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« Gallery show of Sarah Moon, a master photographer | Main | Subtle color can make a great photograph »

Create great winter photography by moving closer


One of the strengths of photography is the ability to create a sense of connectedness and intimacy.

I spent a few days snowshoeing in the mountains near Steamboat Springs, Colorado last week and what struck me most was the beauty and silence of the winter landscape.  The aspen trees, though stripped of leaves, seemed vibrant and alive bathed in the sharp light reflected off the pristine snow.

I made the image below as we walked through one lovely glade.  But the sense of intimacy was not really there.  Using a 50mm lens, the image simply was a statement of where I was.

50mm view of a winter forest

Next, I moved closer to the trees, changed to a 38mm focal length on my zoom lens, and made the picture below.  

38mm view coming closer to the treesNow I could feel the weight of the snow on the tree branches and feel connected to the "eyes" in the aspen trees.


Finally, I moved very close to one tree in particular, and moved around until I found a strong composition with it in relation to other trees in the forest.  Here, I shot with a 70mm focal length and a very shallow depth of field to focus the viewer's attention on the texture and pattern of the bark.

70mm view of aspen trees in winterMy suggestion is that you tap into your feelings in a situation, and explore camera position, camera angle, lens focal length, and depth of field to create evocative winter photography.

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