A Day In The Snow
Last Sunday I invited a friend of mine to go out in to the North York Moors to do a bit of Landscape photography. The day was all planned the week leading up to it and we were both looking forward to it. By the end of the week the weather forecast was predicting snow for Sunday which got me even more excited about the day.
Sure enough when we got away from the levels of York and on to higher ground there had been snow from the previous day, the excitement was starting to kick in even more now. We decided to head off over Hawnby way to an area I have a lot of knowledge about having explored it extensively last year making images for the North York Moors Park authority, so I had the image already in my mind I wanted to capture.
Parking up on the road that goes from Hawnby to Osmotherly in several inches of snow I eagerly wanted to get to my favourite tree, As we got our gear together it then started to snow. So a quick dash over to my spot I canned my first image of the day.
I have used this composition before in the past which can be seen in my gallery. I like the way the land slopes to the right leading down towards the tree, how the tree works with Hawnby hill in the background and bare surroundings give it a militaristic uncluttered look. Its just the tree and the hill, a sense of alone and peacefulness which is how it feels to be out in the wilds photographing landscape. One of the reasons I love this craft.
From my favourite tree to my next favourite tree and that lovely twisted textured trunk growing and pointing towards Hawnby Hill in the distance is such an interesting subject.
I first made a composition of this tree again last year when the heather was in full bloom which turned out to to be one of my best images. But hold on I made a mistake and didn't notice the splodge of snow water on the front element when I made the shot. Notice the dark shady spot centre stage to the left of the tree in the distance. Well we all make mistake, so lesson learned, when taking a shot in snow or rain either make sure you have a lens hood on or make sure you wipe the lens then immediately take the shot. I kept a little colour in this image rather than make it monochrome because its almost B&W anyway and I rather like the splash of colour from the moss on the tree trunk
This Image was created by my good friend who took the shot of me unawares while I was making the image above of the twisted tree. You can see how wild it got and I was struggling to keep my lens free of snow and so was he. He showed me it a couple of days later and said he was disappointed with snow on the lens that had caused the image to be soft. I was blown away with it to be honest, not that it was me, he had captured a great story with warts and all. The fact the lens has water on it shows the conditions we were in. It was raw landscape, it was snowing hard and we were in it. Amazingly the water on the lens was more round the outside area and bottom of the frame leaving me more in focus and capturing the blizzard conditions contrasting against my clothing. I encouraged him to send this image in to the first photo contest we could find.
From Hawnby we moved on to our last destination and the village of Hutton Le Hole which is one of the most popular villages in the North York Moors. There was a good covering of the white stuff once we arrived and after some liquid refreshments in the Crown pub it was back outside for some shots.
The Hutton beck was my first composition with the snow covered banks flanking it either side. This gave great contrast between the water and snow. The beck then leads your eye straight on to the bridge and beyond to the houses above. Its a mixture of monochrome and colour which I think works very well. A perfect Christmas card image maybe.
The old school house was my last image of the day. It was the bench that attracted my eye to this composition. I liked the contrast of the wood and snow as it really makes the focal point of the image. It is then the dark contrast of the tree line of Hutton Beck that lead your eye through the image to the old school house. This is actually a grade 2 listed building with the ground floor being a cafe and the first floor apartment available as a holiday let, just thought I would mention that if your interested.
I love photographing in the snow as it can completely transform a somewhat uninteresting composition in to something quite beautiful. I believe its the contrast that makes the images more simple to understand. Unnecessary details are covered up allowing more simple
un-obscured detail to contrast against the white stuff.