B-B-Baby, it’s cold outside…

Well here it is, the new year already. I have been blogging for a year now… it has been an interesting experience for me – one that I plan to continue. I want to thank those of you that stop by regularly for a look (google tells me that more than half of my visits are “repeat” visitors), I hope I remain an interesting stop on the internet for you in 2010. I want to give a special thanks for those of you who took the time to leave a comment – you could have anonymously clicked on by, but instead you stopped and took a few moments to let me know what you liked and how my pictures make you feel – thank you so much!

Today’s weather is best described by the song of this post’s title: “The weather outside was frightful…” Howling winds, sideways snow, 15 below zero… yup, we’re in Canada. Perfect photography weather! I dressed in so many layers that I couldn’t get my arms down to my sides and then went out to see what I could find. Of all the shots I took today, the very first one was my favourite:

A Sun, so distant
Even the snow is trying to get out of the wind.
Windswept Foundation
A Corner Filled
Pine framed in stone.
Hop, Skip and a Jump
A Brace of Birch
Exposed

PhotoShop Experiment: Using Masks With Blur Filters

It’s kind of a boring title, but the results really got me exited. I usually use blur to obscure inconvenient background detail in a photo. I’ll illustrate with some photos I took last week end.

In this photo I have used a blur (and darkening) to obscure the background visible around the sides of the column.

Guard Lions
Guard Lions

In the next photo, I used a mild blur and allowed it into more of the photo. I used it on the trees in the background and some of the stone pavers on the left side to force the viewer’s eye back to the wall that I want to be the key element in the photo.

Let In The Light
Stone Cold Light

Then I got wild. I combined a severe blur with a complex mask that allowed the blur to show over much of the photo. A bit of touch-up to mask to remove the blur from a couple of key details in the photo (the chair, the alley ruts and the clothesline) and I had a whole new feeling in the picture. The mill buildings in the background still loom menacingly over the scene, but now they don’t distract from it.

Mill Town
Mill Town

Fall Fog

Yesterday was a really foggy day here in Caledon. We often get days like this in the fall, although they usually come in October. I like the way fog can simplify the background in a photo and add an air of mystery. I started out on a nearby country road…

Road to Nowhere

Just down the road is a golf course with dry-stacked stone walls meandering over the hills. I processed these to try to convey the almost deafening quiet of this place in the thick fog.

The Moors (part 1)
The Moors (part 2)

Next stop was a cornfield. It reminded me of a Steven King short story I read many years ago… I started to see this place in a darker, creepier context.

Stalked

Just up the road from the cornfield, a U-pick orchard loomed up out of the fog. With their arthritic branches scratching at the fog above, the apple trees seemed even more ominous than the cornfield.

One Green Apple
Halloween's End