As winter is getting here, finally some might say, and it is getting cold outside you might want to stay in and put the cameras on the shelf until it gets warmer. Yeah, I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather! I was born in Florida, in July. Anything under 60º is COLD! Dressing up like the Michelin man to go outside is not my idea of a good time. If you are like me, the thought of getting out in the wintertime to make some images is, well, not very inspiring. Besides that, there is a reason its called “The Dead of Winter,” everything looks DEAD! Talk about an inspiration buzz kill! Here in Northern Virginia the trees are bare, the grass is either brown or a lack luster green that doesn’t look good in photos. Add as much saturation as you like to the somewhat green grass and it still looks off. Any leaves that are on the ground have lost all the fall color they once had and are now just masses of brown. Not very photogenic at all when you start thinking about it.
So what does winter have to offer photographically? Well, there are quite a few things when you start to think about it. Here are three:
1) Frost, that is something you don’t see on a nice July day! But you sure get it this time of year. Early morning, when everything is still and cold can be a great time to photograph frost. Look for the sun just hitting a leaf or some grass. You won’t have long to get your shot but you can get some nice ones with the golden morning light on the frost.
2) Ice, frost on a much larger scale. When freezing rain is in the forecast be sure to look for icicles and frozen branches. The green leaves and red berries of a holly tree can look great incased in a layer of ice. Look for clear skies after the freezing rain has moved out. The golden light of the sunrise or sunset will make the ice, leaves and berries glow in the warm light.
3) Snow, again, more frozen water! What is it about winter and frozen water!?! Anyway, getting out after a nice fresh fall of snow can be great for finding interesting images in places that you have photographed time and time again. When the snow falls it blankets an entire area with tiny flakes so try and photograph some of those flakes. Look for the textures that the different sizes of the flakes create. When the wind blows, drifts and interesting patterns are created. Be on the lookout for morning or evening sunlight on these drifts and patterns and you will get some great warm tones and cold tones in the same image.
One thing I find good about this time of year is the angle of the sun. Since the sun is over the southern hemisphere the shadows are longer for more of the day. The sun never gets very high in the sky so the shadows are longer than any other time of the year. Although the days will be getting longer these shadows will still be around for another couple of months.
Bundle up, charge your batteries and get out there and create some great winter images. I’d like to see some of the images you create. Send me a link so I can check them out. If you have a Flickr account, add me as a contact: Conchphotog.