Eight essential tips for taking pictures in the snow.
Thought For The Day
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams
On your next hike through the forest look down - way down and discover a new world at your feet. Along with the amazing array of textures and colours you'll find plants, flowers, moss and mushrooms invigorating the forest floor.
In this project I wanted to explore the fungi living on and transforming the forest. Without fungi the forest would collapse. In addition to helping decompose matter (and returning nutrients to the soil) many mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with trees. Unlike plants mushrooms can't synthesize their own food from light. The mushroom helps the tree extract minerals and water from the soil; in exchange, the tree supplies the mushroom with sugar compounds.
So take a moment to enjoy these forest dwellers the next time you're on a hike and admiring the beauty of the trees around you.
Thought for the Day
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo da Vinci
The Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal that were discovered in the 1400's by Gonçalo Velho Cabral, a monk and explorer. A group of 9 islands, the Azores is located in the mid-Atlantic. The islands enjoy a temperate climate making it an ideal place to visit, regardless of the time of year.
In October 2016, we visited São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores islands. Although October can be a bit wetter than in summer, we experience relatively little rainfall and our daily temperatures ranged between 17°C and 24°C.
So what's there to do in São Miguel? As it turns out a lot, especially if you love outdoor activities, fine dining, exploring centuries old historic buildings, viewing street art, taking photos or relaxing in rejuvenating thermal pools.
Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, is located on São Miguel the largest island and locally called the "Green Island". São Miguel is very lush and a gardeners paradise with flowering hydrangeas everywhere. Ponta Delgada offers many sights including the historic City Gates, pictured above. It's also a great place to discover local restaurants serving fresh Azorean fare. One of our favourite places, Boca de Cena, is run by a single individual that is owner, chef, maître d' and waiter. It's a small restaurant with only 10 tables so it fills up quickly. We would recommend making reservations.
There's a lot to explore in Ponta Delgada, just remember that places often close early (by North American standards) and on Sunday only a few stores and restaurants are open. Be sure to visit the fresh markets, Antonio Borges Park with the large Australian Banyan tree and grottoes, and the various churches such as St. Sebastien's Mother Church. Ponta Delgada is also known for its graffiti, colourful doorways and intricate cobblestone patterns in the street.
As interesting as Ponta Delgada may be, the real Azores can be found by getting out of town and visiting the rugged and picturesque countryside created through volcanic activity. São Miguel still exhibits a lot of secondary volcanic activity such as hot springs although the last time a major eruption occurred was in 1652 on Pico do Fogo. We adventured both east and west. East to see Cete Cidades and Fogo and west to see Furnas.
On our East Island adventure we decided to take a jeep tour through Futurismo. The jeep tour was more intimate than the bus tour and provided better opportunities to explore such as our visit to the Salto do Cabrito waterfall. Our guide was very professional and helped make the tour fun.
We booked a Pure Azores west island tour to see Furnas, the north shore and the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Nature Park. Our guide was wonderful and helped to make the experience special.
Furnas is arguably the most volcanically active part of São Miguel and is known for its iron-rich hot springs and magnificent parks and gardens. It's also known for its volcanic steam cooked meals, a unique Azorean experience! On the way to Furnas we stopped in the little town of Vila Franca do Campo to try the famous custard pastries made by the local bakery there - Do Morgado.
In many ways São Miguel is a photographers or painters paradise with visual opportunities around every corner. The image of the north shore is just one example.
We took advantage of a vacation package that included flight and hotel. We flew to the Azores through SATA and stayed at the Antillia Hotel Apartamento. The hotel includes short and long term rentals and was conveniently located close to the city center so that we could walk and explore the city.
Text and photos are copyright Eric David
Sometimes it's worth your while to look again. On the long weekend I was out exploring an area beside the Gull River, taking a few shots and looking for that perfect picture. I'm not sure that I found that perfect image, but I was able to get some interesting shots, maybe even a couple of "keepers".
The image above illustrates what you can do when you rethink your image. The first shot (on the left) is a standard exposure taken at 1/125 second, f6.3 using a wide angle lens at 16mm. There's not a lot of contrast in the image and the reflections in the water hide some of the interesting details underneath. The second shot (on the right) was taken at 2 seconds, f22 using a 3 stop ND filter. The second shot has a lot more contrast, the water's been smoothed out and the highlights aren't as fractured.
Here's another image, this time taken at 8 seconds using a 10 stop ND.
Thought for the Day
“Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Senca
Photographers often obsess about sharpness. The sharpness of the lens, the number of megapixels in the camera's sensor, hand held techniques for stability or investing in quality tripods. This obsession is especially true for landscape photographers but also applies to street, sports and portrait photographers.
But photos that freeze the moment sometimes miss that special element. The element that helps to complete the story. The sense of the wind, the flow of water, the movement of dancers, the excitement of participants in a parade.
The photo above captures the coordinated movement of flags at a parade giving a sense of the performance while at the same time providing a sharp capture of the performers faces. I think this helps to transport the viewer into the moment more effectively that a freeze frame capture.
In the photos below the same principle applies by contrasting movement with sharp image elements:
So the next time you're out thinking of capturing the moment, think about incorporating some movement into your photo, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Thought for the Day
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.