Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter patterns

This has been a strange winter so far in the Bear Lake Valley.  By now we should have a lot of snow on the ground, wildlife should be coming out of the hills, and the ski areas should be going strong.  There have been several storms and the weather has been cold, but there is little snow accumulation.  So what is out there for photographers?

When you add wind to a little snow you get drifts, and a simple weed with it's shadow in late afternoon light can be beautiful.

When the snow isn't very deep a little grass can stick out and add some simple straight lines to the beautiful snow curves.

The Bear Lake Valley often gets fog when the temperature drops and this can produce hoar frost or "rime".  Unlike the snow curves in the first two photos, to get rime there must be no wind at all.  The frost forms on nearly everything, often outlining leaves and branches.  Temperatures had been below zero for several mornings when this photo was taken.

The background in this photo is fog and naturally a little gray in the subdued light.  I was fortunate to find a place where all background detail was obscured.  This beautiful phenomenon will usually disappear soon after the fog dissipates and the sun strikes the frost.

Watch your exposure when photographing snow, frost, and fog.  The camera will try to expose an average gray, so you might need to add exposure to make your photos white enough.  But don't overdo it or you will lose the natural look. If all else fails, exposure can be tweaked in PhotoShop, but it is nice to get it right to begin with.