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Monday, January 1, 2007

10 Creative Winter Jump Starts

Keep your photographic eye sharp by exploring the winter world


The old saying in Minnesota is that we have nine months of winter and three months of tough sledding. While this is a bit of an exaggeration, it often starts to seem that way to photographers waiting for spring wildflowers and lush green scenics.

But winter has its advantages. Sunrise in northern Minnesota in early January is a very tolerable 8 a.m. Yes, it may be cold outside, but at least you don’t have to get up ridiculously early to get sunrise shots. And sunset is well before 5 p.m., so you can have a full day of shooting and still be home for dinner!

Winter can make photography challenging, and it may take a bit more sisu, as the Finns say, to get out the door and start shooting, but the rewards can be worthwhile. I vividly remember one cold morning on the frozen banks of the St. Louis River. Hours in the blind waiting for romping otters left me cold and stiff. I finally gave up and sprawled on the snow to soak up some late-morning sun. Then a bald eagle started circling slowly over me, spiraling lower and lower. He thought I was a tasty rotting carcass! I slo-o-owly grabbed my camera and began shooting straight up. My reward for keeping my camera at hand and my mind open was frame-filling photos of a bald eagle against an azure sky with the snow acting like a giant reflector to fill in the shadows beneath.

A gray winter day may take all the sisu you can muster, but amazing photos are out there just waiting to be taken. Here are 10 ideas to make your winter photo excursion more productive.

Color In WinterColor In Winter
Some see winter as a stark, colorless time of year, but color can be found in the most unlikely spots. Ice will take on the color of its surroundings, reflecting sunsets, blue sky and spruce boughs. Lichens on shoreline boulders can add a splash of orange or green to a wintery landscape.


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