Well, it’s winter, time to put away the camera gear. Well, before you do, let’s talk about three reasons you should keep that camera gear out this winter and what can make winter photography special.
Join me as I describe the top 3 reasons you should be embracing winter landscape photography.
The first reason you should love winter photography is the variety of weather conditions winter can bring. In the Pacific Northwest, the weather can change dramatically week to week, day to day, and sometimes even hour to hour. From beautiful February sunsets to 5 inches of snow in the lowlands. You need to be ready for anything as a photographer in winter and embrace your conditions.
As a photographer that relies on outdoor conditions, you quickly become obsessed with the weather. Will the weather provide you with the right conditions? What sort of clothing should you wear? How many layers will be required? Sometimes you might need to hike a long way to a location or sit for hours waiting for the right conditions. Clothing is essential for this reason.
The second reason you should love winter photography is drama. As a landscape photographer, I love capturing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, where I live. I especially love it when there is a dramatic sky. For example, a burning February sunset or a moody, misty forest can be very dramatic. Perhaps a drive to the coast to witness some of those mighty waves crashing on the rocks. You can get all of this and more with winter photography in the Northwest.
You can also head to a higher elevation and capture a snowy landscape. Snow or frost can make an otherwise dull location come alive and simplify a scene. They say it is sometimes more important what you leave out of an image than what you leave in it. Snow can hide a lot of chaos in a scene. I always prefer a simple setting over a chaotic one, and snow can accomplish this better than anything, in my opinion.
A foggy forest is one of my favorite subjects in winter.
The third reason you should love winter photography is it forces you to be more creative. It is easy to capture a beautiful autumn scene with bright, vibrant colors. I love autumn for this reason, but it doesn’t always lead to creativity. You can usually observe a location, shoot and capture some fantastic fall colors without much thought or skill.
So, what about colors, you ask? Colors are more difficult to capture in the winter, no doubt. But this lack of painted trees can bring out your creativity. For me, this is a time to catch something moody. Something dramatic that tells a story, if you will. You need to rely on the wintery conditions and the feel of the scene, or you risk ending up with a lifeless photo. For example, nothing can bring a dull forest scene to life better than fog and mist.
One of my images from a snow in 2021.
This image of snow on these trees simplified the scene putting the focus on the pattern of the branches.
Another way to explore your creative side in winter photography is to expand on your black and white images. Why fight the lack of color when you can embrace it! Black and white photography is not my favorite, and I’ve not explored this much. But I see a lot of landscape photographers posting their B&W photos, and some are amazing! So don’t be afraid to explore and challenge your creative side.
This image is one of my attempts at B&W photos. I feel the lack of color draws more attention to the structure of this bridge.
So, get yourself a warm coat, hat, gloves, and boots and get out there today and expand your winter photography portfolio!
A snowy river from Winter 2021.
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