Winter is full of surprises. When I’m out I try to stop often and see what patterns appear on the snow or what plants are still showing while they await the spring. I think this first one is a raspberry or similar – the little spines near the base are what make me think that, but who knows. It was the arch that caught my attention and how it seemed to gather in the sprinkled seeds and other things.
These have a really different look to the others in the first post. More examples of how snow isn’t really white. This time the sky was visible from time to time and reflected some blue. Overall the light wasn’t as flat and created subtle shadows and sheen on the snow.
The shot above is quite striking and much simplified and improved by going into a clone or healing brush tool and getting rid of the little bits that flake down onto the smooth snow. With such a uniform background it’s really easy to do. All of the next few shots were cleaned up in this way, but the ones further up have some little bits and pieces remaining. Including them there added to the story and the image so I left them. Deciding how much debris to leave on the snow is an individual thing and it comes down to intent.
Another artistic element is color grading – for this next shot I added a very small amount of warm orange to the highlights. Because yellow and blue are complimentary colors, they work really well together and the eye just loves the combination. Emphasizing those two colors in a scene brings interest and harmony.
I try not to force it though – a very subtle approach was needed here because the light itself was so beautiful and I didn’t want that to get lost.
Most of these were shot with a tripod, but a few were handheld. I like having the flexibility to do both. Winter and the reflected light from all that snow makes it really easy, but when I have the tripod with me I try to use it often. This last shot is actually a 5-image stack. It was a little breezy so I didn’t use focus bracketing, instead choosing each focus point and then hitting the shutter when it was still. It’s a little bit of a hornbeam seed cluster I think. There were a lot more of them scattered nearby – squirrels and mice love them and they’re an important food source during the winter months.
Hopefully I can get out again soon and find more small scenes. It’s been pretty freezing up this way this January, but days in the 20s are coming and hopefully I get some more good light!