Jan 232019

It is mid-winter in New England. As a photographer who creates most of his work outdoors, I have to pick the right times to shoot, and be prepared for whatever the weather gods may throw at me. Though the forecast tomorrow is for temps only slightly above 0º I know what to wear; largely from my experience winter camping, hiking, and cross-country skiing for decades in New England. Here are a few pointers:

Man on snowshoes at Moose Hill Farm, Sharon, Massachusetts
  • Anticipate your activity level
  • Dress in loose fitting layers and avoid cotton because it dries very slowly, especially against your skin
  • If your hands and toes get cold put on a hat. I use different weight hats, depending on how much am moving around.
  • Use polyester or wool-blend long underwear. I like medium or light weight with a zip turtle neck. (These are items you can use year round for different activities.)
  • Over the underwear tops wear a light-weight polyester or wool shirt or fleece shirt
  • I stay away from sweaters because they usually don’t zip open for temperature adjustment
  • Over the underwear you can use alpine ski pants, breathable wind/rain pants, or my favorite — nylon hiking pants with cargo pockets. Fleece, down, or down-substitute jackets will warm your core. The advantages of fleece are its durability, and that it keeps you warm when moist or wet. Traditional goose down makes a great warm jacket but as soon as it gets wet it looses insulating value quickly. For the outdoorsperson or the photographer down’s, advantage is its compressibility. You can stuff a bulky jacket into a small nylon stuff sack or jacket pocket. New, treated down products claim to be water resistant.
  • Keeping your hands warm can often be very challenging for the winter photographer. Mittens are the warmest but render your fingers useless for pressing camera buttons. On a very cold outing I wear well-built ski mittens or gloves and keep a light-weight pair of polyester liner gloves handy for the times I need full dexterity. My secret weapon for warm hands is to carry a pair of thin plastic or latex surgical gloves. The “vapor barrier principle” keeps your hands warm by limiting the amount of water vapor evaporated from your skin. Wear them under your mittens or gloves and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the warmth of this combination
  • Feet: I own two pairs of snow boots. Traditional 10″ mukluks: rubber bottoms, leather uppers, and removable felt liners; and Columbia brand insulated, boots. If you are going to be out for any significant length of of time, city boots or sneakers, or any uninsulated footwear may spell trouble. Frostbite can cause permanent injury
  • About wind-chill. Don’t let a scary-sounding wind chill forecast keep you from going out a to shoot. Wind-chill is a scale that rates the cooling effect of wind on bare skin
  • Frostbite is real. If you are hiking and shooting with other folks, check their faces and ears now and then. White spots indicate frozen skin or “frost nip.” Warm with a hand with warm fingers.
  • Carrying your warm clothes. I have many camera-specific backpacks, most of which easily accommodate my Nikons, but have precious little space for warm clothes. From time to time I modify a climbing backpack to carry camera gear, but the adapted gear is new perfect. You’ll have to be creative both with your picture making and with transporting your warmest clothing and your imaging tools.

Enjoy the winter!

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May 282013

© Paul Mozell 2013

I’ve been hooked on podcasts for several years and I know there’s always something I can listen to during a long drive or a wait at the doctor’s office. Photography podcasts abound and several deserve a mention in this space. The visual medium of photography may seem like an unusual subject for audio broadcast, but it works. Continue reading »

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Nov 202012

© Paul Mozell
A friend who manages a farmers market referred a photographer to me who is thinking about renting a space and selling some photographs. Although I have never made this sort of commitment myself, I have done a lot of research. Here is what I shared with that photographer—everything I can think of about successful selling in this kind of environment

Indoor fountains with lasers and synced music.

  • Do a thorough analysis of your costs, including the time you put into preparing, shipping, mounting, and packaging your work. Only then can you decide how to price your work. This holds true for any photographic business venture.
  • Study the competition’s pricing. I run into a lot of photographers and artists who are selling their work at prices that seem far too low.
  • Decide if you want to sell bare prints (shrink-wrapped, or bagged, with a backing board included), matted and mounted; or; matted, mounted, and framed.
  • Figure out what you are going to do with your excess inventory. Do you have the space to store the product in your home? I think you’ll find out very soon that you can’t sell at just one arts and crafts event. It’s just not worth the trouble and the expense. But if you do want to jump in, plan on doing 4, 6, or 10 shows per season. That’s how you’ll make some real money.
  • This is a business. Don’t do it just to feel good – although I hope you will! Continue reading »
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Sep 262012

© Paul Mozell 2012

Do you ever find yourself taking the same photographs again and again? Are you strolling through your favorite downtown neighborhood hoping to be struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration? Are you gliding through a vacation paradise without raising your camera to your eye? This happens to everyone in a creative field and it strikes the rich and famous, the middle-of-the-roaders, and quiet amateurs. To restart your creative engine consider trying one or more of the following:

  1. Visit an art museum, and after roaming the obvious choice of photography galleries, visit European Art and study the portrait lighting of the Dutch Masters. Check out the European, Asian, and American landscapes of the 18th and 19th centuries. And, be sure to open your mind to Abstract Impressionism, Pop Art, Op Art,  and Cubism. Finally, be amazed by the large three-dimensional installation pieces. For each artwork that catches your eye try to answer the questions: “How does this work make me feel?”, “What was the artist hoping to communicate to the viewer—if anything?”, and “Could I be as seemingly uninhibited as these artists?” The answer to the last question should be, “yes”.
  2. Go to your local bookstore or library and explore the art and photography books. Get inspired!
  3. Post your work Continue reading »
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Jul 222012

by Paul Mozell

Steve Rosenthal is an architectural photographer based in the Boston area whose work for leading architectural and design firms has earned him numerous awards throughout a long career. In his spare time between commercial shoots, one of his passions has been to record the beauty of rural 18th and 19th century churches in New England. I visited the Manchester Historical Museum in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts which is hosting an exhibit of this work until September 1, 2012.

The photographer has succeeded in honoring the design, simplicity, Continue reading »

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Feb 062012

Lowepro Messenger AW 180

The mid sized bag in the series

by Paul Mozell

I recently field tested two new camera bags from Lowepro, both on the trail and on the street. The Lowepro Pro Messenger AW 180 is a mid-sized shoulder bag that will haul a surprising amount of gear discretely and comfortably. It’s not exactly a messenger bag in the traditional sense—a large floppy shoulder bag first used by bicycle messengers to carry packages and envelopes. Rather, this bag is more like a hefty laptop case than anything else. Most importantly, it has a very generic and ordinary look; important attributes for a camera bag if you don’t wish to attract the eyes of thieves, or alert wary photographic subjects. Continue reading »

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Jan 312012

© Paul Mozell  — Although I live in New England, I am often surprised by the intensity of the complaints about winter weather. It’s not that I want to keep folks from emigrating to Florida. Rather, knowing how to stay comfortably safe and warm is much easier than most people think.  Heat management, and dressing correctly, is the key to getting great photographs of the winter landscape and cold weather sports and activities.

Mushing on Chocorua Lake, New Hampshire © Paul Mozell

Continue reading »

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Jan 192012

© Paul Mozell — On Friday, January 13, the Washington Post published a photograph that utilized the technique called HDR – or High Dynamic Range. Click to see the story. Many readers of the newspaper reacted strongly to the image of a bridge over the Potomac River that was the scene of a dramatic airline crash 30 years ago. HDR combines several exposures of

(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

one scene to create a final image that has an expanded range of dark to light values in the photograph. Supporters say that HDR merely brings the photographic reproduction closer to what is seen by the human eye. Those opposed to the use of HDR say that it introduces an unreal element to the reporting of a moment in time. Do you think that HDR has a place in photojournalism?

[polldaddy poll=5858969]

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Jan 112012

© Paul Mozell

Induro 313 alloy tripod

The tripod is still one of the most essential, universal, and adaptable tools for photographers of all ability levels. The tripod may be the most overlooked accessory among photographers just starting out. This applies to users of small point-and-shoot models and bulkier DSLRs. The tripod helps you fix the position of your camera, make incremental adjustments to its position, communicate  easily with portrait subjects, and create panoramic images. Although image stabilization technology in today’s cameras does make it easier to shoot at slower shutter speeds, the low-tech tripod is still essential. Continue reading »

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Jul 122011

© Paul Mozell 2011

Focal Press, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc., has published a number of books by pro photographers, about photography, within the past year. These slim volumes will appeal to both new and experienced shooters. Thumbing through the stack of books for the first time, I was impressed with the quality of graphic design as well as the attention to detail from page to page. The books are printed on heavy stock, and both monochrome and color images really pop. Even the software screen captures are clearly visible.  The Focus On series parses the most important teaching points of feature-rich software products to a very manageable level. Volumes in the Field Guide series are compact enough (4.5 x 6 inches) to toss in a camera backpack for reference or inspiration when photographing on location. Continue reading »

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Jul 042011

© Paul Mozell 2011

Photographers and most creative people I know, whether full or part-time professionals, are not good business people. We would prefer to devote as little time as possible to marketing, invoicing, record-keeping, social networking, and tax preparation. Photographers want to be behind the viewfinder and not in front of a screen full of pie charts and prospecting lists. Good software can go a long way towards easing the burden. Continue reading »

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Mar 182011

How many photographers have reviewed their work and found that important images were slightly out of focus? Probably the vast majority of shooters have experienced this ailment at one time or another. Datacolor, best known for its color calibration products has introduced SpyderLensCal, a simple-to-use but accurate tool for measuring and adjusting the accuracy of your camera’s autofocus system. Continue reading »

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