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Tag : winter

05 Feb 2017

Lot’s of snow for Vermont Winter Photography Workshop

Today was the last day for this year’s Vermont Winter Photography Workshop. The weather was good, there is lots of snow on the ground and we had a great group of eight people. They came from all over, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We were prepared for the cold, so it didn’t feel like 15 degrees during the day.

We hit many locations during the three days, farms, covered bridges, towns, rural scenes and a couple of real Vermont country stores. Several of the group hadn’t walked on a lake before, so going out on Silver Lake to see people ice fishing was a bit of an adventure.

I always know it was a good shoot when my SUV is a filthy mess. After our breakfast stop this morning, I was surprised to see a lovely note scratched on my back window. Thanks gang.

03 Feb 2017

Birch trees always capture my imagination

My love affair with birch trees continues. There is a fairly large grove about 15 minutes away from my Vermont house and I love wandering around there. It has a magical look to it no matter when I go.

Today I was there before sunrise hoping to get the rising sun shooting through the trees. When the sun came up, it glowed for a couple of minutes and then went behind a large cloud. I could see it would come out again so I tried several shots while waiting to see how the snow, trees and sky would look once the sun was shining again.

As usual, I wasn’t disappointed. The long shadows in the snow and deep blue sky highlighted the white bark and made for beautiful images. There must be 250 trees in the grove and today I noticed a couple of crooked ones shooting skyward. I like the shape they make and worked to get an angle that would highlight them. I’m pretty happy with the shot.

21 Dec 2016

Happy Winter Solstice

I drove 150 miles today around Vermont making pictures on a beautiful day – the first official day of winter. I didn’t hear too many people talking about it but they were pretty happy that the temperature got above freezing and it was sunny in some areas. People were out enjoying the day, I went to a couple of the big ski areas and they were pretty busy for a Wednesday in December. There is a good base of natural snow and the weather is perfect for making snow. It should be a good week for them as the new year approaches.

I stopped at Moss Glen Falls in Granville to see how it was looking. It has been very cold here and the falls was nearly completely frozen over. There were a couple of spots you could see water flowing but it didn’t make for a good photo. I put on my big snow boots and wandered into a little brook that runs along the road in front of the falls. I always love seeing how flowing water makes unique designs of ice, especially where it lightly splashes to make weird shapes and then carves into it.

I think Winter Solstice should be a holiday and many Vermonters would agree with me.

On the way home I heard a guy on satellite radio say the best thing about this being the first day of winter is that spring will soon be here. He wasn’t from Vermont.

07 Feb 2016

Fun at the Winter Photography Workshop

LT_fallsHosting a photo workshop is fun, it is hard work, but boy is it fun.

This weekend was my Vermont Winter Photography Workshop and even though conditions weren’t perfect people were excited to be there and made the best out of the situation. Earlier in the week it was pretty warm and I was worried that all the snow would melt and there would be no ice. We did lose a lot of snow but it got cold so at least there was ice in the river when we photographed covered bridges and when we went to the water falls.

One of the great things about workshops is that people are there to learn and have a good time. We all seem to leave our troubles at home and we just concentrate on making good pictures, enjoying the scenery and making new friends. This group was no exception. I had people from Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut and Florida. They bonded right away, helping each other, learning from each other, sharing ideas and trying new things.

A couple of people had never been to the ski area so that was fun to show them how that looks. We went to one of Vermont’s largest waterfalls, Moss Glen Falls, which looked great after the freezing cold overnight. Since there was a lot of melting during the week, there was plenty of water coming over the falls, which made for really nice pictures.

I’ll soon be posting photos that everyone made during the weekend, so check back.

I can’t wait for next year’s winter workshop. Let it snow.

03 Jan 2015

Looking for the details on a frosty morning

Frosty Church Windows

When it is cold like it was this morning in Vermont, I look for details that tell the story. At a couple of places there was great looking frost on windows. Barn windows had a very neat design and I liked the way the frost covered three window panes.

Then there was the old Universalist Church in Cavendish. It was built in 1844 and is a very cool old stone building with unique architecture. The windows have more panes than any old building I have seen. The frost was looking great.

Barn Frost

03 Jan 2015

Cold day in Vermont

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I love the cold, at least the way it looks. It was 6 degrees in Vermont when I went out before  sunrise today. I have several tricks I use to keep from freezing, Number One being putting those little chemical hand warmers in mittens that have fingers. But today the best way to fight the cold was to not stay out too long. I didn’t get far from the car, when I got cold I got back in and got the seat heater going.

There isn’t much snow on the ground, so I had to look for tighter scenes. I was driving over a little creek and saw there was some cool freezing happening to the flowing water. I got a couple of shots I like using a telephoto to get close.

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09 Mar 2014

Screaming “Good Morning”

The sky was right, so I decided to do a star trail photo at Billings Farm, the national park in Woodstock, VT. Since the moon didn’t set until almost 1 a.m., I made the decision to get up early and shoot the starts before sunrise. Shooting star trails works best when the moon isn’t out, so I thought getting up crazy early was better than staying up crazy late.

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I rolled out of bed at 4 a.m., which sure isn’t natural for me, and I was shooting by 4:15. It was 13 degrees as I traipsed through the deep snow, but it seemed refreshing.

I lined up my shot by cranking up my ISO to around 125,000 and taking a shot. The quality was terrible but I could see my composition as I chimped the photo. I tightened down my tripod and dropped my ISO back down to 1600, my 16mm lens was set to f/2.8 and the shutter speed to 15 seconds. I made sure my “motor drive” was set to continuous and I fired the first shot using a wired shutter remote. After the shot looked good, I shot another one and locked the shutter remote so it would keep firing another shot as soon as the first one was done.

After hearing that the camera had fired several shots, I went back to the Jeep to warm up and wait. After about an hour the sky started to get some light. The black sky slowly began to get dark blue and then a bit brighter. I knew my image was done after about an hour but I let it keep shooting for another 20 minutes just to see what would happen.

I ended up with 117 usable images which I combined in Photoshop to make the final image.

So there I am, it is 5:35 a.m., 14 degrees and the sun isn’t close to coming up yet, so I decided to go to one of my favorite locations and see what the sunrise would look like. It has a nice vista and there is a large open field in the foreground. There is still plenty of snow cover, so I thought would be some good shots.

I was treated to one of the best sunrises I have seen. About 20 minutes before the sun was coming up, the clouds started getting some color. Then I was treated to a colorful light show, blue, yellow, orange and red. It was special. I was shooting like crazy, trying to find the perfect shot.

I got some nice images but more importantly I was treated to a special visual show. It was good that I out not near any other people because I stood out in the snowy field feeling extremely thankful and screaming “GOOD MORNING.”

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24 Feb 2013

Loving a simple new layer of wet Vermont snow

It started snowing yesterday afternoon and by this morning there was five to six inches of wet snow covering the ground. Since the temperature has been hovering around 32 degrees, it is a sticky snow and stuck to everything it fell on.

So I went out looking for scenes that might look great with all the sticky snow. I went to a couple of places I thought might look good, and they did. I worked a farm scene I love trying to make sure I was thinking about composition and not just the beauty of the day. I made some pictures I liked and then I saw something and, as usual, it hit me.

Simplify.

I liked the way three fences lined up, with the one in the middle going down a little hill.

I headed to a covered bridge to see how that would look with a hill covered behind it. Not bad, I made pictures from several angles, nearly got the Jeep stuck in the snow and went to a couple of other farm scenes. I shot several things and was driving to another farm and saw a couple of trees alone on a hill.

It hit me again. Simplify.

I like the way the two trees stand out and the simplicity and balance of the photo.

23 Feb 2013

Winter wonderland on a private estate

I got a call from friend Lisa Lacasse, she was heading over to a private estate and wondered if I wanted to join her. She had told me about the place and with the snow falling, it would make some great photos. She was right.

The main house has an outdoor oven fired by wood that is used to bake bread and pizza. We shot the oven from all angles but I liked having the porch in the photo, using it for framing.

We walked around the grounds a little and went back toward a barn. I liked the way the heavy snow creating leading lines to the barn, along with Lisa’s footprints in the snow. I initially shot the barn tight, but backed off and shot it with the wide angle to get more of the full scene in the photo.

26 Jan 2013

Those Vermonters know how to look for the positive

As I was walking out of the South Woodstock (VT) Country Store after chit-chatting with the woman behind the counter, she said “At least it is warmer today.” That’s what I love about the spirit of people in Vermont, it was 14 degrees at noon, and she saw the good side of it. Yes, 14 does feel pretty good compared to the 20-below the night before, but I love being around people who are thinking about the positive side.

Earlier in the day I went past an old barn I had seen the day before. I loved the old doors askew and the little icicles hanging off the roof. When I was there the previous afternoon, the sun was around the side of the barn. I knew it would look better with early morning light hitting the old wood.

25 Feb 2012

You otter see this

An otter peeks through ice in Woodstock, Vt.

 

At first light I headed out to see how Vermont looked after five inches of snow fell overnight. The short answer: beautiful. As I was heading out of the village, I looked down at a small pond that had a few holes in the ice. I noticed something dark moving in one of the holes, so I pulled over. Another something was moving and my brain registered I was seeing a couple of otters playing in the water.

I hopped out of my Jeep with my telephoto lens and tripod. Even though I was 100 yards away and up a hill, the otters weren’t thrilled with my presence. They craned their necks to get a better view of me and then dropped back into the water. One would pop up out of another hole, take a quick look at me and go back under the ice. Even though I stayed right by the Jeep, I was in their comfort zone. I thought if I hung out for a while they would realize I wasn’t a threat. After 3o minutes and no sightings, and strong winds trying to blow me over, I headed off to enjoy the beauty of the day.

Trees on a hillside in Woodstock, Vt.

Wind blows snow around ice fishermen on Silver Lake in Barnard, Vt.

24 Feb 2012

Finally, some snow in Vermont

Snow falls on the Middle Bridge in Woodstock, Vt.

 

It has snowed a few times in Vermont this winter, just not when I’ve been here. This afternoon it started and I’m excited. I went to the covered bridge in the village at dusk and shot as the darkness set in and the snow fell. I wanted to get a shot of car headlights illuminating the inside of the bridge, so I stood in the cold snow. I started by doing wide angle shots and I didn’t like the way it looked, even when a car came through. So I backed off and got out the 70-200 and waited for another car to come through.

As I was standing in the snow with my umbrella protecting my camera, I thought I felt something hit my foot. I looked down and saw something in the snow about the size of a pen. I couldn’t think of anything that I had on me like that so I kicked it around a little and tried to figure out what it was. While messing around, I looked up and car was coming out of the bridge. Damn. After 45 minutes, I was rather cold and I’d only seen one car come through and I missed it.

I usually prefer “night” shots to be done just before it is truly dark outside, so there is still some light in the sky to give some separation between my subject and the background. In my earlier shots, I couldn’t give them enough exposure to see inside the bridge since no cars came through.

So there is always tomorrow night and hopefully there will be more snow.