01 Feb Capturing Winter – a photographer’s guide

Source: Fujifilm X Blog

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X-Photographer strip BLACK

By Chris Upton

With low raking light, crisp clear air, lingering morning mists, beautiful frosts and (hopefully!) a covering of pristine white snow it’s no wonder that winter is a photographers delight. The icing on the cake is that at this time of the year sunrise and sunset are at civilized times of the day so you can enjoy a lie in and be back for a family meal at the end of the day.

What to shoot

You will not be short of subjects to photograph in these conditions but you may have to be quick as the light or the mist may only be present for minutes or even seconds. From big sweeping landscapes, to isolated trees or barns, to detail shots of frosted grass, icicles or bubbles under the ice there are shots everywhere.

It’s the harsh weather that creates those special moments. Mist and fog separate subjects from their background and bring an ethereal feeling to the scene. Hoar frost on grasses and trees lit by the morning sun look stunning, reflections of a winter sunset in still water and of course the landscape blanketed in snow are all great subjects.

© 2011 Chris Upton

Going for a simple, minimalist, composition positioning your subject against a background of white, can be very effective giving a sense of isolation and cold. Features such as walls and fences stand out in the snow and can be very useful as lead in lines to your main subject.

Look for limited areas of colour to lift the blandness of a winter scene creating a more positive feel to the image. Converting to mono also works very well allowing the subject to stand out emphasizing shape, texture and form.

But it’s not all about the landscape think about urban environments too with wet streets reflecting vibrant shop lights, car light trails and people battling the elements, the only limit to the shots is your imagination.

When to shoot

As always, early and late are best but the great thing about winter is that sunrise and sunset are at civilized times of the day. Being out early after a snowfall also means that you can shoot pristine conditions without other peoples footprints spoiling the view. Severe frost can create magical images but you

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