“The whiteness of winter has more to reveal about how we see the world. If we take the time, and look carefully, the white exhibits treasures that we don’t even notice on casual observation.” – Ed Lehming
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to photograph successfully is a bright winter scene. As we look upon the world, it seems filled with pure and unending whiteness, broke up by shadow in the deeper recesses of the forest.
I’ve read many articles pertaining to winter photography, camera settings, gear best suited to cold temperatures, and composition. Moany of those articles have shaped how I approach winter photography, which is an inevitable, given where I live. This year the snow began in November and the ground is still covered with a thick blanket of the stuff. “How” is see snow has changed a great deal for me this past year. I’ve spent more time composing my photos, pulling in elements to add interest to what would normally be a scene of white, with shifts to black. I spend more time letting my eyes wander and look for winters of colour that are not readily visible.
Think of the beautiful soft tones of blue in the shadows of winter scenes. I’ve looked for those tones and pushed them a bit to reveal wonderful gems of colour. For me, if there is no colour, I tend to be a bit disinterested. Not to take away from wonderful black and white winter photography, many scenes lend themselves very well to this treatment, but I have a great fondness for colour and its effects on my art.
In the scene above, I was particularly taken by the bright red berries above the path. It actually took a moment for my eyes to realize what they were, given the bright glare of this winter glade. I tried to bring this forward in my processing of the image, transforming the pale blue shadows to more of a teal tone and in doing so, the rusty ochre coloured pine cones took on a purple cast to match the barely noticeable shadows in the snow. What I find interesting is that even though I have modified the colours, I believe there was already enough of a hint of them in the original photo that though it looks processed, it does not feel completely unnatural. It does feel quite liberating to break from the norms and create something altogether new.
iPhone 12 Pro @ 4.2 mm
1/2817 sec, f/1.6, ISO 32