As the year ended and we slide into the New Year, Iowans are being inundated by snow. We are in a state of perpetual shoveling, clearing a path for our cars in order to continue or daily commerce’s. Our lives do not stop for the white fluff on the ground. Instead we move it aside or drive over it treating it as one of the many burdens in life we must bear. But for some of us we embrace the fluffy white powder and revel in its complexity that makes it so unique. Capturing it in photograph it’s depth, contrast and soft fatherly playfulness upon the skeletal remains of plants form summers past.
Between the snow showers of last I crated these photographs of the harden remains of the summers creation piercing through the icy winter's precipitation. On the canvas of snow the shadows cascade over the surface, bending to reveal the slight imperfections of the surface or the ground below. It is a landscape. It is a small landscape among giant trees and vegetation of the past summer that one could almost imagine a winter scene out of a New England painting. Children sledding down the hills, building snowmen and having snowball fights. A microcosm of activity that only winter can hold until the inevitable arrival of the melting warmth of spring.
These images are the start of a project that I hope will be ongoing for many years. I love the seasons and want to create images that when look upon them it says winter or summer. I think it would be fun to have a small group of images on your wall that you can change out as the season change.
I find snow to be the tougher of the subjects to photograph. When you ask people what color is snow generally the answer most of the time is White (duh). But it isn't. There are shadows and highlights that help to define the surface of snow. They give it depth and texture while give contrast to the objects around them. Our meters are often fooled by the reflective surface so we capture a grey sheet. But even if you understand how to properly expose snow we often push it to look more white. It is a conceptual bias that we perpetuate in order to make the overall piece aesthetically pleasing. I do find myself wrestling with the overall grey scale of the snow but feel it is what it is. I plan to do more as the season goes on and maybe I show them all or just a few. Who knows.
So embrace this feathery white precipitation. Enjoy the complexity of the individual flake that builds the blanket of white covering the ground. And most of all, photograph it.