I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a part of the world where we experience all four seasons.
We generally have four seasons but sometimes they seem to overlap, not always being so obvious.
To be even more specific, our spring and fall can look a lot like winter, cleverly disguised with snow. So what I’m really trying to say is, our winters can seem really long. Yet with some seasons seeming short in comparison to others, we still experience all four glorious seasons.
Winter is not my personal favourite but even it can be glorious sometimes. I watch the same space transform January through to December.
The cycle of all four seasons are some of the worlds most spectacular changes to be witnessed by our eyes. But what is even more awesome than witnessing it is capturing it.
While sitting down to write this I really started to think about how I have had to adapt my photography to my surroundings. As photographers our work is influenced by the seasons, affecting what and how we photograph.
Photography for me is a natural, real-life experience. It’s about using my surroundings, incorporating as much of real life everyday adventures as possible into my images. Which means essentially that I incorporate whatever Mother Nature has thrown my way.
There is something really inspiring about getting out there and using the seasons in my photography. I really see, feel and experience each season, observing all the change that occur, the changes in the lighting, textures, colours, hues and tones. A landscape or subject that is uninteresting one time of the year could be beautiful in only a months time.
In this blog post, I hope to inspire you to get out there and experience the seasons, to think about the changing seasons in a totally new way.
How can you take full advantage of the seasons to create great images?
1. Tell the story
When I capture my life, it is most often with the intention that I want to be brought back to that moment. I am creating a time capsule of memories so my family and I can relive those stories. So what does this have to do with the seasons? Well, I use the seasons in my images to communicate a message. I want to remember the warmth of the sun on our backs, the snow falling on our cheeks, the lake water cooling our skin. It’s about capturing a feeling to tell part of my story.
2. Maximize the colours
Our worlds are profoundly influenced by colour. We live in colour and experience life in colour. We can use colour to the best of our ability to create images reflecting this. Our seasons bring so many changes in the colours around us, let’s take advantage of this beauty. Use the colours (or lack of colours) around you to evoke emotions, create mood, warmth and coldness. Think green grass, sunrise and sunsets, flowers in bloom, bright blue sky against the white snow. You can also use the lack of colours for the same reasons. Winter here can sometimes be drab and lack colour so choosing to convert to black and white helps me to create a more powerful image.
3. Changing light
The characteristics of natural light changes dramatically from season to season. Depending where you reside on the globe it will change differently for you. For me, winter days are shorter with a lower colour temperature, summer days are much longer with a higher colour temperature. Without getting technical here, the seasons change both the quantity and quality of light. Yet you can get good lighting at all times of the year, summer sunshine is not essential for good photography. Take advantage of shooting through all the seasons.
4. Challenge yourself
We all want to take our art to new places, make photographs that we have yet to take. As creatives we need to constantly challenge ourselves, push ourselves to try new techniques, allowing our inspirations and creativity to flourish. When working with the seasons our environment is constantly changing, making every opportunity a way to try new things. Challenge yourself to work with the changing light, textures, colours, and tones. Mix it up, be curious and learn.
I find challenges all the time, season to season. One of my favourite places to take photos of my boys is at the beach, but I had to learn to work with the reflective surface of the sand and water. One of my biggest nemesis is snow, I often still struggle with it’s reflective qualities and keeping its colour truly white. In Calgary, fall often comes in as fast as it leaves, in addition, our family is extremely busy in the fall with the start of school and hockey. It becomes a struggle to get out there on the perfect day to capture brilliant colours of the changing foliage. I work through these challenges to produce images I can be proud of.
So now I must confess that I have a favourite season. Most of the year I anxiously wait for summer to arrive so we can run to the beach, go for bike rides everyday and swim outdoors. I love the warmth of the sun, the green grass, blue lakes. But that doesn’t mean I just stop photographing through the rest of the year, no way, I work through the cycle of our seasons. Whatever Mother Nature has coming to you next I hope your left inspired to get out there and capture the spectacular changes of our world!