September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Winter wonderlands: 11 tricks to create whimsical landscapes

7 min read

Whereas it may be tempting to twist up indoors with a cup of tea and a blazing hearth, winter is among the most magical seasons for photographers—no matter the place you reside. The Dutch photographer Roeselien Raimond, for example, has braved -12°C climate to witness wild foxes taking part in amid a snowstorm.

Smiling fox in the snow by Roeselien Raimond on

In the meantime, in Iceland, Patrycja Pati Makowska has regarded out over town of Reykjavik to see Mount Esja glowing within the pink and purple mild of the winter solar. In Yosemite Nationwide Park, Jeff Lewis watched the solar rise over the panorama, shaking within the -4°F air (it felt like -18°F) because the snow fell throughout him.

View to Mt. Esja - Reykjavik  by Pati Makowska on

Again and again, photographers have proven us that bundling up and heading outdoor in winter brings with it the promise of lovely mild, glowing ice crystals, delicate snowflakes, and pristine, untouched pure wonders. As a bonus, the golden and blue hours happen at a extra accessible time in winter, which means you don’t must get up tremendous early or keep out very late.

Drawing inspiration from artists within the 500px neighborhood, we put collectively this information filled with panorama suggestions and winter photoshoot concepts that will help you profit from the season.

Snow Globe by Jeff Lewis on

Earlier than we begin, an important phrase on security in chilly climates: gown in layers that you may placed on and take away as wanted; put on weather-appropriate boots/crampons, socks, and gloves (ideally, gloves designed particularly for photographers); and keep on with marked trails. Go to areas in daylight earlier than photographing them in the course of the dawn or sundown so that you just’re conversant in the terrain.

Carry a thermos with tea and a bottle of water to remain hydrated. For those who’re working with fashions, put their consolation and security first—and make a schedule and plan based mostly on these components. A cushty, joyful mannequin and photographer type the inspiration for a profitable shoot. Lastly, spend money on an ideal, waterproof digicam bag to guard your gear. Keep away from excessive temperature adjustments to forestall moisture.

Winter's Frost by Lizzy Gadd on

Begin near residence

It’s tempting to get swept away within the fantasy of faraway locales, particularly within the winter, however there are alternatives for whimsical landscapes in all places. Native landscapes additionally provide extra prospects to {photograph} the identical place in several mild and circumstances, from dreary overcast days to sunny blue skies. For those who’re on the lookout for that ethereal winter mist, search out our bodies of water (small or giant) within the early morning.

AllTrails, an app with greater than 100,000 trails all over the world, is an efficient place to start out your mountaineering journey; we additionally advocate looking Google Earth for attention-grabbing vantage factors and brainstorming inventive pictures concepts. Make as many visits as you possibly can; as soon as you recognize the world, watch the forecast so that you’re able to go at a second’s discover as soon as the precise circumstances hit. From there, you’ll have a sturdy basis to start out planning a visit or expedition to the vacation spot of your goals.

Embrace wildlife

A Polar Bear on the Ice. by Benjamin Hardman on

Wild animal tales are ready to be found in a few of the remotest and most weak areas on Earth. Benjamin Hardman, a photographer based mostly in Reykjavik, not too long ago returned from an epic journey to the excessive Arctic, the place he witnessed the breathtaking wildlife of Svalbard.

However wildlife additionally finds a manner in surprising locations, a lot of them in our personal backyards. Chad Briesemeister, for instance, noticed this Tufted Titmouse on a chilly January day in Wisconsin. It doesn’t matter what species you’re photographing, from the frequent to the uncommon, at all times do your analysis, put the welfare of the animal first, and comply with moral tips.

Tufted Titmouse by Chad Briesemeister on

Collaborate with a mannequin

Frozen Ice by Jovana Rikalo on

500px Ambassador Jovana Rikalo was so impressed by the “frozen kingdom” of Ledeno Kraljestvo in Mojstrana, Slovenia, that she constructed a whole world round it, collaborating with a mannequin to deliver her ice queen character to life. Partially impressed by the Disney film Frozen, Ledeno Kraljestvo proved to be the proper place for Jovana’s creativeness to roam wild; she in the end paired a yellow gown with the blue panorama for vivid distinction.

Discover a body inside a body

Ice Cave by Vadim Balakin on

Winter is the proper season for pure frames, from frost-covered tree branches to crystalline icicles, so maintain a watch out whereas exploring your winter wonderland. For those who’re fortunate sufficient to go to an ice cave, you possibly can place a determine inside to evoke a way of journey and wanderlust, whereas additionally drawing consideration to the huge scale of the panorama.

Search distinction

alfred by Viktoria Haack on

One downside with snowy landscapes will be that every thing seems flat on account of an absence of coloration and tonal distinction. An answer is to hunt out topics that soar out in opposition to that limitless blanket of snow; within the case of this portrait, Viktoria Haack targeted on Alfred the canine, whose deep black fur made all these particular person snowflakes seen in contrast.

Look ahead to frost

From the Mists by Justin Grimm on

Frost, like snow, can remodel a well-recognized panorama right into a scene from a fairytale. Nighttime temperatures of 32°F or simply under will create a lightweight frost. Bigger grains or crystals of hoarfrost would possibly seem in areas with a number of water vapor, corresponding to a stream that hasn’t but frozen. To catch it, plan to be at your location earlier than sunup; you would possibly even be capable to seize the glow of the primary morning rays poking out earlier than the frost melts away.

“Many issues wanted to come back collectively for circumstances like this to happen,” the Canadian photographer Justin Grimm says of this image. “In case you are fortunate, they could occur for a couple of days, or most certainly solely hours over the course of a 12 months.” That morning, it was -25 to -30°C—however nicely value it for this second.

Incorporate motion

Myllykoski by Iiro Martikainen on

Lengthy exposures can remodel even peculiar landscapes into wonderlands; mix a sluggish shutter pace with a winter scene, and you may create {a photograph} that appears like a portray. Flowing our bodies of water are excellent for conveying a way of movement in an in any other case nonetheless panorama; pair an extended publicity with the sunshine of the moon, and also you’ll be transported right into a dream world.

Play along with your foreground

Wintry Spring by Stian N on

In panorama pictures, you’re typically skilled to position the horizon line alongside one of many horizontal thirds traces or in the midst of the body, however on windy days, recent snow can create some mesmerizing textures, so contemplate inserting your horizon greater up than you usually would when composing your shot—to incorporate extra of the foreground. This method is ideal for capturing damaging house that glitters and sparkles within the daylight of early morning or late afternoon.

Attempt capturing contre-jour

Winter Light by Christina Obermaier on

More often than not, we attempt to keep away from capturing into the sunshine to keep away from harsh distinction, however in winter, when the solar is low on the horizon, the sunshine evokes us to experiment. For the perfect outcomes, place your self in order that the solar is partially obscured and peeking out from behind one other topic, corresponding to a tree or constructing. Christina Obermaier used backlighting to create a dreamy, otherworldly impact whereas exploring a wildlife protect in Vienna.

Bear in mind the main points

Carry your macro lens to seize the tiniest particulars you would possibly discover, from the summary textures of icicles and frozen puddles to winter flora to the snowflakes themselves. Christina’s {photograph} of frost-covered blackberry leaves, under, is one instance.

A Winter Morning Bouquet by Christina Obermaier on

For those who don’t have a devoted macro lens, you possibly can nonetheless get the impact by reversing a 35mm lens, as Balazs Kurucz did within the picture under. When photographing snowflakes, recent snow works finest, so timing is essential. Search for a background that provides loads of distinction (a darkish scarf or clothes works nicely). Further mild, like a hoop flash, also can turn out to be useful.

Hill climbing by Balazs Kurucz on

Have enjoyable!

Snow angels by Lesia Lupiychuk on

Lastly, don’t neglect to play and experiment. Winter is a time of marvel, so give your self permission to discover. Carry associates or invite the children, and seize candid moments of pleasure and awe. A lot of winter pictures comes right down to planning—from scouting your location to picking your wardrobe—however you additionally need to keep in mind to go away your self open to the spontaneous moments and unscripted magic that may occur alongside the best way.

In conclusion

Winter, for all its challenges, presents alternatives panorama photographers can’t discover another time of 12 months. In Norway, the glowing aurora borealis twinkles overhead. In Yellowstone in the US, bison heat their our bodies by the warmth rolling off of thermal swimming pools earlier than persevering with on their manner.

Slumbering Swans by Ben Cranke on

Go to Lake Kussharo in Japan, and also you’ll discover whopper swans settling in for a couple of months after flying from the north. Lake Bled in Slovenia has been photographed numerous occasions over, however nothing beats the fog that rolls in and settles over the panorama come wintertime. Present us what’s particular about your location, and be at liberty to take the street much less traveled in the hunt for one thing new.

For extra technical recommendation on taking footage within the chilly season, take a look at our article, 9 must-have suggestions for higher winter pictures.

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