How to Take Great Winter Close-ups

February 7, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 3 Comments |
How to Take Great Winter Close-ups Image

The appeal of a landscape covered with fresh snow or frost has an alluring effect on most outdoor photographers. Confronted with such attractive scenes, the first impulse is to look at the bigger picture and compose an image that captures the overall beauty of what may be a short-lived condition. Within this wider scene, however, will almost certainly lie several interesting details and abstracts that can make fascinating compositions.

Being aware of such possibilities is particularly valuable if you find yourself struggling with the wider vista in terms of composition or lighting.  Many details may be less dependent on good lighting and so can be tackled while waiting for light to improve or taken on dull days, as was the case with these trapped pockets of air, requiring a lengthy exposure of 2.5 sec @ f9 (ISO 200).

Winter Photography in Glencoe

Although snow may not be encountered by everyone in the UK each year, no part escapes at least some frost and ice, both of which provide excellent opportunities, even close to home and thereby avoiding any lengthy travel.  Details will seldom be spotted if you drive around in a car so it pays to get out and walk, keeping your eyes open for shapes, patterns and texture.

Producing detailed images can be achieved by using a:

  • short zoom - current models generally have quite useful short focusing distances.
  • telephoto lens, anything between 100 and 400mm, which is ideal for more distant features or to compress perspective for a particular effect.
  • macro lens for the ultimate close ups

I use all three lenses, probably with equal frequency, but more important than the equipment is the vision of the photographer.

Smooth ice forms a highly reflective surface and by adjusting one’s shooting position and angle it is often possible to make significant differences to what is reflected. Reflections of a sunset sky, colourful building or hillsides, can introduce colour to existing shapes and surfaces. Small changes in the angle of view, including distance from the subject, shifting left or right, or altering the camera height, can profoundly alter the areas of colour and their distribution in the composition.

Winter Photography in Glencoe

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#1 Martin Mulhern

These images convey a sense of wonderment in the world which go unnoticed to the casual observer,but photography can unleash this emotion.congratulations on giving inspiration to those of us who aspire to achieve such impact,in a simple story of picture taking and technique.

10:43 pm - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#2 Jon M Photography

Great Tips. I live in lake tahoe and its still full blown winter in mid april. We just got over a foot of snow yesterday. I am a wedding photographer and struggle with landscapes. Its horrible to say sense i live in such a beautiful place. I am always looking to better my landscape photography skills and found your post to be helpful. I look forward to going out and putting your tips to use.

5:37 am - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#3 Will Polley

Love the images. I live near Hardwick estate Derbyshire it has ponds and lakes that have fantastic opportunities for icy winter shots. To make my photography interesting I will carry just one lens and use that. I have to say, my favourite is my Canon EF 100mm f2.8 macro. I brake out my Benbo tripod to get to any angle I wish. Here’s to some more icy mornings and great detail shots

8:14 pm - Sunday, November 17, 2013