Archive for November 2008
Interior Alaska during summer enjoys long hours of daylight, much of it low, “sweet” light. It’s a nature photographer’s dream. Sure, there are mosquitoes, and sometimes days of rain, but generally, conditions are ideal. Especially the light. Sunrise and sunset last for hours.
Winter is another story. It’s long – six months or more. It’s dark – as little as 3.5 hours of feeble, nearly useless light. And it’s cold. A “warm” day is when it’s above zero, even insingle digits. But it’s the absence of usable light that frustrates a nature photographer the most.
And the next three months are the worst. Even at 1:30 PM, this little fellow:
required full flash, high speed and full aperture. Because lenses are made of different kinds of materials – glass, metal plastic – they contract at different rates when they get cold. Which makes them lock up. And batteries, even lithium batteries, run down quickly at cold temperatures. Cold gear attracts moisture and generates condensation when you bring it back indoors. Everything is manageable except the light. With the camera wide open, the shutter speed as slow as WC dared for a handheld shot with a long lens, and the ISO cranked as high as WC dared, it still took flash to illuminate the bird at the brightest time of the day.
Alaska is wonderful.WC loves it. The nature photography opportunities are endless, and largely unphotographed. But winter light leaves a lot to be desired…