11 January 2011
As I write this, it is a chilly 3 degrees here in Michigan. If you live north of the Mason Dixon line chances are it’s pretty cold outside at your house right now as well. I love to photograph at this time of year, all of the animals are in their best coats, and all that snow acts like a giant reflector bouncing light back into all of the nooks and crannies. I am always surprised at how many photographers put their equipment up and hibernate (photographically) during the winter months. This is a real shame because although, it can be a little more challengeing, winter is a magical time to get out and make great images. I have decided to do a series of posts on why winter is a great time to get out and shoot. For all of you people south of the Mason Dixon line you’re welcome to come north and enjoy some of the winter photo opportunities up here on the frozen tundra.
One of my favorite times to shoot in the winter is when the snow is flying. Whenever I look out the window and see nice big snowflakes gently falling from the sky, instead of running for my shovel I grab my gear and go find something to photograph. Falling snow not only adds depth to an image but it also adds a real sense of drama to a shot that I really like. Photographs like this show how animals live in the natural world. Animals are out in the elements, come, rain, sun, or snow, they are out there living their lives.
When you photograph in the falling snow you want to protect your gear. There are elaborate covers you can buy or you can use something as simple as a plastic garbage bag and a couple of rubber bands to keep the snow out. Often times however, if it is cold enough, I will just leave my equipment outside (protected) until it get cold enough so that the snow won’t melt when it comes in contact. Then I can just brush or blow the snow off without any worries.
You do however, need to take some precautions when you bring your camera and lenses in from the cold. Because the warm moist inside air will cause condensation to form on your cold gear as it warms back up. When I come back inside from the cold I wrap my gear in a blanket or plastic bag until it warms back up to room temperature this will stop the condensation from forming on your equipment.
Finally, this last shot is of a snow monkey that was actually catching snowflakes on his tongue during a snow squall. I took dozens of images of this behavior but unfortunately I was never able to get a shot where the monkey’s head and the snowflake were in the right position to show what was actually happening. As a general rule I don’t manipulate my work with photoshop. But for this particular image I did use photoshop to “move” the snowflake in his mouth to a position that better told the story of what was going on.