Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of winter or snow--I complain about it a lot. But actually I love the look of snow, it can be a very pretty subject and if I lived in a more scenic area, I'd probably learn to love snow. Still, you can find pretty snow shots almost anywhere, especially when it's that wet soft snow that clings to branches and outlines the dark trunks of trees so nicely. The snow was so pretty today, in fact, that I ran home while doing errands to grab the cameras and tripod and headed out about two hours before twilight to find something to shoot. This is an old mill pond near my home and as I drove by this reflection scene nearly stopped me in my tracks. Unfortunately the only place to park was in an unplowed parking lot and I wasn't sure if I'd get back out again, but the shot was so pretty I had to try (turns out I was able to back out easily).
I knew the shot I wanted from the moment I saw it so all I did was to set up the tripod on a tiny dock, composed it, took a meter reading and shot. I should have shoveled off the wooden dock, it got very icy from me standing on it and I had a vision of myself falling into the pond not to be seen again until spring--and I *do* carry a snow shovel with me when I'm shooting so I can clear a place for my feet. I ended up shooting a couple dozen shots, changing the view slightly and altering the balance between the land and reflection. I initially had -1.3 stops of exposure compensation set inadvertently and when I noticed, got rid of it--always reset your controls at the end of a shooting session! That much compensation really didn't matter since I was shooting in RAW and could have easily corrected it. The shot here was a straight reading in the matrix mode; there was enough of a mix of lights and darks so that the meter didn't get fooled either way.
The only minor glitch in shooting this scene was that, after I'd been shooting for about a half hour, I noticed a beer bottle floating across the pond--being pulled by the current toward a small waterfall off to my right. There was nothing I could have done about it anyway and I knew I could clone it away (I did in the frame above), but it's amazing how people's garbage can get into almost any scene--and floating bottles have been a problem for me before. I'll have to buy a pellet gun and start shooting at them--might be more fun than cloning. Below is the uncloned shot--see if you can spot the bottle.
By the way, this is the same pond that I shot in this autumn scene--the snow scene is a little bit to the left of the autumn composition, but both were shot from the same dock. I think fishermen built that dock for their own use, but I get a lot of use out of it, too. Also, I saw two other photographers at the pond and one was off in the woods shooting, but the other just drove up, hopped out with a DSLR and snapped a few frames and left. It was almost a drive-by shooting.
I'm kind of hoping that snow is over for this season, but if not, I'll try to make the best of it and go get some snaps--you should too :) But if you have a beer while you're shooting, take the bottle home with you--and let someone else drive.