Shooting from behind

This spring ice storm provides the perfect lesson in “shooting from behind.” Much of what we shoot in the camera is light reflected off of a subject. But anytime you have a subject that is translucent, the better photo is often shooting “through” the subject.

photocrati gallery

What are examples of translucent subjects? Water, both in liquid and frozen form, leaves, flowers and other plants, and glass and plastic, cloth such as sailboat sails, even insect wings such as those of a dragonfly.  I am sure there are many other examples. Shooting through any of these items often gives an image some life and shape more than if shot from the other side straight on.

There can be a downside to this approach, however. Often shooting into a bright source like the sun makes the back side of the subject pretty dark. Depending on the subject, I will often use the camera flash to fill in those dark areas. Another approach is to use a reflector to push some light back towards the dark side of the subject.

These photos are from the coating of ice we enjoyed this past week. Many are combinations of translucence and reflected light. You see through the ice, but the trapped subject inside is reflected light. Enjoy!

Spring diamonds

I took this photo as part of a Photoplay challenge at the High Calling Focus blog on including lens flare and/or shooting into the sun as part of the image. I used the back-lighting to help diminish the background detail and to emphasize the tree buds. I also wanted to capture the feeling of being in a surrounding of “diamonds” after this Spring ice storm.

This photo was shot at Calvin College at 7:50AM on Thursday, March 24. It is a beautiful world out there!

Lines of winter

Winter images are often hard to come by.

Everything is coated in white. The leaves are gone. The trees are barren. Much of the landscape is colorless. Photographically, a lot of what there is left to see boils down to lines. Lines in bare trees. Lines that separate the earth and sky, lines in streets and buildings, and lines where the edge of snow meets an object.

But perhaps that is a good thing for photographers too. Lines are what make up perspective. Lines are powerful elements in an image that lead your eyes in to the subject. Lines can simplify a composition, or complicate it. Lines can be the subject. Repetitive lines are also interesting in that they help form patterns, a whole other topic for a future post.

I was out shooting winter scenes in the Upper Peninsula a few weeks back, and came across this stand of birch trees. Typically I would not just take a photo of a grouping of trees, but something kept my eye focused on this scene. I noticed the lines in the snow drifts leading towards the trees. The branches of a neighboring pine tree also pointed to the birch trees. The birch trees seemed to stand like photographic models, displaying an “S” shape that stands in contrast to all the straight lines coming towards them.

So, thank goodness for Winter, and for the reminders of basic photographic technique that comes with it.

Here are some more Winter images I have made in the past few weeks.

photocrati gallery


Our pastor preached on “Worry” this past Sunday. At the root of worry is desperate need for control over our own lives. We want to be in control of what others think of us, of our looks, our finances, our career, etc… And then there is worry over the things we have even less control over: world peace, hunger, violence, the environment.

He shared this Prayer of Abandonment. He said that some say it at the beginning of each day. It is a good reminder of who is in control, and that  to be free of worry we need to remind ourselves of this, and “surrender” ourselves to Him.

How would my life change if this were my daily prayer?

Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucald