Winter’s beauty can be breath taking. I love watching the snow fall and try not to think about the consequences when it’s time to dig out. Sure we’re “stuck” inside much of the time but the image making opportunities are endless. I shot 60 frames with two different cameras during our latest storm. I chose five of the best for this series.
I shot this picture from the vantage of my opened back door on Wednesday afternoon. We already had 20+ inches on the ground from a major storm four days before this one. Beautiful, unspoiled, cold and windy.
This shot was taken later in the afternoon from a second floor window. Maybe should have broken off the big icicle in the upper right corner, but it was neat looking and I didn’t have the heart. The two trees are a lot larger than they appear from this angle. The heavy coating of snow is beautiful but my wife and I worried about losing the trees. I wanted to get some photos before she slogged through the snow to shake the branches.
Here are those same trees as they looked the morning after the storm (from my patio) before the brilliant sunshine melted the snow from their branches. It wasn’t snowing but the wind was blowing snow around a bit. You can see my wife’s footprints. She said the snow was up to her knees. I really like the light in this image.
This photo was taken from the second floor during the storm. I think I used my 85mm lens for the shot. I should write this stuff down for future reference. No EXIF with my F3 and B&W film.
How’s this for serendipity? I took this one the next morning. I never realized that I had near identical shots until I processed and scanned my negatives. My dragon must have been guiding my eye. The light and shadows worked out better than I hoped with this one.
I haven’t shot much snow and exposure can be tricky. The first photo was taken with my N8008s loaded with Tri-X. I used aperture priority and dialed in an extra stop to get proper exposure for the snow.
The other four pictures are on Ilford FP4+. I used my F3HP in manual mode and opened up a stop for the shots I took during the storm. I used my hand held spot meter for the full sunshine shots the next day. A one degree spot meter is a great tool when you have the time to use it. I metered the shadows and the brightest snow. My meter has a neat dial on the side that has all the zones marked off so it’s easy to calculate a proper exposure. It won’t do to have gray snow but I didn’t want to blow out the highlights either.
A good B&W film like FP4+ is forgiving up to a point — a lot more than transparency film or digital. But a properly exposed negative helps a lot. I don’t want the cumbersome menus of a digital camera. My film bodies are so intuitive and my muscle memory knows where the controls are without looking. I’d love to have a Nikon D700 but not this week. Someday perhaps.
BTW, the two rolls of film and the chemistry I used for developing cost me less than ten dollars, my negatives are safe in sleeved archival pages and I don’t have to convert the images from color to B&W either. Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon, but I love my old film cameras especially when they’re loaded with B&W film.
Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography.