Back in Fuerteventura!

I’m back on my favourite island – Fuerteventura!

This time I’m not only accompanied by my husband but also by my Fujifilm x-t2. Last year I had my big Sony, and my shoulders and back hurt and I sometimes left the camera in the car. Fujifilm and a 35 mm lens has walked with me all day yesterday and all day today – and I hardly know it’s there! Except for when I need it of course 🙂 I keep it in a wrist-strap, so easy to change hands if necessary and no big strap that gets in the way or constrict my movements.

Enough about my equipment…

We arrived yesterday. We left at sunrise, and I got some shots through the window of the plane (sorry about the poor quality, the window wasn’t exactly clean…)

The light at sunrise is kind of fantastic!

Almost nine hours later we checked in at Surfing Colors – we came back this year as we really like the relaxed atmosphere here. A stroll around town, see what’s changed since we were here last year, a pizza at one place, a coffee at another. Relaxation starting to spread.

Before dinner we took a short walk in one of my favourite parts of the island, the “badlands” between Corralejo and El Cotillo. We didn’t go far, but the rough feeling of the wind, the sea and the lavastones always make me feel att peace with myself.

The sun was setting, so we got some really nice light!

When I turned the other way I could see the town:

And as it got darker I turned to the mountains and the hills of lava-stone.

See why I love it here? This is raw nature, untamed, not bending to anyone or anything.

I’m so happy to be back!

 

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Frost

It’s getting cold in Sweden, and during the morning walk with the dogs, the ground was covered in frost.

Frost is beautiful! It really brings out shapes and adds texture, and the world looks different. I like to look for shapes and composition, and frost makes it easier to see as it defines edges and exaggerates lines.

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I look for some things in particular:

Contrast.

 

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The ice breaks in interesting shapes, this one looks like the letter “K”.

Edges.

 

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Frost gathers around the edges, and make beautiful sprinkly shapes.

Lines.

 

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I also love the colours on this one!

Curves.

 

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Again, the colours really add to the photo. I love this one.

Repetition.

 

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And a short DOF to add a bit of composition.

Maybe I will manage through this winter after all!

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the scenes

Often when I do a session I get ideas as I see something – I can see the finished photo in my head! Often when I di this, I work with a dog that is not my own. That means that I have absolutely no idea if it will work or not, but most of the time we give it a try!

If the dog is hungry and the owner patient most of the time I get my shot. Sometimes it takes a little time and effort, and a lot of creativity, but as long as the dog thinks it’s a fun game we keep trying and see what we get!

This time I saw a tree.

“Do you think we can get Ciri to stand on her hind legs and rest her head between the branches?”

“No idea! Let’s try!”

And the finished result:smakprov-3761-2

I think Ciri had the most fun!

Working together

I feel a bit guilty, normally I post twice a week but these past two weeks have been kind of busy…I have had some absolutely amazing photo sessions, and I will show as soon I get the editing done the way I want it. I have got two from today, so let’s start there!

Autumn is the best of seasons when it comes to photographing, and today was no exception. Overcast but bright, the colours are fantastic, and it’s still warm enough to let the dogs be in the water.

Ulrika wanted photos that reflect their relation and how they love to work together. With a dog this well trained, and a relation filled with mutual love and respect, that was an easy task!

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Seeing two individuals working together like this, and to get the privilege to capture it with my camera, that makes me all warm and happy. Thank you!

A photo that tells a story

The more I look at photos and create my own, the more I appreciate photos that tell a story. Sometimes they are a little bit harder to “get” at first, it’s easier to appreciate a beautifully lit portrait, but to me, they are the photos that I return to and look at time and time again.

It’s hard to know what makes that kind of photo. It’s hard because it’s all about how I associate, what memories and feeling I get, and that depends on my past experiences and what I personally like and dislike. I can get totally stuck on a photo that no one else likes. And I can find photos that get a million likes totally uninteresting to look at. Photos, images, are a personal experience.

Yesterday I met a friend and her dog for a session. They always make me smile because they really and truly enjoy being together. They have a strong friendship, and it always shows. They have fun together.

When everything was done and we headed for the cars, she looked at her trousers that were muddy and her shoes that were wet and asked me for one more photo. One that shows what it’s all about when you are out having fun with your best friend. So I took this, and I absolutely love it:

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This makes me think of their joy together, and how they never care about dirt or water – they are all about the great outdoor adventure. A tracking line and a toy tell what they have been doing together. A whole story in one photo.

It also brings me back to my own walks in the woods with my friends, working together, training, och just hanging out. What it feels like when we are…you know…connected with nature? I can see that it may sound a little weird, but that’s how it feels! Me and my dog, in the forest, doing fun stuff.

I think this photo requires that you have those experiences (or similar). Otherwise, it’s just dirty feet and paws, and a toy. Or maybe I’m wrong?

As you can tell, I’m a bit fascinated with how images speak to people in different ways. I’m curious – does this one speak to you?

Use what you have around you

Autumn is well on its way, and that is yummy for a photographer…Autumn colors are amazing!

 

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Yellow, red, green, and a warm autumn sun. And a kelpie! 

It’s easy to think that you need to live near a forest or have a beautiful garden if you want to take photos like this one. Actually, you don’t. You just need to see what’s around you, and use that to your advantage!

The leaves behind Midori grow at the side of the road near my place, and it looks like this:

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Five meters further and there´s the freeway (with a fence!).

With a 50 mm lens and a well-behaved dog, this is what I can do with two orange bushes.

 

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It’s all about choosing the right angle and crop.

From another angle the bushes look like this:

 

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The road to my house to the left, freeway to the right. One small bush with red berries.

Midori and I got this shot:

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In all of these photos, she is seated almost inside the bushes and peeking out. You can actually see the road in this one, the gray behind the leaves and berries at the top.

To make these photos work I used a 50mm lens with f/1,4. I chose an overcast day to get nice and even light. in post processing, I have enhanced the yellow and red a bit, added a vignette to draw the attention to my beautiful dog, and that’s all.

Take a walk in your surroundings. I bet, if you look closely, you will find places you never thought about as backdrops to a photo before!

 

 

 

Early mornings

One good thing about autumn is that sunrise is a bit later. My dogs wake up at 6, so we might as well take a walk and let Ola sleep late on the weekends 🙂

I even took my own challenge from last week – the same motive in ten different photos. These are my four favourites:

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And the dogs were really happy to just follow me around. I think they can enjoy the beauty too.

Behind the scenes: create photo art with a piece of cheap fabric

I still have two photos left in the Content Creation Challenge, and this weekend I got some beautiful fabric that gave me an idea for “time”.

Yesterday I worked at school all day, and I felt totally empty when I got home. I love my students, and I give all I have…

So, a perfect time to do something that requires a whole different mindset than teaching! The dogs followed me, curious about what I would do. I really liked this sky, but soon saw that the light didn’t work at all.

So I moved, and soon learned that horses are 1. very curious, and 2. easily scared.

But I got some shots to use, the light was perfect, and I liked the sky even better!

Now, I wanted some extra shots of the fabric and moved to an area with shorter grass. I was careful to use the same angle, to get the same light.

It was windy, and that means I would have to flip the photo later to get the flowy fabric on both sides. Not a problem. Much harder to get the fabric to cooperate! I have 50 shots of me holding fabric in the wind…

And the final photo looks like this:

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I am really pleased, this is almost exactly the image in my head 🙂

So to make this photo you need:

  • Two dogs as company (absolutely necessary for the creative process)
  • Two skittish horses (optional)
  • A piece of fabric, about 100 kronor (10 dollars)
  • Patience
  • A tripod for your camera
  • Remote (I use my phone and Fujis app)
  • More patience and stubbornness
  • A few hours in Photoshop (three, I think it took me)

 

Use your feet to get more variation in your photos!

Last Friday I had an amazing photo session with Jixxa, and I have shown one photo already.

The photos are not finished yet – I will do a “fairytale-edit” on the ones the owner chooses- but I want to use them to make a point.

All photos in this session are shot in the forest. I wanted to use a shutterspeed at 1/150 because dogs tend to move a bit even in portraits, and I wanted ISO as low as possible to reduce noise and bring out the best quality. So I used my 50mm f/1,2 during the whole session (I used a smaller aperture than 1,2 at times).

That means no zoom.

Let’s look at some of the photos (remember, not fully edited yet!)

I want you to notice the variation. Not only in the pose, angle, and background (this place is absolutely fabulous and gives me all these backdrops in 100 meters) but in how close to the dog I am = how much of the environment is showing!

I shoot in gorgeous nature. Of course, I want that to show! But not in ALL photos.

When I do a session like this, I try to get some different kind of photos. Here is my mental checklist:

  • “Behind the scenes”, when the owner is working with the dog
  • Headshot
  • Full body shot
  • Environment-shot with dogs focus on me
  • Environment-shot of dog basically being dog
  • And I LOVE to do portraits of dog and owner together!

I find that basic list brings life to the shoot, and make sure that I “tell a story” with the photos.

So I encourage you to use your feet. Not only your zoom – your feet. See what happens!

 

Use natural frames to make your photo look better!

“Framing” is actually a term in photography, and it’s an easy way to direct the viewers focus to the main object. It’s easy to do – use a door, a window, or do what I do – use nature!

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The leafs on top and the tree-branch underneath makes a nice frame for this beautiful kooiker.

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Trees are great for framing! Be sure to choose an angle where the dog i between trees – a tree that looks like it’s growing out of her head is not flattering.

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Sometimes you find a “real” frame – a peephole of some kind. Use a small aperture to get the whole photo sharp!

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The frame doesn’t have to be in front of or beside the dog – it can be behind! The idea is to lead the eyes to the dog.

_DSF9181-wThis training obstacle makes a great frame!

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And with the right lighting, even straw can frame a small kitten.

I’m sure you can think of a million other things that you can use to frame your dog in a photo. (Ok, not a million, but say…ten? That takes you far!)

Try it! I really think you will like it! And it’s easy – just open your eyes and open your mind, and you will start to see possibilities everywhere!