Photo Tip “Taking Photographs in the Winter 2”

This photo tip on taking photographs in the winter offers you further inspiration and useful information about this topic. Here image subjects and image build-up are central.

Winter provides an array of classic image subjects. Just think of snowy landscapes, ice flowers, smoking chimneys, the flickering light from an open fire place, hoar frost, mountains, Alps, falling snow, fog, winter sports… Winter gives new insight into an unknown, peaceful world. Depending on the weather, the landscape can go from being mellow to being harsh.

Winter provides atmospheric conditions. On the one hand, cold winter days are suitable for capturing images from a great distance. Cold days provide especially good views of the distance, like no other time of year. This is due to low humidity; the atmosphere hardly produces any vapour. On sunny days, the deep blue of the sky provides an interesting contrast in colour against the wintery landscape. On the other hand, this time of year also shrouds the landscape in a veil of fog and dampens colours and contrast. More or less heavy snow falls can cause a hazy appearance in images. If you would like to accentuate the snow, you should capture the snow against a dark background. If the background consists of snow, you won’t be able to see much of the falling snow in the image. Snowflakes can cause the image to blur.

The foreground
The following images illustrate an important creative aspect of photography, the foreground. Often we concentrate so much on the image subject that we forget about this means of creating an interesting image.
A very good image subject to illustrate is the 4,478 meter high Matterhorn. Thanks to the mountain’s prominent shape, it is has become one of the most famous landmarks in Switzerland and has been the popular image subject of the Alps since the beginnings of tourist photography. The following image shows the mountain scenery from a great distance, captured with a 400mm telephoto lens. Despite the shadows that accentuate the land relief, the image seems flat. 

Matterhorn with no foreground – Canton Valais - Switzerland – 2010 Matterhorn with no foreground – Canton Valais - Switzerland – 2010


In the following image, the mountain’s massif is moved to the background, the snow bank in the foreground creates spatial depth and the shadow in the foreground counterbalances the background.
Matterhorn with snow in the foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland – 2010 Matterhorn with snow in the foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland – 2010


The following image also shows the Matterhorn, the piste sign is the foreground here. This creates contrast in colour as well as spatial depth. Additionally, the reference inferred by the sign creates the wrong illusion between mountain and sign.
Matterhorn with piste sign in the foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland – 2010 Matterhorn with piste sign in the foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland – 2010


Below are further example images, where the foreground was used specifically for creative purposes.

Mountain landscape in Canton Valais – Switzerland Mountain landscape in Canton Valais – Switzerland


Mountain landscape with tracks in the snow – Canton Valais – Switzerland Mountain landscape with tracks in the snow – Canton Valais – Switzerland


Mountain landscape with tracks in the snow – Canton Valais – Switzerland Mountain landscape with tracks in the snow – Canton Valais – Switzerland


Winter landscape in the mountains – Canton Valais – Switzerland Winter landscape in the mountains – Canton Valais – Switzerland


Thirsty - Winter landscape with foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland Thirsty - Winter landscape with foreground – Canton Valais – Switzerland

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