The sunlight's warmer, the snow is thawing, the city birds are back, so do the critters waking up from hibernation. There's life everywhere once again. Welcome the colors back into your daily routine by photographing this year's spring. Here's how you can capture the very essence of the season.
The Beauty of Life: Mono no Aware
There's more to springtime apart from the blooming of flowers. In Japanese aesthetics, there's a concept called mono no aware, which refers to the beauty of impermanence. Everything in life is fleeting and momentary. And what would be the best representation of the concept than life itself?
Look for signs of life for your spring photography. Some subjects to fit your theme would be birds' nests and eggs, forest critters, puppies, babies, children, even young love! Lomographer Gérard a.k.a. gheinz also suggests that when trying to capture the essence of springtime, think of the word renaissance.
"The best spirit is to have an open mind and be very observative about what the spring can show, that is the "renaissance" of everything, be it the flowers, the fascinating spring colors and beautiful soft light. Keep your eyes open, be very observative and literally feel the spring: feel on your skin the warmth of a ray of light, hear the sound of little insects flying around in the garden, look at the little flowers at the beginning of their growth, etc... the list can be much longer of course!"
You've spent enough days inside your home during the colder seasons, it's time to get some vitamin sunshine! The best thing about the springtime sun is how the sunlight being shed isn't too glaring. It also leaves a soft cast Lomographer Rik a.k.a. rik041 urged to spend more time outdoors during this season too. He said: "The best tip? Just go for a walk in the sun. There are so many motifs... I also find the best topics in the city and in the parks."
Photographer Laura Allard Fleischl, who once did a spring-themed series of portraits with the Lomo'Instang Glass, believes that the morning light is one of the best sources to create that spring mood.
"If you're an early riser, utilize the lovely fresh morning light we start to get this time of year. Spring's all about things coming alive, it's a time to rebirth your desire to get outdoors and take photos after the long harsh winter too."
You can create cinematic street shots too. Cities blessed with cherry blossom trees will enjoy the pastel pink light being cast. Outdoor portraiture is also the best under this kind of light. When we asked Laura what would be the best image to represent spring, she answered: "(It is) the return of longer afternoons spent in the park with friends and a few cans."
You now bid farewell to blank canvases and piles of snow and welcome nature's colors with open arms. After the long autumn and winter, the color green resurfaces. Everything is fresh and brand new. Gerard believes that color and light of everything is enhanced during springtime, so you may want to photograph pastel colors too. Summer makes colors too saturated, while winter and fall are too vibrant. Think of Wes Anderson's palette.
"Nature awakens after hibernation. You can sit back on the terraces of the cafes. Everything is going green. My favorite is the La Sardina camera... Loading it with a Lomo-CN film would be perfect in capturing the colors."
Shoot Wide Open and Use Low-Speed Film
Earlier, we talked about mono no aware and its correlation to spring. And in all honesty, visualizing springtime is all about the ambiance. When we think of spring, we think of wordsmiths who waxed poetic about its fleetingness and impermanent beauty. It's an ethereal aesthetic in which the captured image should reflect a memory than reality. Using spherical aberration gives subjectiveness and a sense of intimacy to both photographer and audience. Gerard recommended shooting with a wide open aperture and using a low-speed film to keep being consistent with the spring aesthetic. He shared his personal settings:
"Any camera-and-lens combo is great of course, but the best combo would be to have for example the fantastic Nikkor 50/1.2 paired with the Nikon FE to capture the spring in all it's glory, to get close enough and shoot wide open to have a very shallow depth of field and a beautiful smooth bokeh... It's good to shoot wide open, the best is to take a low-speed film, like for example the beautiful Velvia 50, processed as a slide, or the great Kodak Ektar 100 which has fantastic natural colors."
Use the flowers as a foreground or background element in your image rather than your subject, as florals make great decoratives and textures.
And lastly, a last piece of advice from Laura on your upcoming spring photography routine: "Spring's a time when the air starts smelling clear and sweet again, I always find that ignites the spirit without any aid. Same as any season, have fun, photograph what you see. Don't listen to the rules, a technically perfect photograph is a boring photograph. Let a little bit of you shine through in every shot."
written by cielsan on 2019-03-19