When the sky is a constant sunset and daylight is only there for a few hours it is hard to not be distracted by the sky. The colours pop and the scene is magical but sometimes looking at the trees against the snow gives the landscape a whole new appearance. Even the most beautiful landscape can take on a new appearance and feel when viewed in monochrome. Intimate landscapes become transformed and patterns become intense.
How to Photograph in Black and White in the Snow
These images do not just happen with a clever conversion in photoshop. You need to go out and find trees and locations that will ‘work’. Look for isolated trees and bushes with a strong structure. Trees without their leaves can look stunning against a white snowy backdrop.
Landscapes with strong contrast and structures such as rocky shores or mountains work really well. This is especially the case when the weather isn’t the perfect blue sky. Falling snow or fog can add to the atmosphere and should be embraced.
Too much white, however can make the image look flat. Look for shadows or lines to draw the viewer into the image. Fence posts, semi-frozen rivers and even live stock can add a dimension to take an image from ‘nice’ to ‘stunning’. Use the rule of thirds to compose a minimalist image that draws the eye when there is only one focus.
Think ahead and walk around the side of a possible location. You do not want to destroy ‘virgin’ snow with size 10 footprints. Pristine snow cannot be salvaged once there are footsteps! If you know there is snow in the forecast, get out before it arrives and work out vantage points and routes so you can look after your snow.
Look after yourself and wrap up warm. Going out into the wilds in the winter needs planning. Make sure people know your plan and check in on a regular arranged basis. Take kit to ensure you can get your car home if the weather changes and if you can’t, essentials to ensure you stay warm and safe.
Kit needs special care once temperatures drop below freezing. Condensation can form inside the camera so always allow it to return to room temperature slowly. Pop the memory card and battery out before heading home and then give your camera time to come back to temperature slowly. A ziploc bag works well or wrap your camera in a towel in a cool part of the house to warm slowly allowing any condensation to collect on the towel.