As the temperature in Australia starts to drop and the country is cloaked in darkness earlier and earlier many people seal their camera bags for the year and call it a day, shifting their passion from shooter to observer and watching the world through an iPad screen on the couch. It’s nice being indoors, after all it’s cold out and the icy wind is ripping through skies dragging clouds across the horizon at a cracking pace. But this is where a spoon full of concrete is needed, to harden up and realise that summer was just a practice run. It’s time to throw that rain jacket in the camera bag and hit the road because winter is coming and it is the absolute best time of year to capture inspirational images for people to look at from their nice warm couch.
A couple of months back at the end of summer I looked at the forecast in horror. I had a seascape photography workshop and just a couple of days out the weather looked catastrophic; ‘Sunny with 0% chance of rain’. It often doesn’t occur to us that regardless of the subject in our photos, it is often the texture of the skies that make images breathtaking. A sunrise on a cloudless summer day is one of the hardest images to master because you have very little to work with; like a Michelin Chef with nothing more than a raw chicken and a potato to prepare an award winning meal. The stormier the skies the more dramatic the image, the more dramatic the image the more mood and emotion you can inject into your photographs and lets face it, photography as an art form is not about pretty pictures, it’s the ability to provoke thought and emotion.
Make friends with Winter, it will surprise you
Apart from the amazing skies winter offers, one of my favourite techniques to bring out the emotion in an image is to use reflections. Not necessarily in pools of water (although this can be very powerful) but the gloss and reflections of wet surfaces after or even during the rain. I am an especially big fan of night photography in the city with the streetlights glowing off all of the surfaces. To different people Winter can invoke a different feeling. Me personally? I love seeing images depicting the rain and cold, it making me feel warm about being inside when viewing it; a feeling of thoughtfulness. It makes me feel validated that I’ve chosen to spend this time indoors with the heater on, reflecting. That is a powerful emotion to provoke and one that can have a more lasting impact on your audience. For extra impact and drama in your images consider learning the use of ND and ND Grad filters to really take control of the drama in the skies.
If the idea of capturing breathtaking images that inspire thought isn’t enough to keep that shutter button of yours firing, perhaps I can turn your attention to the extra hour of sleep you get before the sun peeks over that horizon?
Join me this Winter to learn how to tame the skies, storms and seas and show the couch dwelling world the magic they are missing!
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