Cold weather can be tough for photography, from the batteries and tiny buttons on digital to the adjustments and exposure for film. The scenes can be interesting if you’re willing to deal with the chill. And the almost monochromatic look to everything.
So winter is my time to look for B&W opportunities, including infrared. The bare trees and drifting snow make for some wonderful shapes and textures, and the stark sun in a cloudless sky provides plenty of contrast for shadows.
I continue my education on Ansel Adams’ Zone system for exposure and snow covered landscapes are perfect to experiment with. The dazzling white snow can through off exposure meters or at least lull you into a sense of complacency on how the image will come out. Fortunately the dynamic range of my digital and film cameras is usually sufficient to simply place the mid-tone greys in Zone V and let everything else fall where it does. Here’s an infrared image where I put the grey stones in the wall right on Zone V and was able to retain some detail in the shadow of the wall while holding the texture of the snow in the foreground. Snow is an almost perfect reflector of all colors so it will be white in infrared just as with B&W.
I’ve had this image for a couple of months, playing around with it. I really like the detail in the cattail “fuzz” against the dark sky. I wanted enough depth of field to give a sense of the three-dimensions of the stalk but keep the background blurred so the subject stands out.We’ve finally got our bird feeders arranged to keep the acrobatic squirrels out of the flat feeder we installed for the ground birds like juncos and cardinals. The feeder is high enough to keep squirrels or raccoons from jumping over the baffle. Surprisingly it’s also strong enough to support the larger feathered diners who have started coming by. The snow is apparently deep enough to annoy the turkeys in their scratching for food, so they come by our place for an easy snack. They are amazingly tolerant of us watching them through the windows. I think we’ve had upwards of 10-12 on the deck at one time, vacuuming up the sunflower seed and corn I put out for critters who just like to crawl around and graze. The squirrels don’t really like to mingle with these ladies so I usually put more out after they wander away.
Turkey populations have really grown in my lifetime. Driving around Door County a couple of weeks ago we saw a field with close to 50 of them, all scratching for the corn left from harvest. Are these the next Canada goose for urban parks?