Sunday, 6 April 2008

Snow... in April?!

Working on location in a local city at the end of this week, it was with a certain "yeah, right!" scepticism that a collegue and I considered the forthcoming weekend's weather forecast. The 'experts' promised us snow - this, as we stood in perfect sunshine, interrupted only by the occasional rain shower. After all, it is now April, and we are just starting to properly see the first glimpses of Spring in the surrounding vegetation.

So much for being a smarty pants then as, would you believe it, they were right all along and we did actually have it - and not just a cursory fluttering either. No, what greeted the waking public this morning was 2 inches of pure white snow which fell in the space of about an hour, early morning (so I'm told - I was still warmly wrapped up in bed at the time!).

The moment I saw this, I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Filled with sudden excitement, my first thoughts were immediately to go for a walk to shoot some stock pictures. Ok, admittedly I have a vested interest as I love the outdoors anyway, and would jump on any chance to get out and about. But that's not the point. You see, it is such a rarity for us to get snow like this around here these days, that I was keen to fill some gaps in the archive. All things considered, then, how could I possibly resist?

So, off I went to one of my favourite haunts - the local woodland. This is the same area that, only 2 weeks ago, I conducted some lighting tests, as described in this post. What a difference the weather makes! I have walked in and around that area so many times that I now know where various paths lead and what photographic opportunities can be found in certain places - but with a covering of snow, I may as well have been in a different country. Without exaggeration, it was like walking into a winter wonderland (only... um... in April).

This kind of weather does something to the senses, I think, and it is quite beautiful. Have you ever noticed just how calm and still everything appears when it is snowing, or immediately after a snow fall? I'm sure there must be a scientific explanation for this, but that's for another day - and besides, it's always just nice to hear that wonderful sound of snow gently crunching under foot, isn't it?

With many of the usual land marks taken out of the equation, one is left to pick out the finer details. As photographers, much like trackers, we must assess the scene and make adjustments accordingly. Not just with regard to exposure, but also to the composition and what actually appears in the frame.

It's a bit like pointing your camera out to sea on a dull day and expecting to capture a
glorious silhouette of a ship. It's just not going to happen. Similarly with a snow scene, we are presented with a plain canvas containing very little detail and it is up to us to seek out the good stuff. With practise, this is not such a daunting prospect.

And even if it was... we do like a challenge!

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