A Pocket of Sun | Robert E. Lee Park, Towson

Idly scrolling through the weather forecast, Tuesday caught my eye.  A little pocket of 52 degrees-and-partly-cloudy in a long string of icy days.  Warm January days are not to be wasted, so Ann (you may recognize her) and I headed to Robert E. Lee park in Towson to play.  We weren’t the only ones – dog owners and hikers were out in full force, alongside fearless mountain bikers careening around slippery trails above steep drops into Lake Roland.  Ann has an encyclopedic knowledge of all of Baltimore’s city parks and other treasures, loves the outdoors, and wasn’t fazed a bit by the slippery mud that always accompanies shoots this time of year.

I know everyone likes the lush green of summer shoots, but winter shoots are my absolute favorite – and a scroll through these photos might tell you why.  The landscape may seem drab and dull upon first glance, but when care is taken in creating photographs, all the subtlety of color makes the forest come alive.  Warm browns of tree bark, pale oranges and creams of leftover leaves, and a shock of blue from an icy lake all play nicely with different skin tones and hair colors.  Throw some warm backlight from the setting sun and it’s pure magic.  Whereas spring, summer, and fall all like to show off in photos, winter takes a step back and showcases YOU instead.

For curious pixel-peepers, I shot most of these photos with the Canon 45mm 2.8 tilt-shift lens (with a couple frames from Canon’s 85mm 1.2L).  Normally you wouldn’t do an *entire* shoot with a tilt-shift lens, but there were two goals with this shoot.  One was to make these images soft, creamy, and almost dream-like, the kind of thing you’d see at the start of a thoughtful, introspective magazine article.  The second was to work with the 45mm tilt-shift while I had a fabulous model who happens to be a bottomless well of patience, which is totally necessary when you start learning to use this lens.  There’s nothing difficult about it in theory, but getting the right amount of tilt while focusing manually and also attending to all the normal aspects of an image is a new challenge.

And now, the lovely Ann:

So pretty, and I love how the light plays with her hair:

Thank so much, Ann, for a fabulous late afternoon!  And big thanks to Sarah who watched little L while Ann and I went out to play.  You’ll see Sarah on this blog sometime soon…

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