Vail, Sandstone Creek, February 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale
It is the time of year to send out the Holiday cards, which for us is a Merry Christmas (greeting) card that also includes the best wishes for the New Year. So spoiler alert, our photo this year is not the one above. Rather this photograph was cropped into a horizontal format, posted below, for the reasons I will soon reveal.
So as I posted last year and the year before as well as the year before that, we do not live where it snows, or at least not at our home. We can see it on the distant mountain tops, but Southern California near the beach is not known for its magnificent snow fall. Rain, yes, snow, no.
Thus it is my duty that when we go visit the snow for our annal ski trip, usually in Colorado, which has lots and lots of snow, I need to make the annual Christmas card photo for the following December. If I fail to find something, then I need to dig into my past ski photographs to find an alternative. Fortunately this past February the ski conditions were great and while I was out-and-about along my favorite creeks side, I created some photographs that had great potential. I will admit, these are not my project photographs, but more in line with a fun photo assignment to bring back the “Hallmark Christmas Card Photo”. Which means it should have some lyrical potential.
One troubling aspect of having heavy snow, which is really, really great for skiing, is that everything looks pretty stark and graphic: lots and lots of white with little bits of dark. So the challenge is to find a little bit of color that I can worked on later in the studio.
So while hiking up the side of the creek I spied this little leafless bush poking out of the snow which had some potential. The resulting image was made with a (normal) 50mm f/1.4 lens on my 5DMk3 in conjunction with a tripod. The exposure was with the lens pretty wide open to allow the background to go slightly out of focus, but with enough definition to know that there is a creek back there and retain some foreground snow texture. I also like that this photograph has a hint of abstract qualities; the focused graphic lines of the branches in the foreground in conjunction with the softer lines and shapes in the background.
Why the vertical versus the horizontal format? As you might suspect; which was the photograph format that was the best fit for the card template that I wanted to use? If I wanted one of these two alternatives of this photograph for an exhibition; I would probably go with the horizontal layout. I like the open view point of the horizontal composition and the horizontal framing feels just a bit too constricting in the way some of the outside branches are turncated. Nevertheless, the horizontal photograph looks great on the printed cards (by the way, I used Dual Graphics, Brea, CA to print these cards)
At the very bottom of this post is a photograph that I had in initially in mind for the card. A close second for this year.
Merry Christmas & the very best for the New Year!
Btw, if you enjoy these photographs and you would like to purchase a print, message me as to the sizes that are available or the size you would like to acquire.