Winter is here – motives for photography are still abundant

Usually we get the first snow at the end of November or beginning of December at the latest. Last year and this year again, winter was in no rush. Two days ago, we finally got a significant amount of snow. Because it is cold enough, the snow is not melting right away any more.

Here are a couple of impressions from our neighborhood:

Winter light During winter, the sun is very low in the sky, which often creates beautiful warm light, even at a simple street corner.

Winter trees
I like the way trees look like after snow has fallen. The snow often highlights branches and the tree trunk in a very nice way.

At a local park, the texture of snow and the low sun light creates a beautiful winter scene. Every other time of the year it would be difficult to photograph straight into the sun, but in the winter it is possible without getting lens flare into the photo.

Photography in the winter months is definitely more challenging than any other time during the year. The daylight hours are much shorter. Trees have lost their leaves, and most plants and flowers are dormant. Overall it is a pretty desolate condition out there. In addition, it takes determination to be out there in the cold.

Unfortunately a lot of photographers miss the winter months. While there is not too much color out there (and our eyes get naturally drawn to color and color contrasts), there are still plenty of opportunities out there. The details that draw me to photography during the winter months are textures, sunlight in the landscape, and trees. Only during the winter months can we see the structure of tree branches.

Another photography opportunity during the winter months are beaches. In the summer and early fall lots of people are on the beach and it is difficult to photograph without getting people into the pictures. I also like to visit places in the off-season to see how they look like in cold weather or with snow on top.

Recently Kim and I went to Plum Island, which is a barrier island on the coast line North of Boston (Northshore). In the summer, it is sometimes difficult to get into the reservation, because so many people arrive already early. When we went there this month, we enjoyed the beautiful light over the marshes and the beaches.

Plum Island 3 Plum Island 2 Plum Island 1

So, if you did not plan to be out there this winter, maybe this post can inspire you to check out some beautiful places in your neighborhood. I know there are beautiful places everywhere. They may not be as famous as the National Parks in the Southwestern USA, but the are not less beautiful.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the winter months,


Deep thoughts during the short nights of winter…

My birthday is tomorrow and I am preparing to celebrate it with my family. This birthday, like the last few, means a lot to me because several years ago my life was almost cut short by breast cancer. I don’t say that for dramatic effect it is simply a fact of my past. I don’t take my life for granted, nor do I live in constant fear that it will end but this year I am even more contemplative because during the past few weeks a number of major events have occurred that affected the way that I look at my life even though the events are not about me.

In the U.S. we just came through an election that simply made people crazed. There was a lot of public anger and such unhappiness that no matter what side you were on it was unpleasant. I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief when it was over just so we wouldn’t have to hear the negativity in ads anymore! More recently there have been terrible crimes committed including a massive one impacting many very young children and their families and friends. All of this and Christmas is just a few days away.

I recently saw the movie about President Abraham Lincoln and surprised myself by being anxious about how it would end, despite knowing how it would end.  I learned a lot from the movie and realize that the world continues to turn, seasons change, ideas change, people change. How I feel about those things matters only to me and those in my orbit. Maybe you. So, I am taking the events of the world in- knowing that I may have no control over them, processing them, feeling the sorrow when appropriate, and being grateful that I was born.