Photo Projects help us learn so fast!

I am working on a project showing Montreal under its different colors. The idea is simple, through a year, atmospheric and climate conditions change. I hope to show the impact of these changes on a specific scene highlighting the Montreal city.

When I woke up this morning at 04:00, I threw a glance at the weather forecast. More often than not the weather decides if I take my bag and tripod out to take pictures.

Importance of the weather in landscape photography

I must say that I was not up to the task this morning and I would have gladly returned to my bed. However, the weather forecasts were rainy until 06:00 and breaking clouds from 06:00. This is the kind of changes that are great for pictures taking… So I took my tripod and bag and hit the road with a coffee.

First picture

FI-CO-8x10-2014-04-19In this early morning of April 19th at 05:17, or 44 minutes before sunrise, here is what could be seen looking at the Montreal city. The colors in this photo are as recorded. The white balance was on shady. Rather surprising isn’t it?

Second picture

What is stunning to me is this picture, taken only thirteen minutes later, at 5:30; the color of the sky had already changed much to turn pink with shades of orange.

Third picture

2014-04-19-05-34Four minutes later, the orange color is gone leaving a nice purple pink.

Fourth picture

Photo Project

Finally at 05:37 the blue of the sky was beginning to take the edge off the pink. There is twenty minutes only between the first and last photo. Barely a few minutes later everything was grey.
At 5:59, while the Sun was not yet above the horizon, I was in my car on my way back home. These four pictures are only twenty minutes apart exactly from the same spot. The magic took place between 24 and 44 minutes before sunrise. On a morning were the cloud cover was very important.

Here is a striking example of how quickly light change and the impact on a panorama.

Landscape Photography: Lessons learned

There are several things that I learned from this experience:

  • Weather have significant impacts on landscape photography ;
  • On impacts of weather changes, the light can changes very quickly;
  • Preparing myself and knowing my gear is mandatory when light changes so quickly;
  • The most dramatic changes often occur while the Sun is below the horizon;
  • Come in Early, Leave late so I don’t get sorry.

Photo project: The Colors of Montreal

This photo project: “The Colors of Montreal” will span one year. It started in December 2013. Over the last few months, I noticed that I was getting more efficient and better prepared.

  • On many occasions, I was on site either too late or too early,  now this does not occurs anymore.
  • I also fumble with my settings on my camera to adapt myself. I can assure you that you don’t want to remove your gloves when it is 20 degrees below the freezing point!  I am a lot better today;
  • I can now open and fold back my tripod in about 30 seconds only;
  • My routine is also improving:
    • I use manual exposure by choosing the aperture first and then the sensitivity when needed. I prefer long exposure to capture movements in the water;
    • I focus using the contrast detection, which is more precise, on the first picture and then I switch to manual mode for the following pictures. This helps me avoid a focusing error that would ruin a series of photos;
    • I understand better how the weather forecasts impact the shoot. That being said, I often get surprises. Before this project, I would have stayed in my bed today.

I do not know if this project will enable me to create something interesting, however, over the last months I learned a lot because of this project.

Do you have a photo project?

Why don’t you start a photo project? It will take you photography to the next level! You are working on a photo project? Give us some details; I can’t wait to learn about it!