Upcoming Projects for December

With the Thanksgiving holiday now behind us, it’s time to look towards what December has in store. From a photography perspective, I have two projects right out of the gate. I thought I’d take a moment to mention them.

Pier in Sister BayThe first is as early as Thursday, when we make our second trip up to Door County, WI. I’ve been tracking the weather up north and hoping for a winter wonderland to shoot in. Unfortunately, so far it doesn’t look very promising from a snow cover perspective. None-the-less, it will be good to get back to the peace and quiet that we experienced in September, and I’m sure I can find enough to shoot while I’m there.

I’m also looking into an outdoor skating rink near our lodge in Sister Bay. Primarily, I’m looking to bring my skates and get back on the ice, but there’s no reason I can’t bring along my new Rebel or my 20D and get a little creative. It will really depend on how crowded it will be, and if they’re open during the day, I might be able to take advantage of all the kiddies being in school and have the rink to myself.

The second project involves something a little bit more out of my element, portrait photography. Up until now, the majority of my focus has been on landscape, night time, and astrophotography. The only person I’ve really taken pictures of is my wife when we’re on vacation. With this upcoming project, I’m both nervous and excited at the same time.

It’s going to be the second weekend in December, when we go back to Wisconsin, Lake Geneva this time, for my great-grandmother’s 95th birthday. We’re having all of our relatives from across the country coming into town for this one, and I came up with the idea of putting together photos of everyone while we’re there and leaving it all on a digital photo frame for her to take home when it’s over.

I’ve never really done anything like this where I setup things like a potrait photographer and have different people line up and have their photos taken either individually or with their significant other. I do have a pretty good idea of how I’d want it to work, but there are a few unknowns that I’ll have to wing. First, I know we’re having it at a country club, but I won’t really have any idea on where to set this up until we get there. Is there going to be enough room? What will the lighting be like? Can I get a spot near a power outlet for my camera and laptop?

I already have a tripod that I can use to shot in Portrait mode should I chose to, and I just ordered a Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash to use with my Rebel XSi if I need the extra lighting. I also have a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens that should be perfect for individual and couple shots, and can use one of my wider lenses in case we want to take larger group photos.

The other unknown and what’s making me just as nervous, is how much time am I going to have? Not only will I have to scout a location and setup, I’ll also need to take names, match them with photo numbers (since I’ve never met most of these relatives before), and then post-process, arrange, and tranfser to the digital photo frame all before we have to leave for the night and the drive home. I’ll have my XPS laptop with me, and I haven’t decided whether I’ll install my Photoshop CS4 upgrade by then or just still with CS3 for now.  I’ll also need to brush up on my batch editing skills, too, so I can speed up the redundant stuff.

Aside from the rush to get things finished, I’ll have a lot more time to put something together more elaborate and more for everyone online to remember. Not only can I post them to my Flickr account and do slideshows, etc., I also plan on posting it to our family’s website, The Ciolinos. I haven’t had much to do with that website recently, so it will be a good reason to bang out some new code there.

Hopefully after getting through those two projects, I’ll have some more experience under my belt and some time to get outside and shoot some winterscapes. If I can get a good clear day and we have enough snow cover in Chicago by then (which believe it or not, is hit or miss), I’d like to go back to the forest preserve near our home where I shot these autumn photos in October. If not, I’ll have to wait for the new year.

Wish me luck.

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