This photo of a bullrush covered in a Christmas morning hoarfrost makes for an interesting picture.

Photography of Hoarfrost on Christmas Day 2013

Making Pictures column with professional photographer John Enman

Christmas day couldn’t have been better. The sausages and champagne additions to our ordinary breakfast of coffee, yogurt, and bagels was yummy, and my wife, Linda, and I were happy with our presents. Yes, it was a great Christmas morning and to make it even better, when I went outside to feed my chickens, I noticed everything, well, everything but my hungry chickens, was coated with hoarfrost.

The day was overcast and sometime during the evening another inch or so of snow made its way to our yard and the surrounding forest, and I guess that chilled the air around the already freezing surfaces created what this photographer can best describe as a wonderland of frozen, white, crystalline frost.

I attached a ring-flash to my 200mm macro lens and mounted it on my camera. My wife chose an 18-200mm lens for her camera, and then we donned our boots, and warm coats, and headed out.

Linda began by trudging through the deep snow in our yard picking out interesting snow and frost covered features. She wasn’t using a flash, but had her camera set at ISO 1600. The high ISO allowed her to choose faster shutterspeeds so she could leave her tripod behind.

Even though there was a light cloud cover, the day was perfect, with just enough light to give the frost a slight illumination on the snowy morning.

I was shooting close-ups and could have easily selected one of the automated modes in the shadowless, flat light; but using the ring-light on my lens allowed me to underexpose and slightly darken the background to build some dimension and depth in the images I was making of the hoarfrost-covered foliage.

Selecting manual modes for both flash and camera, plus a low ISO of 100, gave me more control over my subjects. I made exposures at 1/250th of a second and adjusted the aperture to control how much depth of field I wanted. I like using flash when I do close-up or macro photography. Whether it’s wandering around in the rain like I wrote about last August or on a frosty Christmas day, adding light from a flash allows a photographer to build the image, not just document it.

I thought about putting a flash on a stand and shooting wirelessly by positioning a flash at different angles, but the mobility of the ring-light mounted around the end of my lens worked pretty well for the type of photographs I was making, and besides I could easily walk everywhere and after our Christmas breakfast I think I needed the exercise.

The frosty morning pictures were a good addition to those Linda and I made of each other earlier. I have closed my shop till after the New Year, so there will be lots of time for more picture taking in the snow-covered landscape.

I hope everyone has a great Year End with best wishes from Linda and I.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net. Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

I sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment. And if you want an experienced photographer please call me at 250-371-3069.

 

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