I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to post to this blog lately because I’m in the process of writing two books this winter, and it really is taking up every free minute of the day. However, with the recent snows here in New England, I’ve had a few chances to get out and shoot. One aspect of winter photography that seems to really resonate with photographers is the incredible textures found in fresh snow, wind blown snow, frozen snow, any kind of snow. I’ll be talking about this in detail in one of the books I’m writing (The AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography,) but I thought I’d briefly discuss it here today. The texture of snow varies of course, but when photographed properly, the viewer feels like he or she can almost reach out and feel the individual snow crystals. When the snow is blown into ripples like in the above photo, the texture itself becomes an important compositional element.
The key to capturing texture of any kind is the light. Diffuse overcast light, like in the above shot, is so soft that almost none of the snow’s texture is visible. To really see those ripples and snow crystals like in the first photograph, you need direct sunlight. The low angle of the side lighting in the first photo casts long shadows across the snow, highlighting every nook and crannie in the snow’s surface.
Backlight (like above) and side light seem to work best for enhancing the textures in snow, but any kind of direct sunlight will reveal more texture than flat, overcast light, so if texture is important, make sure the sun is out!
Until next time….