Saturday, March 26, 2016

SNOWSTORM IN BLACK & WHITE

We've been blessed with a mild winter.  That doesn't mean, however, that we can't get a snowstorm in late March.  This past week we had a moderate snow event, as these things are sometimes called.  It started with a gentle fall of silver dollar sized snowflakes (actually a lot of snowflakes hitched together), and I tried to capture that with my camera.

My initial goal was to pose those flakes against an interesting background.  This proved more difficult that one might think.  Here was an early effort, taken looking into a stand of woods in our subdivision.


Whoops.  Obviously, I wasn't able to "freeze" the flakes against the woods.  This was shot at 1/50 second, much too slow, particularly given the strong wind that was driving the snow.

Here is a similar image shot at a faster shutter speed of 1/640 second.


And another, more telephoto shot at 1/400 second.


Its appears that I need to keep the shutter speed above around 1/200 second to effectively freeze the flakes.

Most of our snows are fairly short-term events.  It might snow for a few hours, but then the storm moves on.  This was a much longer event, and we had another round of snow the following afternoon.  This round was more serious in terms of the rate of snowfall, and I pulled my camera out again.

First was a shot looking out our backyard at a spruce.


The snow had already started to coat the tree's branches.  I was able to freeze the falling flakes (now more normal sized) with a shutter speed of 1/1000 second.

Then I returned to the subdivision woods to get the following shot.


I thought this image, taken at 1/320 second, portrayed a more wintry feel than did those I took on the prior day.  The snow acts in a fashion similar to fog in creating more depth and in simplifying the overall scene.

I then drove over to Virmond Park, a nearby county park located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.  There I took a shot of a bench on the edge of the bluff.


While at the park I also shot a curving wood rail fence.



I thought the overall composition in the second shot was better.  In the first shot the fence is positioned too high, and it just doesn't give the appearance that the scene would have for someone experiencing it at the time.  I thought, too, that the negative space created by the sky in the second shot helped to create the mood of the storm.

To wind things up, I took a shot of the pond in our subdivision that borders the woods.  The scene includes a couple of smaller spruce trees posed against the deciduous woods.


If I had a quibble with this shot, it would be that the reflections of the spruce trees in the pond were cut off.  On the other hand, I liked that the snow created a plain bright white band to separate the pond from the woods.  This image seems to convey a quiet mood, belying the relatively heavy snow that was falling at the time.  Perhaps it is that the pond had refrozen.  This shot also has a somewhat grainy appearance, even though it was shot at a relatively low ISO of 400.  I think most of the graininess stems from the snow in the air.

I converted all of these images to black & whites.  First, given the snow and the late afternoon overcast, the original images had little color to start with.  Second, I felt that converting the shots to black & whites served to draw attention to the snow and also acted to eliminate any distractions that color might have posed.

John

1 comment:

  1. Pictures are incredible. Love Black and White. Capturing the snowflackes

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