Snowscape


This old farmhouse and barn sits just outside of Westminster, a couple of miles north of the town. I usually drive that route when I want to take a more scenic way into the town, instead of taking MD Rte 97 south from work. This is a very accessible site, just off the road, with easy parking… there aren’t many vehicles around that road (except on Mondays, when a nearby auction house is holding their occasional outdoor and barn auction). I’ve photographed this barn many times over the past year. The pond, well and barn always stop me dead in my tracks., and I pull over for a couple of minutes just savoring the view.

OM-2, Vivitar 24mm 1/500 at f/16, Fuji 400
OM-2, Vivitar 24mm, 1/500 at f/16, Fuji 400
OM-2, Sigma 35-105mm f/1.8, 35mm 1/500 at f/16, Fuji 400
OM-2, Zuiko 50mm, 1/500 at f/16, Fuji 400
OM-1, 50mm f/1.8, Fuji 200
Ricoh 500G, 1/250 at f/16 Fuji 200
Ricoh 500G, 1/250 at f/16, Fuji 200

Photographed with an OM-2, (Vivitar 24mm, Sigma 35-105mm, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8) OM-1 (50mm f/1.8) and Ricoh 500G


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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I drive by Krider’s Church Road every day on my way to work. I usually take Md Rte 97 North (Pennsylvania Avenue) after I cross downtown Westminster. Its a very insignificant road just past the intersection of MD Rte 140. No one would notice the little road leading west if it weren’t for the tall steeple of Krider’s Church which is visible for miles around.

I took these pictures during a a lunch break late in the winter, a couple of days after a snowstorm. There was lots of snow/ice on the ground, sunny with a lightly overcast sky. I used the OM-2n with a 50mm lens. It was very bright, so I stopped the lens down as far as it would go, and set the shutter speed at 1/250 second.

The paved road ends just past the Church and there is a narrow gravel road that links the few farms and homes to another paved road about a mile due west. This farm appears to be abandoned, so I got out of the car and walked over to where I could frame the shot with the trees. The huge roll of cable just begged to be photographed, bright orange against the white snow and blue-white sky. Ditto for the school buses.

Krider’s Church
Old Barn
Cable Roll
School Bus Depot

Photographed with an OM-2n, 50mm f/1.4, Fuji Xtra 200 film, 1/250 sec at f/16, Hoya 81A filter


I’ve photographed Krider’s Church before in summer, but in Black & White, with my OM-1. The Church is surrounded by a parking lot and a lush green lawn, both of which don’t reflect much light upwards to illuminate the brickwork. The overcast sky and snow and the ground acted like a giant softbox in the winter photograph above.

Krider’s Church – BW

Photographed with an OM-1, 50mm f/1.8, Ilford XP2 400 film, 1/250 sec at f/11; Tiffen Red 25 filter


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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The Ricoh 500G is one of my “accidental” cameras – I bought it on a whim from the Germantown Goodwill store on Rte 355. It took me a while to get around to replacing the light trap seals — I took one look inside, and lost heart – it was really that bad. Everything in there was gooey gunk and the seals were extensive and needed some precision cutting. Certainly not as easy to replace as the light seals on an Olympus Trip 35.
However, I finally got it done, and it’s a wonderful little camera to carry around. Very quiet, and very discreet. The 40mm f/2.8 Rikenon is a fantastic lens, and ideal for street photography or just for slipping into a jacket pocket, just in case. The Automatic setting and meter needs a 1.35v mercury battery, impossible to get, and the replacement 1.5V equivalents are flaky at best, and underexpose terribly. I use the Ricoh in its manual mode, and it works pretty well. All the pictures below were taken with the Sunny f/16 rule settings.

Ricoh 500G #1; 1/250 sec at f/16
Ricoh 500G #2; 1/250 sec at f/16
Ricoh 500G #3; 1/250 sec at f/16
Ricoh 500G #4; 1/250 sec at f/16

It’s great for people photography too. The Rikenon 40mm f/2.8 fixed lens works magnificently even in low light.

Ricoh 500G #5; 1/250 sec at f/5.6
Ricoh 500G #6; 1/250 sec at f/5.6

Photographed with a 1972 Ricoh 500 G rangefinder (40mm f/2.8) that I recently restored, on Fuji Super HQ 200 film. Exposure as described on captions


Also, compare these 2 photos taken from the same vantage point — with the Ricoh 500G and the other with the OM-2n with a Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 lens. Both images had exposures of 1/250 sec at f/16, on Fuji 200 film

Ricoh 500G -fixed 40mm f/2.8; 1/250 sec at f/16
Olympus OM-2n, 50mm f/1.4; 1/250 sec at f/16

text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Last weekend’s snowstorm made for some great photographic opportunities, if one was willing to brave the sleet and snow and risk their precious cameras and lenses getting wet. I normally shoot with my Minolta and Olympus film cameras, but on this occasion, I used my Panasonic Digital (yes, digital) camera since it easily slips into my jacket pocket, and I can keep it dry much more easily than my other cameras.

I’ve used this little camera for years – it’s a Lumix DMC-LC20, and it has a very sweet Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT f/2.8-4 35-105mm equivalent zoom lens – I think it is probably one of the first Panasonics that offered the Leica zoom. Panasonic introduced the Lumix line in 2002, and it was a big deal back then. It’s just 2 megapixels, so it’s good for 6×4 prints at full resolution, not much more. It takes regular rechargeable AA batteries, not the fancy expensive lithium power packs. I think it just looks cool.

My daughter Sunny uses this camera these days – my way of getting her started in photography. The lens on the Lumix is very sharp, but the camera always seems to always underexpose on the auto settings when the sky is overcast or in shade. I should probably override the Auto ISO settings and use the 200 or 400 ASA settings permanently. And of course, change the white balance settings to the prevailing light as well. Too many menus to click through… I’m just lazy, I guess 🙂

Dufief Drive is my brother-in-law’s neighborhood in North Potomac, MD. It’s a well established community with mature trees and typical 80’s style houses. Due to the camera’s tendency to underexpose, I generally use it in bright sun, or with flash. In subdued natural light, I prefer to shoot use it as a black & white camera. Since this model does not have built-in Black & White setting, I have to desaturate the images later. It generally gives me satisfactory results and I use it when instant gratification is needed. Besides, its a cheap light meter.

Dufief Drive #1
Dufief Drive #2
Dufief Drive #3
Dufief Drive #4
Dufief Drive #5
Dufief Drive #6
Dufief Drive #7
Dufief Drive #8
Dufief Drive #9
Dufief Drive #10
Dufief Drive #11
Dufief Drive #12
Dufief Drive #13
Dufief Drive

Photographed with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC20 digital camera.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Here are some more snow scenes from the recent snowstorm in Maryland. These were taken just after the series with the 80B filter, but by this time, the snow had stopped falling. I was able to go out with the OM-2 again, but this time with a Zuiko 28mm. I used a 81A filter on the wide-angle lens, and the effect of the 81A filter really shows up in the photographs. When photographing subjects in sunlight, the 81A filter’s brown doesnt show up that much — it gives a nice tanned look to pale subjects, and makes reds and yellows a little richer – but in overcast snow conditions, it gives the whole picture a old-timey, sepia tone look. I must say that this was unexpected, and I was pleased with the results.

81A Snowscape #1
81A Snowscape #2
81A Snowscape #3
81A Snowscape #4

Photographed with an OM-2 and Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 lens with an 81A filter, 1/250 sec at f/11 on Fuji Super HQ 200 film.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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If a scene wants to be be blue, then maybe we should let it be blue! Snowy landscapes tend to be blue on those dull, overcast winter days, and even when the sun is out, shaded areas have a bluish tinge. The color temperature on such days is probably in the 10,000K+ range — since there are no yellows and reds to temper the diffuse light, the ultra-violet (UV), violet and blue end of the spectrum predominate.

It may appear white to the human eye, since our brains compensate by ignoring the blue tinge. However, the lens transmits the light as it really is, and normal daylight film is very sensitive to UV radiation. UV radiation is recorded on film as blue and the dominant blue end of the spectrum present in overcast or shade situations further aggravates the situation, giving the overall scene a blue tinge.

Normally, to correct for the blue tinge, we use a Skylight 1A or UV filter for snowscapes and a warming filter such as a Tiffen 812 filter is usually recommended when photographing people to improve skin color. But what if we allowed the scene to be blue? Not only that, what if we actually enhanced the color by means of a blue filter? This past weekend, I had the chance – it snowed continuously all day Sunday, and I waited until we had a 2- 3 inch accumulation and then used the OM-2 with the Kiron 28-70mm fitted with a 80B filter.

The 80B filter is a color compensating filter to reduce the yellowish-red tinge when normal daylight film is used with tungsten lamps (studio use), but it can be used outdoors to create some spectacular blue effects, especially early morning (pre-dawn) landscapes and snow scenes. By way of contrast check out these photographs taken with the 81A warming filter.

Blue Snowscape #1
Blue Snowscape #2
Blue Snowscape #3
Blue Snowscape #4
Blue Snowscape #5
Blue Snowscape #6
Blue Snowscape #7
Blue Snowscape #8

Photographed with an OM-2 and Kiron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens fitted with an 80B filter, 1/125 sec at f/11 on Fuji Super HQ 200 ASA film.

Blue Snowscape #9
Blue Snowscape #10

I had previously experimented briefly with the 80B filter in Vail, CO last October. The day started out overcast, but it turned sunny, and I switched back to my Polarizer after a couple of shots. I used the Minolta Dynax 800si with a Maxxum AF 28-80mm f/4.5-5.6 lens and 80B filter, Fuji Super HQ 200 ASA film. These were taken early morning at the Sonnenalp Lodge in Vail Village.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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There’s this really interesting looking twisted old blue Atlas pine right outside my brother-in-law’s front door that no one seems to like. Its covered with droopy, trailing branches covered with stiff needles that cascade down and need to be trimmed periodically. Atlas pines are often planted as an ornamental in Maryland because of the interesting shapes it takes, but no one gives any thought to what it will look like about 20 years hence, when it is much bigger, and probably sprawled right across your front door.

The landscaper or garden center guy who sells it to you probably has no clue regarding its growth habits either. This one is particularly tough, it gets very little sunshine, since it grows on the north side of the house, and is shaded by a huge red oak tree, yet seems to thrive. This past week, the sleet froze on its needles, and weighed it down, apparently with no ill effects.

I took these pictures as the ice crystals started melting. I wish I could have had some sunlight though, it would have made for some interesting effects. I used the OM-2 with the 500mm Soligor Mirror. The mirror lens is close focusing, and these were taken from about 3 feet away. Note the annular bokeh on #2.

Atlas Pine #1
Atlas Pine #2
Atlas Pine #3
Atlas Pine #4

Photographed with an Olympus OM-2, Soligor CD 500mm f/8 Mirror lens. 1/125 sec at f/8 on Fuji Superia 400 film.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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