Welcome to this month's newsletter!
In this issue:
It is December, winter is coming or already there, and with it a different landscape opens up before your eyes—and your camera lens.
Depending on your location and mood, the weather may seem glorious or appalling, but opportunities for great landscape photos are still plentiful, even – or especially? – when conditions seem far from perfect.
On the other hand, when the sun does show up, the quality of light is often pure magic. In effect, you can experience the golden hour all day long.
While basic rules for getting the best results out of your camera are still the same as during the warmer months, winter photography requires just a bit more preparation.
Keep yourself warm. This may sound like your mum's heartfelt appeal, but being comfortable is essential for taking great images. Cover your head, wear several insulating layers, and protect your hands.
For the latter, thin fingerless woollen gloves worn underneath warm mittens, or a mittens-gloves combo with a retractable finger pouch, are ideal.
Keep your camera ready. Always carry spare batteries with you, and store them in an inner pocket close to your body. Batteries are extremely sensitive to the cold, and tend to discharge faster than you can imagine.
Make it your habit to recharge all your assets as soon as the opportunity arises—that is, whenever you are back indoors.
Protect your gear. Pay attention to your camera. Place it in a bag or your pocket until you need it, and return it back in after taking a shot. Be especially careful when it snows. Consider using a plastic bag opened on both ends for the cover when photographing.
When coming inside from the outdoors, carry the camera in a bag to prevent surrounding warm air from condensing on its surface or inner parts.
Choose your subject. You won't face any difficulties searching for a motif. Anything worth being photographed during the summer is not less attractive in the winter cold, just different.
Covered with snow, both under the blazing – by winter standards – sun and heavy clouds, the familiar landscape transforms into something else, magical or mystical, mellow or menacing, merry or moody: choose your angle and compose accordingly.
Expose wisely. Wide, bright areas, like snow fields [and sand beaches], are prone to mock your camera's exposure. Be sure to check your results and adjust by applying manual compensation.
Your camera will probably tend to underexpose when set to automatic. While the usual advice would be to compensate in the opposite direction, say, by +1 to +1.5 EV, I would rather recommend to boost the effect by further underexposing, especially in sunny weather.
This technique will result in a bluish tint to the snow, a milder, warmer rendering of the sunlight, and deeper, colder shadows at the same time—all attributes of a typical winter mood.
Preparing this issue, I searched my archive for relevant sample images and was surprised to find quite a few—my winter ventures seem to have escaped me.
These 10 winter landscape photos were taken from January to March between Switzerland and Greenland, at different times and in different weather and lighting conditions.
They allow for a good overview of what is possible, photography-wise, in the coming months—if you are willing to leave the house.
Click on the Slideshow button to your left and let the images open in a full-screen gallery.
“In the falling quiet there was no sky or earth, only snow lifting in the wind, frosting the window glass, chilling the rooms, deadening and hushing the city.”
Truman Capote, Miriam
“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
Mary Oliver, American poet
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“It is growing cold… What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood!”
Roman Payne, The Wanderess
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.”
Andrew Wyeth, American painter
“All the world that I see from my tower is draped in white… It's late afternoon – the sun is just setting (a cold yellow colour) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my window seat using the last light to write to you.”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs
“March came in that winter… bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island
“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring… They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.”
Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter
“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.
Not that year.”
Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants
“…if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Season's Greetings and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!
If the winter season is not your scene at all, find some solace in
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind
Hang in there, it will be over soon enough!
Tags: #inplainlight #amazingplaces #winterlandscapes #getinspired
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