(John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

A good time of year for taking photographs

This is a good time of year to take photos of the changing season. Everything is happening with the weather. The beginning of the week there was snow, and by mid week it was cold rain. Yesterday was nice comfortable jacket weather with some sun, but today was damp, windy and uncomfortably cold. Next week there will probably be more snow and maybe a day with some sunny periods.

I finished last week’s article with those words, and in six short days the weather changed from being cold and overcast to a comfortable above freezing sunny day with lots of snow over night.

I did write, “It’s a good time of year for photography.”

Saturday morning I wanted to take advantage of the bright contrast of white snow and the shadows caused by the bright morning sun without my usual practice of using a flash to build highlights or fill shadows.

Photographers must be careful on days that are extremely contrasty. Photos are easily overexposed and the shadows can pack up. Both exposure problems reduce detail. I chose to use my 70-180mm AF macro lens. I wanted to photograph those close-up features in the snow, and getting closer to subjects would be easier to meter.

I set my camera at a very low ISO of 64. The usual low ISO advice we get comes to get noise-free images or to help with long exposures. However, low ISO also increases dynamic range.

Dynamic range in digital photography is the value between maximum and minimum light intensity, as in the tonal range from the whitest-white to the blackest-black. Increased dynamic range means there will be more grey tones in both the white and the blacks.

Using the low ISO when the day is bright and sunny with reflective white snow makes metering so much safer and helps us to retain details in both shadows and highlights.

I wanted to wander around my yard and look for interesting photos of snow covered objects growing, leaning or poking out of the fresh snow. Snow makes for creativity. Everything is so different and fun to photograph. The forecast for tomorrow is mostly sunny with clouds. Then the rest of the week it’ll probably be a mixture of rain and snow. Yep, it really is a good time of year for photography.

If there is blue sky I will get out the camera I had converted to infrared and go for a drive. I would also like to get some long exposures of snow falling down by the river. My friend Jo told me it has been really foggy down by the river and wants me to join her as the sun comes up in the early morning

I am thinking that in spite of this ever-increasing pandemic, November is going to be a good month for those of us that are out in the countryside with our cameras. I might even make a return trip to the quiet town of Chase to duplicate the shots I made there last week. The fall leaves covering the sidewalks will be replaced by snow, and I wonder what the waterfall will be like?

As I write with the thought that some readers might grab their camera and step out in their yard or neighbourhood to make a few pictures I’ll include the words of American photographer Eliot Porter, “Every photograph that is made whether by one who considers himself a professional, or by the tourist who points his snapshot camera and pushes a button, is a response to the exterior world, to something perceived outside himself by the person who operates the camera.”

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.