Freezing the subject without getting cold!

Robin photo Elizabeth Tyler © 2012

Finding subject matter on a cold December day in Sweden isn't always easy, especially since the number of daylight hours is very limited. Although I enjoy plein air painting and always prefer to do most of the work on location, there are days when it's simply not practical. Taking reference photos for later use is of course a good solution and one many artists resort to. Its not cheating as long as they are your own photos. In order to paint birds a good camera is almost a must. But even so it still requires sitting for hours in the freezing cold waiting for the right moment.
Believe it or not, the photograph on the left is taken through the window while I sit in the warmth of my kitchen. It still requires hours of waiting but at least I could sit in comfort.
Firstly I arranged the scene by placing logs and stones on a baking tray filled with water. This was put outside the window on a garden table so the height was suitable for the camera tripod. I waited for the water to freeze then sprinkled bird food on the logs as bait.
Inside the kitchen I rigged up a black curtain to minimise reflections and hide the camera which I stuck through a hole in the material. I connected the camera to the computer with the remote shooting function and waited for the right moment. And waited...
Hundreds of photos later I managed to get this one plus a handful more. I don't know if I will actually use it as reference for a painting yet or maybe it's best as a Christmas card.
Taking photos from the comfort of the kitchen