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Finding those Halmark Winter Scenes

As the whole country is engulfed in bad weather, up here in Montana we certainly have had our share with over a foot of snow just over this past weekend. We had a huge storm come through Friday-Saturday and finally it let up a little bit on Sunday. It’s great getting the snow we certainly do need it when Summer roles around but why does it always come in on the weekends? Well Sunday I was tired of being cooped up inside so with the break in weather I grabbed the gear and headed up into the Birdgers.

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This is what I found. It was great! I love finding trees that are just covered. There’s nothing like that fresh snow fall. Everything is clean, no tracks or footprints and the trees are all covered. The possibilities seem to just pop out at you as you can go from extreme closeups to abstracts. My favorites are often when the light falls so softly that you can’t tell if it’s a black and white or not.

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One thing I often look for is that one tree or that one clump of trees that just pop out. With the D3 and 70-200 VRII I just isolate that area and go for just the detail, not the whole scene. I was taught when working with snow is that it can be not only seductive but also overpowering at times. When you try and encompass everything in one image often times it’s hard to focus because of all the whites and blacks. That’s why it’s important to go with snippets here and there to compliment everything else.

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One very powerful tool to use when working with snow is a vignette. It’s a simple old school trick to bringing the eye down to one selective point. Personally I like using the darken and lighten tool in Color Efex Pro 4 to do this. By using that filter it’s much easier to isolate that one tree that originally caught your attention and you’re trying to bring out in your image.

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There are those moments of course when you just have to stop and look. This is one of those shots that I just had to do. On the middle of this snow covered mountain was a lone cabin. Everything else seems like a painting except that one orange dot. What a view that person must have.

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