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Thursday, 03 March 2011


Prepared? We in real country (southern California) shoot year round. We're always prepared. Next week it's out to Palm Springs for four days. Yep I'm prepared. Always. Year round.

Here in Portugal the spring is on it's way too. The portuguese April is known as a month with plenty of showers, but with this "climate going crazy" thing I'm not so sure this ancient rules apply anymore.

My list of locations to photograph is growing and since I've just recently analyzed my photos to organize them in different projects I think this year my approach will finally change to a more project-oriented work rather than a random search for photos (witch is fun and good too in it's way).

March and April have got to be the dullest months for many northern hemisphere shooters. Here in Scotland our snow and ice - and the visual interest it created - is 85% gone, exposing ground-cover which has had the dead hand of winter on it for the past four months. Trees are still bare and will remain so until early May; sunshine is infrequent; low, moist cloud-cover is the norm.

Yes, roll on Spring!

Ah yes, planning for seasonal changes. I think we just went from rainy season to sunny season here in Guyana :) And I just bought a rain coat to go with my weather sealed camera (K7) too.

The thrill of watching seasons change disappeared since moving to the tropics. Always "summer". Hot or hotter. Rainy or rainier.

Enjoy spring those of you who have it.

(On the other hand, I do not miss winter)

I enjoy winter photography a lot but we've had very little snow in Ottawa this year. It seemed as if every storm that hit the mid-west tracked the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence and missed us here. I have family in Montreal and they had lots more snow than we did, and it's only 2 hours away. For some reason, I had two bad colds in a row (and so did every one I know), which meant that I have not taken a picture since early January, unusual for me. I used my snow blower 3 times this season, when it's normal for me to use it three times a month and more.

I'm hoping that the Fujifilm X100 will be released in time for spring photography. This guy is in Asia but he posted some unboxing photos:

I'm sure my current dSLR rig would do just fine this spring but nothing gets ya shooting like new equipment.

April and early May are my favourite Spring months for shooting. You can't beat that fresh green foliage dusting the still mostly bare branches of the trees. And the sun is still not high enough in the sky to be really harsh during the day.

Summer is pretty grim as the foliage is darkened with chlorophyll and takes on a dense look, not helped by the contrast-reducing effect of the strong Summer sun.

As you might gather from the above, I tend not to do much 'golden hour' photography - I feel that 'look' has been done to death. I much prefer shooting in the rain or on cloudy days as the wrap-around lighting you get is better suited to my style of photography.

Shooting through the darker winter months in the new NorthWest has been a challenge in many ways. The flat light in particular has been a trial for me. However, even within this I've made some discoveries. The soft box like effect can make the urban landscapes I shoot seem like they were shot inside a studio or otherwise faked in some way. I just love it. Here's an example:


Yea, I'm getting prepared for the fall and winter light here in the southern hemisphere. Much better than the summer's contrasty brightness.

I have to agree with David Paterson. Up here in Juneau AK the melting of the snow brings the dullest landscapes of the year. Things get better in May. Late March and especially April are good times for indoor photography and getting better at Photoshop.

Don't keep us guessing!
"I even knew a photographer who did a project in pitch darkness (bodies in a darkened room with infrared film. Her camera had a visually opaque red filter on it, and she aimed her zone-focused camera by ear. It was good stuff, too)"

That wasn't a tease--she was a class or two ahead of me in art school and did the project for her senior thesis, and I honestly don't remember her name now. Haven't seen the work in forever, but I can still picture some of it in my mind.


I'm mostly an indoor photographer, so the times of year when people head outdoors get kind of dull. I'm a wuss about winter photography, but the relatively few times I drag myself outside to shoot have been rather productive.

I like the seasons...all of them. The changes force me to change my working habits and subject matter. After living in Northern California for 7 years, where I loved the consistently nice weather, my photographic energy is nevertheless greater now that I'm back east.

My pictures don't turn out so good in the winter because the light is dull. In the spring, my pictures suck because it rains too much. In the summer, my pictures are poor on account of the harsh sunlight, and in the fall every picture I want to take has already been taken by someone else and done up in HDR.

If it weren't for the seasons, I would be a really great photographer.

The beginning of the Spring was about a month ago here on the Croatian shores of the Mediterranean, with temperatures up to 16 Centigrades during the day. It's the daffodil time now. And we had snow yesterday. It melted on contact with the ground, though, but it was proper snow, just like in continental climes.

And say what you want about the tiredness of "golden hours", the honey-coloured late afternoon light of the deep summer still melts my heart.

I still like the springtime, just for the white fluffy clouds towering above the horizon. :)

"...there are other photographers who actively seek out those conditions for their work."

A really great point, Mike. Rather than blaming conditions for cramping our styles, we could instead try to adapt--maybe even stretch--and be open to the creative opportunities that those conditions present.

As an individual I'm always thrilled to see winter go bye-bye. As a photographer I'm a bit sad as fall and winter are when we have our most dazzling sunrises and sunsets.

@John Krumm

I like dull.....


see, nice and dull...........also with a little Panasonic :-).

Greetings, Ed

Still waiting on Ctein's photo restauration book......should arrive next wednesday it took nearly 2 weeks then and Elsevier is a Dutch publisher.

Hi Mike,

Checking in from New Zealand. Yesterday was a lovely summers day, today winter has hit with a vengeance.

Here the plants seem to follow the seasons but the weather is all over the show.

Well, from New Zealand, I'm not thanking you for the reminder :(

We are now in autumn (preferable to "fall") here in Tasmania. Whilst the days become short this is when we have the most settled weather. So as you dig out from the snow we will just keep on shooting.

New Orleans is a beautiful city and I like to visit during lent. Mardi Gras madness is over, things are quiet, hotel rooms as reasonable as they get, the weather is delightful, cool with a long day, and the garden district is glowing. Just sayin

I'm a cold weather Yankee hiding out in Austin, TX and have to say after 4+ years down here I don't miss the frozen stuff at all. We had a rare extended freeze a few weeks back where for a 72 hour period the high temp was 28 degrees F. Long time locals say it's been 20 years since they've seen such weather. Lots of broken pipes and it even smelled like real winter. Bright side to the story is it's been in the 70's and even a few 80's since which is pretty much summer in Maine.

I don't want to call into question the wonder of northern spring -- you deserve it after what you go through (I spent some years in Iowa and Minnesota). But I am pleased to report that spring arrives around February 15 in Middle Georgia, led by flowering Japanese Magnolia and Bradford Pear trees. The acme of Georgia spring comes in March and early April with Yoshino Cherry tree blossoms (Macon has 30,000 Yoshino trees I am told) and the Dogwoods and Azaleas of the Augusta National Golf Course you see on TV during the Masters. The fact is that our our winters are so mild that those so inclined can ride road bikes and do outdoor photography as much in the winter as the summer.

Here in Ontario Canada I have been shooting in -20 C windchills with my Nikon D60 and Olympus EP2 with no problems. Goes to show you don't really need "professional" bodies unless you go to a war zone. But then again, I wandered around the Afghan border with my Nikon F801 film camera back in the day...not to brag, just goes to show...!

Here in Western Australia we have had a record breaking summer with temperatures above 30 degrees C in the city for the 26th day in a row, beating the previous record set in the summer of 1988. Which all equates to continuous blue skies which is boring for taking pictures? Unfortunately over in the Eastern states as you know there has been floods and cyclones all summer.

Mike, greetings from almost 43 degrees south of the equator.
The past summer never really arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and there is a little snow on the nearby Mount Wellington which I'm looking forward to photographing up close. In fact, I'm planning on "star-trails over snow" if the weather co-operates. Growing up in Victoria, Australia, I rarely saw snow and now relish the chance to go out walking and photographing in it, often giggling like a child with pure pleasure!
While waiting I might pass some of the time looking at my first amazon purchase (through your link) that arrived yesterday: Enclosures by Andy Goldsworthy.

Was in the Northern Hemisphere last year, am in the Southern this year... so confused.

As a regular visitor to TOP from Melbourne, I can tell you that summer was pretty darn interesting down here. We had torrential rain that well and truly broke an 11-year drought and flooded some towns more than once. When it wasn't raining, we had midday light that looked like the blast from a nuclear explosion - hard shadows and washed out colours. I am looking forward to winter in the hope that I can find some decent light.

In South Australia, we've had a mild summer but the week-end was a burst of what summer can be like: 38C (around 100F). This week has been perfect mid-20C.

I photograph a variety of subjects, so if the landscape is not suitable then I can easily find something else.

For folks who have to deal with snow and ice for parts of the year, can I suggest you check out Juha Haataja's "Light Srcape" blog. He lives in Finland and has no trouble taking good photos all year long.

I'm English, so don't get me started about the weather ...

As one of your Southern Hemisphere readers, I'm not overly concerned about the imminent onset of winter. Actually, I'm quite looking forward to the cooler 25 deg. C (77 deg. F) days and reduced humidity that the season brings in Durban. Not to mention sunrise at a (more) reasonable hour!

As Peter says, record heat in perth Western Australia, or more to the point, for this forum, record brightness, extreme even in a place that has about 10 & 1/2 months of fine weather a year. You want to test out that 4000th of a second shutter, here's where you need to be.
Perth also has such a brutal hard, hard light. Haven't seen anything like it in all my world travels.

Here in Ontario, the March tradition is, "In like a lion, out like a lion." ... also known as "six more weeks of winter would be an early spring, damn groundhog!"

On the other hand, every mid-February we have a thaw, intended to fool you into thinking this year will have an early spring, just before the temperature plummets to -30 ... which is more or less the same whether it's F or C

Funny thing. I've recently embarked on a Field camera Friday starting this month. An ambitious goal, but if you don't try, you'll never succeed.

I want to shoot one or two holders at a try.

I've put my 4x5 camera stored in a gym bag in my car and I'll see where things go.


Another southern hemispheran here. With autumn officially arriving, we move into the most settled time of the year - cool nights, pleasant days. The days get shorter, but the trees mostly stay green, even through winter.

We only really get two seasons in the southern most capital city - spring and autumn... Never too hot, never too cold, only ever too windy.

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