image more dramatic, but the sun was also a little higher and stronger than I really wanted. I solved this by moving myself to frame the image with either branches or trunk blocking some of the sun’s rays.