|Hot water vaporizes on minus -26º F morning near Ely, Minnesota|
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE)
mark the snow, the velvety cotton landscape comes alive with a different kind of silence. Mainly, there's just less people out there.
Consider the iconic photographic destinations, like our national monuments and national parks. If you visit these places in spring, summer or fall, those classic photographic gems are often jammed with people. Everywhere in your frame is a person, tripod or goofy hat. They are shooting the location, each other, others shooting each other, and so on. Its almost impossible to obtain a clean shot. The super-duper secret to getting that shot? You can lessen the distractions by going in the cold months. And, the bonus? Obtain images and an experience that few others care to tackle. It sets your work apart and presents a new and fresh perspective.
I plan several annual winter outings for shooting. One is a dogsledding adventure photoworkshop I teach at WINTERGREEN DOGSLED LODGE in Ely, Minnesota. We just wrapped up our 21st year and experienced quite the temperature swing. We started at 33º F and ended with minus -36º F. Its the best of two worlds really. We spend our days out in the wilderness mushing and our evenings in a cozy lodge with food prepared by a wonderful French Chef, Bernard Herman.
|Wintergreen's French Chef Bernard Herman|
|Dogsled teams gliding across frozen lakes on the edges |
of N.E. Minnesota wilderness
|Harvesting ice blocks from a frozen lake. |
Harsh light allows room for experimenting.
|Overcast skies provided the perfect light source that brought to life|
this frozen rock wall covered in frost crystals and ice formations.
locations; "Cotton Kills." If you get wet, cotton holds the water next to your body yanking the warmth right outta your skin. Synthetic clothing, like fleece wicks the moisture away keeping you insulated and warm. Wool does the same.
When active, like dogsledding, I wear a pair fleece thin long-johns on top and bottom along with a good windshell. This keeps the heat in and the wind out. If I get chilled, I'll pull on another layer of thicker pile fleece or down, and pull over the wind shell. I can't stress how important the wind shell layers are. The key to comfort in winter is this; if you start to overheat, drop a layer. When you get chilled, put on another layer. Keeping dry is essential. If you are traveling over sea ice or frozen lakes, its a good idea to carry extra clothing just in case you flop into the drink. A good hat, balaclava and neck gator offer protection. If you are in windy conditions, use your ski goggles. They'll make you life like a day at the beach. Lastly, have thick mittens on hand. The kind that have a wind shell on them. Gloves only protect individual fingers and in really cold weather, you get cold fingers fast. When the fingers can work together keeping each other warm, the difference is remarkable. Light fleece gloves for shooting so you can feel the dials. Stay away from those fingerless gloves in winter. They're useless.
After your shot, pull the mittens back on.
|Experimenting with visual options. This entire day felt like a walk back in time.|
I used pixlr-o-matic app to help create an image that looks like it came
out of Grandpa's old shoebox.
And don't forget that ever handy iPhone. This little video was made using a app called Vintagio. Buckets of fun.