From: Light, To: Dark
Summer is unofficially over. The 2011 FamousInternetSkiers.com calendar is getting printed, and you can grab your copy today. Indeed, the change of the season is underway. The Northern Hemisphere is tilting away from the sun; Our climate is taking it’s annual change from warm to cold; Our corner of the world is turning from light to dark. In the midst of all these changes, our minds here at FIS have turned from the warm valleys back to the snowy peaks. Despite our collective eagerness to transition back to winter however, I personally think it’s worth celebrating a few of the vestiges of summer before we take the plunge. In a small offering toward this end, here’s a collection of photographs from the past season that I hope will help you celebrate memories of summer, and psyche up for the transition from light to dark.
Besides being busy this summer with an immense pile of work, I spent a good chunk of time learning to better harness light with my camera. These shots are the results of my experimentation. In particular this collection employs a photography technique I’ve been practicing ever since I saw Grant Gunderson’s Star Trails (see shot #1 on his website). Mr. Gunderson’s basic idea was to blend a long exposure of a dark scene, with an instantaneous burst of light on a moment of action. For instance in Star Trails he blends the apparent motion of the stars as viewed from a rotating earth over a period of several hours, with a skier slashing some powder snow. The resulting shot is a classic, and Mr. Gunderson’s technique has fascinated me. As such I decided to start working on this type of photography myself. This summer I finally got down to doing it. For my shots I’ve blended the silky sheen of flowing water, with the high speed fall of someone jumping into a deep pool. Here was my first success with this technique. Needless to say, the moment I saw this image come up on the back of my camera was a pretty exciting one. Not only did I get the effect I was hoping for, but I saw the opportunity for endless experimentation of chiaroscuro above and beyond what I had previously seen in Mr. Gunderson’s shots.
As I learned more about this type of photography, I began combing the state for more locations in which to shoot. Vermont incidentally has absolutely no shortage of swimming holes with waterfalls, and it turned out that there would be way too many to capture in just one summer. Nevertheless, visiting these pools (which I personally consider to be among the crowning gems of the state), and getting these shots turned into something of a hobby. At times it was a quite strange experience and at odds with one’s intuition about recreational swimming. Indeed, rather than just visiting a swimming hole in the middle of the day when the light is best and the water is warmest, I instead found myself at these swimming holes a few minutes after sunset trying to blend the light to suit my lens. Needless to say it was a very cool way to experience a classic part of Vermont Summer.
This summer has been an incredible learning experience, and I hope these shots are as fun to look at as they were to produce. In this one it was fun and a bit scary finding the tiny sliver of water in which to jump. It was pitch black when Kristin jumped in here. Only for a split second as the flash went off was she able to see the chasm she was dropping into.
Just because it was dark out when the shutter opened though, doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun swimming. On the contrary, we had a blast at each swimming hole, and without exception we always had the place entirely to ourselves! In fact, it was frequently the case when we showed up at a swimming hole as the sun was setting, that we would often get the strangest look from people departing who were sure they were the last visitors for the day. Little did they know how much fun was about to go down after dark:
Read about the author: Greg