How to Take Great Winter Close-ups

February 7, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 4 Comments | |
How to Take Great Winter Close-ups Image

I find longer focal lengths work best, in this case 300mm on a 100-300mm lens stopped down to f20 to give reasonable depth of field. The subject is thin ice at the edge of a wide burn in the Highlands with the colours deriving from a bracken covered hillside and blue sky, giving a striking colour contrast.  It took time and care to find the angle of view that produced an acceptable effect. 

At the edge of St. Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders, I was fascinated by the ice baubles that somehow had built up around the base of reeds. The most interesting ones were some way out, so again a long lens was advantageous in getting the composition right at the time of taking. As colourful reflections were not a consideration, the viewpoint was entirely dictated by where a clear uninterrupted view could be had - not easy in a reedbed, but a Sony 70-400 mm G lens, on an Alpha 900 did the trick. The subtle pattern on the thin ice on the water surface was initially overlooked but it does add considerably to the image. 

Winter Photography in Glencoe

Sometimes you may find yourself standing on or walking across something that could make an interesting image, so it is worth treading cautiously and looking around - avoid damaging something that you may later decide is worth photographing, as was the case with the ice and sand at the edge of Loch Tulla. In fact it was almost overlooked as I concentrated on the wider mountain vista beyond.

Winter Photography in Glencoe

The ice was very thin and unsupported underneath, so care had to be taken to avoid any damage. With no recognisable horizontal or verticallines, the camera was orientated to place the lines at an oblique angle for a more dynamic effect. The abstract result is quite strong with the banding pattern on the ice being reminiscent of a mammalian trachea (windpipe). This is a good example how a short zoom (24-70mm Carl Zeiss SSM) can be very capable of getting quite close to the subject.

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Your Comments

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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

#4 Clipping Path

This is really a great article.I appreciate your good working. A lots of information is here and I taught huge from it.Thank you for sharing this article.
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5:07 pm - Thursday, November 5, 2015