One day, back in the days when we used to have snow in winter (i.e. last January), I was passing by some holly bushes with snow on them, and thought – Hey! I can use this new hobby of mine to create some lovely holiday cards next year! I had the S90 with me that day, and so I took a few minutes to snap some macros of holly berries and snowy leaves.
The results were OK, but not especially compelling. I decided to wait for another sunny day with fresh snow. I’m still waiting. It looks like there won’t be any pretty cards with fresh snow-covered berries this year.
My next photo card idea, which occurred to me right around Thanksgiving, was to play a bit with bokeh – you know, the circles (and other shapes) that you see when there’s an out-of-focus light source in the shot. (My husband claims that he sees bokeh all the time when he doesn’t have his glasses on.) I still kind of like my first attempt at this idea, but it was voted down by the spouse.
While reading about bokeh online, I came across a reference to the Bokeh Masters kit which turns your bokeh into different shapes. Wouldn’t that be fun for a card! And I had just the subject (husband approved), a reindeer in the snow, on a starry night.
Well, I worked and worked and worked with the reindeer, on multiple occasions. I just couldn’t get the lighting right – the reindeer was too dark, or the fake snow was overexposed, or you could see the wiring between the “stars”. And my favorite prop, a red light for the nose, just kept falling over. Trying to fix these things in Photoshop only made them worse. I started thinking of changing the name of this blog to The Frustrated Photographer.
Yesterday I made one last attempt at a nice holiday bokeh shot. (I say that, but the perfectionist in me suspects that I won’t actually let this thing go.) I pulled out the new tripod I got for Christmas, filled a holiday wine glass with Christmas balls, set the glass on a table in front of the tree, and fired away. I’m disappointed with the outcome on many levels, but I think the biggest problem with it is the two flavors of light (warm and cold.) Also, there are too many points of light in the background – I couldn’t get any closer to the tree without blocking the kids’ view of their new video game.
And so I’m afraid that I won’t be sending out any nice holiday photo cards this year. I long for the days where I could just go card shopping at Hallmark. I gaze with envy at the photo cards that my friends have sent, thinking how much better they look that what I’ve been able to produce. Sigh.
Despite all this, I had a wonderful Christmas day with family and friends, and am grateful for all I have and for all I’ve learned. I hope that our friends know that even though we didn’t send cards this year, that we’re thinking of them and hoping that they’re well.
Happy Holidays, everyone.