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Snow•tog•ra•phy

Photo Tip of the Day

Snowtography – noun: Getting the perfect shot of a winter wonderland before your fingers freeze off. (see also: photografreeze)

Snow means lots of things: snowball fights, harried commutes, slippery roads. It also means great opportunities for amateur photographers brave enough to capture one of nature’s great phenomena before the urge to go inside and drink lots of hot chocolate sweeps over you.

So what’s the best way to take pictures of blindingly white snowscapes? If you do nothing, your camera will be confused and make everything mid-toned, which makes for dreary gray images. Here are some tips to help your camera:

Like any other photograph, you must frame and focus first. Then you have to ‘fool’ the camera…the camera thinks it is very bright and will make everything darker. So you have to choose an exposure compensation value between +2/3 and + 1 2/3 that will lighten everything. If your camera has an Exposure Compensation feature, you dial the PLUS in. If you want to do it manually, look at the meter reading and remember the settings—then in the manual function area dial in the new aperture and shutter speed.  Your goal is to intentionally overexpose the frame, so that the snow looks white but other objects aren’t blown out.

Here are some of my winter shots:

Here is a photograph of as it came out of the camera. The camera thought there was lots of light because of the snow, so it made the photograph darker:

I added 1 “stop” to the camera by using the Exposure Compensation button, and the scene became properly exposed:

 

I was in Brattleboro, Vermont over the weekend and I happened upon a Ski Jumping competition. It was very cool (pun intended) to be so close to this iconic Olympic sport which I have only seen on tv. What’s interesting to note is that the jumpers fly through the air about 15 feet above the jump.

All rules are meant to be broken and here I wanted the foreground to GO DARK, because the sunset was spectacular in Townshend, Vermont and the eye expects a sunset to occur in the darkening sky.

 

 

All photographs copyright Phil Cantor 2013

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Valentine’s Day is not so bad!

February can be rough. All the newness of the New Year is gone and Groundhog Day and President’s Day hardly seem worth celebrating. Going anywhere means putting on lots of layers…and then realizing you forgot to go to the bathroom beforehand.

 

Enter: Valentine’s Day. The holiday has gone through many transformations over the years—from its origins as a martyred priest’s feast day (100-200 AD, sources are apocryphal) to a day of gangster violence (1929, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre) to a commercial day so sugar-y sweet your teeth might fall out if you walk down the Hallmark aisle at your local drugstore.

If you and your sweetheart exchange gifts, consider giving a portrait to him or her as a present. You’ll not only have a fun time pretending to be models together, but you’ll have a tangible piece of art to look back on over the years as you grow together. Make an appointment today, 973-783-1065. Or, click here for a Last Minute Gift Certificate.

Plus, a portrait will last longer than a homemade coupon for a free breakfast in bed or foot massage.

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A Walk with Wilson in the Woods

Having a dog means meeting a series of never-ending needs: veterinary care, car-blanket laundry, love and affection, food…cleaning up the end results of food. Most importantly, dogs need exercise and play time outside. Luckily humans benefit from those two things as well, so the excitement is mutual when I take my dog Wilson for a walk.

Rather than always relying on the typical around-the-block route, I like to take Mr. Wilson (his full name) to Eagle Rock Reservation for a midday jaunt.  If you haven’t been there before, I highly suggest it. It’s just five minutes from my studio on Lackawanna Plaza but feels like the Catskill Mountains.  I like parking on Afterglow Way and entering the Reservation from this little used path.

The reservation is a beautiful 400-acre undeveloped wonderland straddling the border of Montclair and West Orange. It has dozens of trails, streams, and hilly terrain perfect for an energetic guy like Mr. Wilson. Despite his firm unpretentious nature (he refuses fancy dog food or considers no toy or other dog, no matter how dirty, beneath him), he turned into a model the minute I took my camera out.

Where do you like to walk your dog in the Montclair area? Leave a comment on my Facebook page.

Regards,

Phil, Pho-dog-rapher

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Montclair is the People’s Choice

Montclair has long been known as a destination for art. We have the world-class Montclair Art Museum, numerous galleries, and the fabulous Clairidge movie theatre that shows foreign and independent films.  Add the 100+ restaurants into the mix and the whole place becomes a destination for culture and diversion.

Now, it’s official! The 5th Annual JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards have chosen Montclair the FAVORITE DOWNTOWN ARTS DISTRICT in the State (click here). Very cool.

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Punxsutawney Phil

Today is Groundhog Day—the only holiday to feature a prognosticating rodent. Well, I suppose it’s the only holiday that features any rodent at all. I’ve always felt a strong connection to Punxsutawney Phil, for no other reason than his last name is the same as my first name.

I have to admit that I’m a little jealous of the attention my name-brother gets each February 2nd. If anyone would bother to ask me about my predictions about the arrival of spring, I would proudly say that I have a 100% accuracy rate. Spring will start March 21st in the northern hemisphere this year. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.

The “King of the Groundhogs” did not see his shadow this year, meaning that spring will be arriving early this year. This is great news—spring means rebirth, trees and flowers in bloom, and great opportunities for fun outdoor photography sessions!

Regards,
Photog-nosticator Phil

Photograph: WESH2 NEWS
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