Sunday, December 27, 2015

Exploring the Frost

After my frustration at being stuck inside with all the beautiful frost outside, I was determined to get out the next morning to take some photos. Thankfully there hadn't been any wind to speak of so the frost was still thick on the trees. I headed out before it got light hoping to catch the sunrise but thick gray clouds blocked the sun. There wasn't even a bright spot in the sky where the sun should be, and not a hint of color. But it was the frost that had lured me out and there was no shortage of that!

frosted backdrop

Although I love sunshine, it's actually quite hard to take photos of snow in bright sun and the soft flat lighting was better in many ways. One drawback though, is that white subjects against a white background tend to blend together. Usually I prefer natural light but I used the flash a few times when it was still quite dark and found that it worked well to make a subject stand out by making it bright against a dark background. Cameras have gotten much better with flash and they now do amazingly well, even with tricky subjects like white snow. Of course, the results weren't always completely natural looking but I was ok with the tradeoff.

frost covered branches

twinkle twinkle little star

I shot a variety of subjects, from closeups of the frost (amazingly thick) to views of the river. There were even some ducks - Common Goldeneyes. They were funny to watch - one minute there'd be a big group swimming along and the next they'd all pop out of sight (diving for food), only to all reappear a moment later.

Common Goldeneye

At one point I was kneeling at the base of some trees just off the trail, shooting straight up. A man came along the trail with his dog and I gave them both a good scare when I stood up out of nowhere!

looking up

Normally when I process my photos I'm aiming for sharpness and contrast but with a few of these I went the opposite direction, trying to recreate the hazy look of the gray day with the snow in the air.



It was quite cold (around -20c) but I dressed warm and it wasn't too bad. I just wore a thin glove on my right hand to operate the camera and kept it in my jacket pocket the rest of the time. After an hour or so my fingers and toes were getting cold and I started to head towards home. But strangely they gradually warmed up again and I ended up staying out for over two hours. My body must have realized that it wasn't going to freeze and it didn't need to cut off circulation to my extremities!

like a bird on a wire

Although I didn't make it more than 10 minutes walk from home I ended up taking over 500 photos, filling up one 16gb memory card and starting on a second. (My camera has dual slots.) I had a spare battery warm in an inside pocket but the one in the camera only dropped one notch, despite the cold and using the flash. It started snowing towards the end but by then the camera was cold enough that the snow didn't melt or stick.


These last two were my prints for the week.

The downside of taking that many photos is going through them afterwards and trying to pick out the "best". I gave up after whittling it down to 50. That's still too many, but I got tired of choosing!

If you want more, see all 50 as a slideshow or overview

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