Cold. Wet. Raining. This is the kind of day that John Shaw (nature photographer extraordinaire and author of John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide, John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature, John Shaw’s Landscape Photography, John Shaw’s Business of Nature Photography and several eBooks on Lightroom Workflow and Photoshop Techniques) would call and. HBO day. So what exactly is an HBO day? When you are on location shooting and the weather is miserable. You hole up in the hotel room and watch HBO and catch up on your sleep.
Well, if you’re like me and can’t stand being on location and not being productive, I have a few suggestions for your next potential HBO day.
Scout- just because you don’t feel like getting all your gear out doesn’t mean you can’t take a drive and a walk to scout locations. Take a small point and shoot camera (or iPhone) and shoot some examples to remind you of what is at the location.
Browse the Visitors’ Center and Ranger stations and look for maps and postcards and images. Ask the rangers where those images were taken. Beats the heck out of having to hike an entire park just to find the one great spot.
Catch up on email and post some images to your website or Facebook or blog.. People want to know what you are doing and where you are. It might make their life easier by knowing that the conditions are good (or that they suck), especially if they are planning a trip soon to the same area.
Keyword your images- Confession time.. I keyword the basics every time I import into Lightroom. Even on the road. Then, when I get time, I do more specific image keywords that are not generic to the entire shoot. I find it easier to keyword when memories are fresh. If you don’t know the exact name of a trail, you can always go back and find it before you leave. I am getting into the habit of photographing trail head signs, overlook signs (and info) and park signs to make it easier to put exact location into my keywords. I only put in GPS coordinates if I have my GPS hooked up to the camera. Automatically records location (including elevation).
Experiment with image taking – inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. It was a cold rainy day when I took these images. I parked underneath an old bridge and was able to walk around under the bridge and set up my tripod and play..
This has been termed a Multi Exposure Monet by Tony Sweet. You loosen up your ball head and set your camera to multiple exposure (coming soon to even you Canon shooters). I use 7-9 exposures. Then move the camera ever so slightly in a “V” shaped pattern to create little brush strokes of image. Takes some practice, but lots of fun.
MERZ (Multi Exposure Rotate and Zoom). 70-200 with a tripod collar works best for this technique (even though I have used my 200-400 also). My technique is to decide my final composition and then hold the zoom ring (with the tripod collar loose) and make the same number of moves with the camera body as the number of multi exposures I plan to take. Also takes a little practice.
LERZ (Long Exposure Rotate and Zoom). Same as MERZ but instead of multiple images, this is just one image at ½ – 1 second..
MESH (Multiple Exposure Shake and Hold). I also call this my martini shot, because it is well shaken. Double exposure on tripod. Loosen the ball head and use a long exposure. While shooting, move the camera around on the ball head. As soon as the exposure finishes, freeze and take a second image.. Play with more than 2 exposures and see what you get.