A Pure Snowy Setting

Oh let there be snow, let there be snow. Photographing snow is one of the most difficult types of environments to capture. So of course when the opportunity emerged I had to challenge myself. This month’s photos will focus on snow and how to capture it correctly. Some people may think it sounds easy, just use the “snow” setting on your camera and you will have a perfect picture. But that isn’t exactly the case. Try it and you will see what I am talking about. Once you view the photos you will more than likely see a blue, grey, overexposed or underexposed picture. For this assignment I chose a subject with a historical background, keep reading this post to learn fascinating information about the landmark.

But keep in mind that not every photo can be perfect. As I looked at my photo files I saw a really great picture, but the snow looked slightly grey and ruined the photo. Thanks to Photoshop I was able to adjust the levels as we talked about in my last post. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just scroll down to my previous post and learn about adjusting levels. Now keep in mind that this is the only adjustment I made, and look below at the beautiful photo I ended up with.

There are several reasons as to why this is a good photo. Let’s begin with the objects that are closer to the viewer. The stones appear to get smaller the further away they are, creating the sense of distance and a more 3D effect. The stones generate a repetition effect that allows for stability. I love the dark shapes and how the snow makes them more abstract. When you squint and look at the photo the main things you see are these shapes. If you look at the photo in a content way, the tombstones appear to be separate objects. However, in a design perspective, the tombstones are one connected shape; their dominance in dark contrast makes them the dominate aspect of the photo. Now take a look at the fourth tombstone, it’s point leads right to the cross on the back of the church. The cross shape can also be found on the steeple, which allows for repetition to be present. Oddly enough the fifth tombstone leads directly to the steeple, which is another connecting element. There’s not much color existing, except for the colorful flag flying next to the left side of the church. Again, the second tombstone leads right to the flag. Next are the trees that add balance to the picture. The first tombstone leads to a group of trees as well. The tombstones acting as pathways to important objects in the photograph makes this a great picture.

Now does this church look familiar? This is the former Hawcreek Baptist Church, which is now used by the Mennonites. It was originally established in1826. In the mid to late 1990’s, the church you see was burnt down to the ground by a church arsonist. The only things that survived were a few of the hymnals and a Bible. In 1949, a local farming family left money in a trust to keep the church going. After the fire, there was still money in the trust and insurance that allowed for the rebuilding to take place. Members of the Amish community helped in the process of rebuilding the structure.

This photo is full of diagonal and linear lines, which can be found within the gate and the green lines found on the church. Using the bird’s eye effect really helped improve the photo and made it more interesting. There are more reasons as to what makes this a good photo, but I’m going to let you be the critic this time as I merely only named a few pleasing aspects. Knowing the church’s history allows for a greater amount of appreciation for the viewer, so maybe that will give you an advantage while analyzing it.

So my advice for this week is to not shoot the photo towards the sun. The combination of the sun and snow will make the photo overexposed. What does this mean? The levels will not be balanced and the image will appear with a blown out effect that isn’t appealing to the eye. Visit my blog again next week to receive more advice about photographing snow, perhaps with my help you will be able to create your own Christmas card.

2 Comments on “A Pure Snowy Setting

  1. You seem to be inspired by the snow. Nice work with the church and stone gate. These images remind me of your red barn against the snowy landscape from a year ago. Also loved that blue bridge in the Columbus area (I believe). Are those photos still for sale?


    • Thank you Dennis! I really enjoyed taking the photos. I have even started working on this coming week’s photographs and they are even better. I can’t wait to post them later this week. I am inspired by the snow, mostly because it challenges me. Yes, the barn and bridge panoramas are still for sale. The bridge was actually in Decatur County, right in front of the fairgrounds in Greensburg. There are just so many photographic moments around where I live. Thank you for the comment and I hope you are doing well.


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