Shooting in snow! What a fun challenge!

Our collective attention has focused on the weather for the last week or so, as seemingly the entire nation has been under siege by cold and snow.  (One of my good friends ran off to Australia to escape.  Travel safe, Butch!)

Taking pictures in snow is very challenging.  I’m taking a winter/snow photography class next week so I’ll learn the mistakes I made in shooting for the last couple days, but I’ve had a great time this week and I look forward to learning something next week!

I’ve been out in the Carson Valley the last couple days.  The snow was falling both days – very evident in many of the images.  One of the challenges of shooting snow is preventing the snow from blowing out (or overexposing), making great white spots in the images with no recoverable detail.  One means of preventing this, I’ve read, is to overexpose the image by one stop.  (This is primarily done to maintain white balance in snow pictures.  Since I shoot exclusively in RAW format and assign white balance in the computer, this is not a factor for me.)  I tried this technique and feel that I had great success.

Let’s get to the pictures!

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You’ve seen these horses before – they were in a landscape I did last year. The two on the left were standing in the snow, and the horse on the right came over the culvert to join them. I couldn’t have placed them in better position.

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The irrigation ditches are running strong with all the moisture we’ve had. I was drawn by this meandering ditch with the yellow vegetation covered in snow. I thought about processing this in black and white but I loved how the yellow showed through, so I left it alone.

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This is a bigger irrigation ditch with more vegetation. I didn’t need to desaturate (remove the color to make it black, white, and various shades of grey) the colors…nature did it for me!

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I processed this scene using Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex to enhance the contrast, give the image a bluish tone, and add a nice vignette and border. I loved the dark tree in the foreground with the smaller tree up the hillside in the background!

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I had a lot of fun with this image. This is the Genoa Bar in Genoa, Nevada. It is the oldest bar in Nevada. I had made three images when a guy drive his car into the foreground and parked. Darn it! For this version, I processed the RAW image and went into Photoshop. I created a duplicate layer and desaturated the first (or background) layer, then applied a Gaussian blur to the duplicate color layer. I overlaid the blurred layer on the black and white layer and blended them. I then adjusted shadows and highlights and applied a vignette to make this image. It’s a technique called ‘Dreamscape’ that I learned in a weekly photo challenge a couple years ago. It’s a fun effect and works well for this image.

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Dreamscape is not for everyone, however.  A couple of my friends didn’t like the above image, so I processed this image without the Dreamscape effect. Like most art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or something like that).

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After the interloper disrupted my Genoa Bar shoot, I rolled forward a few feet and began shooting the structures next door. This antique store, with its wagon and covered porch, made a great composition. I worked to bring out the colors in the buildings and the wagon to offset the snow covered trees and foreground. If only I’d had some people in period costume or maybe a horse or two…oh well!

There’s a few of my snowy images from this week.  I hope you enjoyed them.  I look forward to learning how to take pictures in the snow next week, and sharing the results with you!  Everyone stay warm, drive safe, and enjoy!  PHOTOROGR

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