- What to do with a camera in winter is the question many photographers seem to ask themselves. The autumn is irresistible to most photographers. With the passing of the rutting season in the Royal Parks of London, the herds of stag-shooting photographers have retired to the warmth of their computers. Which is a pity because photography in winter offers some great opportunities to have fun and be creative.
For instance, with each gust of wind and flurry of leaves the trees are getting ever more naked. Look up at the shapes of their bare limbs, who knows what inspiration you may get! Nature’s putting on her drab winter coat, but there’s so much texture and pattern in the bark, or in the fallen foliage in ponds and streams. The mist and fog is a cloak of mystery that can utterly change a landscape.
I love the frost, especially when the sun comes and everything sparkles. In a proper freeze ice throws incredible designs across standing water and creates amazing sculptures around running and tumbling water. For those who care to look, it’s all there in the parks.
Winter is also a great time to photograph the built environment. The sun never gets high in the sky so when it does come out it casts huge, dramatic shadows. The sun creeps into the nooks and crannies of our townscape that never see it in the summer, illuminating surface textures and the rich colours of stone and brickwork. After sunset man-made lightshows fill the streets with twinkling jewels, particularly around the shops at Christmas. The open-air markets make vibrant subjects with their steaming food stalls, colourful products and characterful faces. Even the traffic going home has a romantic appeal as the stoplights of braking vehicles string rubies along the road.
I got very excited when it snowed and spent several days sliding around hoping not to fall on my camera. When it snows, everywhere is quieter, softer, somehow transformed. On its own, snow is a challenge for the camera to capture well. It takes good light to make snow into a good picture – light that can create or form a texture on what is potentially just a white sheet. But look at the people instead. The smiles and rosy cheeks of those enjoying the snow make marvelous pictures. Young children’s sheer wonderment, noses tipped with a dew-drop, laughing office workers snowballing in their suits. Photograph the brief lives of snowmen before they melt away, sledge pilots before they tumble into a drift and leaping dogs as they catch a snowball. But watch out for snowball fights lest you become a target!