A Long Cold Winter in New Jersey

Next time I decide to get a new camera I think I’ll wait until the springtime! It’s been a very long and cold winter here in New Jersey and it’s been difficult to get outside to take some photos.  It’s been snowing every other day for the past month and I found myself fearful of taking my camera outside to take a picture. I was afraid to get snowflakes on it. Will I ruin my lens? Can my lens actually operate in 0 degree weather? Perhaps a more seasoned photographer out there could advise me as to the wisdom of taking a really good camera out into bad weather. I guess a reasonable answer is, if no one took their camera out into the bad weather we’d have no pictures of the snow or rain. But how do you protect your camera and is it reasonable for a newbie to avoid extreme weather conditions?

My time has not been wasted during these harsh winter months. In between shoveling feet of snow and driving very carefully I’ve been looking for some keen camera angles and waiting for a break in the weather to snap a few winter scenes. Here are a few I was able to get the other day in about 36 degree weather (which felt quite warm!).

The picture below was taken along a walking path in the Saddle River County Park (Saddle Brook area) in NJ. What I liked about this picture was this small area where it was just water. The entire lake was frozen except this one little section and for me it was the first sign that Spring was just around the corner (11 days from the time of this post).

Winter in New Jersey

Winter in New Jersey

Here’s a picture of the entire frozen lake. The photo above was taken way down the other end of this picture. You can’t tell where the earth and water begin or end. What I like about this picture is the shadow of the tree branches on the snow. It reminds me of the roots of the tree below the surface.

Tree Roots in the Snow.

Roots in the Snow

Here’s another view of the frozen lake:

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The Thaw Begins

Even the bench can’t wait for Spring!

Reflections of Winter 2015.

Reflections of Winter 2015

Along this path:

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A Winter Path

We found this:

A Cozy Crazy Cabin in the Woods

A Cozy Crazy Cabin in the Woods

How nice is this?! I think this little cabin is the owner’s way to bring color and excitement to the not so colorful white world of winter.

Our walk this past weekend was nice, but my face was frozen toward the end of our walk. I felt a little rusty using my big fat new camera out in the cold, but I think I did ok. My camera didn’t freeze or stop working, nothing happened to the lens or buttons. It was my first “bad weather outing” with it. No precipitation was falling out of the sky but it was a bit windy and there was snow on the ground in some places. Nevertheless, my camera is safe and sound with me waiting for our next big photo shoot! LOL!

Lessons about Exposure and Lighting

I had the pleasure of photographing a very beautiful Siamese cat named MooShu. He is a very peaceful cat who adores interacting with people. He is an older gentleman with beautiful deep blue eyes and a magnificent silky smooth coat. Moo, as I affectionately call him, is an excellent cat to photograph as he is very trusting and not at all skittish.

Choosing my first subject was easy. However, choosing where he would be photographed wasn’t so easy. Moo likes is special place which is an upstairs room with not a lot of light. So, how do I handle this?  I tried first to photograph an object that I thought would be similar lighting as the room that Moo was in, but I was wrong.

The object I chose to focus on to pre-set my settings before photographing Moo was a small metal butterfly sitting on a special shelf that was all its own. The lighting in the room was an overhead chandelier and I wasn’t sure if the lights were fluorescent or regular light bulbs. But once I shot this photo, I thought I’d be all ready to seamlessly shoot some photos of Moo. I was wrong…

Metal Butterfly

Metal Butterfly

Moo was in an upstairs room. The lighting was completely different. As a matter of fact it was almost non-existent! Moo liked to hang out in what was described as the “MooShu Lair!” Yes, it was indeed Moo’s very own room. It was a simple room that was quiet and peaceful just like Moo. But…the lighting was completely different. I did not think about the lighting being different from room to room. The room had one small decorative lamp sitting on a side table and a window. The sun had set and dusk had set in. MooShu was barely visible on the couch in the room. You would think I could get Moo to move to a different room, but he was sooooo comfortable laying on the couch I didn’t have the heart to call him to another room. So much for pre-setting my camera to easily take pictures.=

Now I was at a loss. Since the room was dark I couldn’t see the buttons on the camera to figure out what settings I should change to accommodate the lighting.  After “fiddling” around with the settings, here is the first picture I took of Moo in the dark room.

MooShu in a very dark room.

MooShu in a very dark room.

Sheesh…that is just awful…I know!!!  Here’s the second photo I shot in which I increased the ISO:

Moo Shu - same dark room different settings.

Moo Shu – same dark room different settings.

Oh, boy…not much better. But then it dawned on me. E X P O S U R E! I needed to increase the exposure! So, that’s what I did.

MooShu – dark room – increased exposure

Ahhhh…much better! This is the MooShu I know.

There are a few lessons I learned during this photo session:

  1. You can’t preset your camera’s setting while standing in a different room from where the picture is actually being taken.
  2. I need to memorize the buttons on my camera. It was very frustrating not really knowing which button showed the correct menu on the camera’s screen.
  3. I need to relax. There was no pressure here. I was only with my husband and Moo and there was no reason to be nervous, but I was.
  4. I realized that I don’t yet have a good grip on exactly how ISO, Exposure, Aperture and all the other settings affect the photograph.  I need more lessons.

Here are a few more pictures of MooShu.  I love that cat!

MooShu and Mark

Beautiful MooShu

Beautiful MooShu