I recently upgraded my camera gear but hardly found the time (and likeable weather) to test it out. Last week, the first snow has finally fallen and really started the winter season. It was a totally grey day. The snow was falling, all the landscape was covered in white. What sounds like a fairy tale directly put me into a twofold problem: At first the obvious: New gear! Getting to know the gear, the settings and capabilities of the camera and the lenses. Of course … without getting it soaked – it was snowing after all.
There were no colors anymore!
The second one: My last opportunity to take photos was during a really gorgeous hike in an autumn weather: Nice warm colors, all the leaves in the autumn colors. But this day – there were no colors anymore! The world was black, white and grey. As it was snowing – the sky wasn’t blue either. Just … white and grey. The last time I had such conditions was … more than half year ago. I really had to get into recognizing and “seeing” motives again.
After lunch I just wanted to go for a (photo) walk and explore the vicinity. The landscape (obviously) looked totally different, and the snowfall reduced the visibility similar as fog does. After an hour, I saw the trees and the hut in the distance. Without snowfall the background doesn’t make up a good motive – but the amount of snowfall and the pristine snow plane were just right!
A crucial part with snowfall is – as usual – the exposure time. A very short exposure freezes the snowflakes – a longer exposure creates some motion blur. A very long exposure creates the impression of fog. That day I chose 1/80s-1/100s. Enough to capture the motion of the snow fall and give the impression of a chill & windy day in the snow.
In the past I tended to make rather dark, moody photos – but this plane white snowscape just wanted a high key development. I raised the whites removed all saturation and lowered the dark to retain and amplify the contrast in the trees in the front. A white vignette pushed the focus even more to the middle.
And I must admit I like the ethereal mood, the calmness, the softness:
Right next to this scene there is a little hut behind a smaller tree. In such conditions I find it utterly important to include as little as possible into the photo. Which I did manage after a couple of attempts of including ways more because “it’s all so nice”. In the end I completely cropped the neighbouring trees. The tree on the left is fairly large and consumes quite some area compared to the hut in the right half. Yet, the hut itself is more compact and “tells enough story”, so that I find the overall image still well balanced: