Shooting Frost, Snow and Ice

Dreamy Beech by The River

As much as I would like to shot winter scenes, the weather in west Michigan doesn’t always cooperate. We get a lot to dark cloudy days in winter which makes for flat lighting without a lot of contrast or definition in the photos. This can especially be problematic for landscapes. Some days it pays to be at a location when there are breaks in the clouds to highlight subjects, like the Grand Have Light house in one of the accompanying photos. The dark sky can make for a more dramatic image or the dark, hazy light might just give or a dreamy, mythical look to the swans flying away from you. If you are shooting ducks for color and identification, good luck. Sometimes this dark, flat light can work for you. Case in point is the image I’ve titled “Dreamy Beech by The River”. This photo was taken late in the day, within an hour or so of sunset while it was snowing quit heavily. The low light works here.

Hoar frost

On a couple of days last week, we had cold nights in the single digits for temperatures and some sun in the mornings. The cold nights made what is known as Hoar Frost. This is beautiful in the mornings when it turns trees and weeds white and the sun shines on them. The problem is getting out early enough to shot before the sun and wind start to take the frost away. I have added a few photos here of the Hoar Frost to show the wonderful crystals that make up this phenomenon. When you photograph with a macro lens or look closely, the ice crystals are actually clear and very detailed geometric shapes. The crystals protrude outward, attached on one edge and protruding like a shelf of delicate ice. Dress warm and be ready to move slowly to get these photos and enjoy the beauty.

Snowy Field

Proper exposure with snow photos can be difficult and results unsatisfactory sometimes at best. While blue snow or blown out snow or ice is a common problem with winter photos, it doesn’t have to be. All of the accompanying photos were shot in full manual mode and white balance set to “Auto White Balance” on the camera. The f stops were in the middle to low ranges, which lets more light into the camera.

Even though it can be along cold winter, we can still shoot photos. It was enjoyable to get the macro lens out and shot ice and frost and then move on to plants as found in winter.

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