category: Technical

Shades of Gray

The holiday season, much like March; comes in like a lion with Thanksgiving, rolls on through Christmas and exits like a lamb on New Year’s Day which most of us spend recuperating from the exhaustion of the last few months indulgences.  With all the preparation that goes into each celebration, it’s easy to find yourself wondering where it all went once it’s over.

The start of the New Year allows us the time needed to reflect on our past accomplishments, failures and goals for the future.  I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions; never have been.  It puts too much undo pressure on me and in a way, it makes me feel like I’m following the crowd and I don’t enjoy feeling like cattle.  Whenever someone asks about my resolutions I respond with “my New Year resolution is not to make any resolutions”.   A lot of people don’t get it but that’s okay because I don’t get a lot of people and in a roundabout way, that results in a  common ground.

Instead of once a year resolutions, I set personal goals throughout the year.  This year, I have the added benefit of being able to establish business goals and I’m really excited about the direction I have chosen to take White Whiskers Photography in 2010.  The pet photography industry is so new to the east coast and the photography industry in general.  I’m only seven months into my first year of business.  I’m very much looking forward to growing together and sharing that growth here, with you.

There is something beautiful about black and white photography; it’s timeless.  With the invention of digital cameras and computer software,  it has become effortless to convert a full color image to black and white but the rub, is that it doesn’t work with every image.  At least not in my opinion.  Sometimes I’ll see a color photograph and know that it has the perfect elements for a b/w conversion.  However, for the majority of b/w images, I need to see and shoot in b/w rather than color.  The mindset becomes different.  Good composition goes without saying but I begin to look much closer at contrasts, textures, shapes and lines that show as many shades of gray as possible.

And now, a peek at what the future holds…





Lens Experimentation

I’ve been experimenting with Nikon’s 50mm f1.8 lens the last few weeks.  The following images were taken with it and while I love my 18 – 200mm f3.5 for almost every shooting situation I come across, it lacks the ability to sharply capture action indoors in low light situations.  For pet photography, this is imperative.  For pet photography in New England where the majority of winter shoots may occur indoors due to inclement weather, it’s even more important.  The 50mm is a fast lens and I have to admit, I really like the depth of field and the quicker than quick auto focus.  Being able to blur an undesirable background and put all the attention on the pet is fantastic.  It serves a lovely purpose for tight portraits of one pet but when you’re indoors and shooting two or more pets, I find it almost impossible to be able to back up enough to get a composition I’m happy with.

Here’s Max…how beautiful is he?  I love this image.  It shows exactly what the 50mm is capable of.

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Next up, Valentino…look at those blurred polka dots…perfectly soft background and body draws your eye to this handsome boys little pink nose.


Onto Georgia Peach in front of her very first Christmas tree.  Has the same feel as Valentino’s above but the colored ornaments add accents.


Last but certainly not least, Pippin.  Here, outdoors, the majority of the image is in focus with the exception of the fence and because it’s a not so pretty fence, that’s exactly what I was looking for.