Steam from a nearby paper mill in Whiting, Wisconsin coated the surrounding trees with delicate hoar frost while filling the atmosphere with ice crystal that transformed the early morning light into a wonderful array of colors.
Capturing satisfying images during the winter is a challenge and always takes a little luck.
First there is the challenge of operating a camera in the bitter cold. Cold will severely reduce the usefulness of your battery. I keep my camera in the house at night and then bring it out to the cold car already setup on my tripod in the morning. I let the car warm up for about 10 minutes. This allows the car and camera gear to slowly warm up. On really cold days, I take the battery out of the camera and keep it in an inside pocket.
Second is location. Nearly all of my winter locations have been scouted and pre-visualized months before when the weather is much warmer. Most of my images are captured early morning when temperatures are the coldest. I simply do not have the luxury of leisurely scouting winter locations during image capture.
During scouting I look for locations near roadways. Your car then can always serve as a portable warming hut. I generally keep the car running, the driver window partially open and the doors unlocked. I want to reduce/eliminate the possibility of locking myself out of the car or having trouble starting it. I look for locations near open water and scenes that will have color during the winter.
I believe your best images tend to be of locations that you have an emotional connection with or intimate knowledge of. For me that means locations close to home. I do my best to schedule personal travel during times of the day best suited for image capture and then choose my route to drive by one of my pre-scouted locations.
Every once and while, I come upon a scene when the light and conditions are just right and I am lucky enough to get a satisfying image. Yup, I get lucky. As my Dad always told me, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
This is a panoramic photograph. Click here to learn more about this technique.