Utilizing Unique Backgrounds

We shoot many of the same subjects time after time. So it can be important to keep an eye out for instances where the background creates a unique settings or contrast to the subject. Sometimes a black backdrop is available, from the right angle. In others a distant backdrop unfocussed with a shallow depth of field will do the trick.

In this instance, the ferns in the photo were growing through the hole at the center of an old lichen-covered millstone, providing a rather unworldly, and very detailed, backdrop to the otherwise typical fern fronds. This is such an unusual result that I have been asked if I had placed a vase of ferns on a countertop to create this shot.


C. David Tobie

Fog; the Photographer’s Friend

Water in any form makes image more interesting, even if it makes the process of shooting them less comfortable. But fog is the king of image effects, and locations offering fog should be worked for the best time and effects. The first image below uses the depth of vision limitation of fog very effectively to make a shot that is usually about a beautiful ocean view speak instead about mystery and the unknown. The mix of cool and warm colors created by the incandescent lights in the otherwise cool fog scene is also an effective contrast.

Acadia Fog-1

But fog also makes for effective black and white images, with creamy grays. The image below offers a somewhat similar mood to the color shot above, but its black and white rendition creates a more classic result. Neither one are the traditional Maine Coast Postcard, they bring a bit more creativity to the table, which is often the key to catching a customer’s eye.

Acadia Fog2-1

C. David Tobie