I was out with friends recently and we chatted about Christmas stocking. It brought back a memory of Saint Nicholas Day from my childhood. Funny, I had not thought about this holiday in decades, but I can vividly remember the thrill and excitement of hanging my stocking along with my siblings one evening in early December. Even more exciting was waking in the morning and having the stocking filled with candies and small trinkets, especially since December 6 usually happened on a school day.
Being a lapsed Catholic, I did a little research to refresh my memory about Saint Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas was truly the first Santa Claus and he was a real person living around 300 AD. Orphaned as a child by the death of his parents in Turkey, he was raised by Christians and dedicated his life to service, giving anonymously to the poor and children. He became a bishop in the late third century, recognized as a saint in the 800s and Catholics in France began celebrating Bishop Nicholas Day in the 1200s.
Europeans were the first to celebrate St. Nicholas as the Feast of SinterKlaas on December 5. Children would put out shoes with treats for the saint’s horses in hopes of receiving candies and gifts. Also this date would correspond with the beginning of Advent, a Catholic tradition.
Most of the previous information came back to me while I was reading a couple of articles, but one new tidbit emerged about the symbolism of the candy cane. Apparently it represents St Nicholas staff and was left in the shoes of children, along with candy and toys to decorate their Christmas tree. I don’t remember ever hearing that before and find in quite interesting. More info about the tradition and lore of St Nicholas can be found here.
Lastly, I want to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and peace, prosperity and creativity in the coming New Year. May your stockings be overflowing!
Green, white and red decorated Christmas stocking
My work can be viewed on my website.
ICM, Intentional Camera Movement, is a new technique I am experimenting with. It is a method that requires a slow shutter speed and movement of the camera. There is a delicate balance between the amount of movement and shutter speed required so it takes a bit of practice and a lot of frames to get a memorable shot. But then what in life doesn’t require practice.
I got interested initially by an YouTube video organized by SHECLICKS. Charlotte Belamy is the instructor and shoots beautiful nature scenes using this technique and is super forthcoming with data. Roxanne Bouche’ Overton is another outstanding ICM artist and likes to shoot city scenes which I find interesting. I took a two day workshop with her and learned some great info and techniques.
The easiest and most fun way to take photos using ICM is to use the hand-held method along with a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second or slower and very slight movements of your head to get motion.
Desert Rain f11 1/8 shutter speed
Another method is to mount the camera on a tripod and slowly move the camera. The image below I shot in studio using a tripod. My studio lights were turned on and used for ambient light. I liked this method and the results. But I have a tendency to like things close up.
Peach tulip photographed using ICM technique.
Achieving the slow shutter speed can be challenging at times so reducing the ISO and also the use of neutral density filters can help make that work.
Like anything, the only way to make great ICM images is to get out there and shoot them over and over again. The title of this post states “a new beginning”, and continual practice is where this comes in. Not only is it exciting to capture images that are unique, but I feel like I am beginning on a new photography journey, similar to when I first started taking photos decades ago. It takes a lot of practice to get a good shot, I’m not sure exactly what I am doing and the results can sometimes be a disappointment. But when a keeper emerges it is thrilling!
Thanks for looking and more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.