Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Landscapes

A Road Divided

Beauty in Black and White
Winter landscapes can be difficult to capture properly. One of my keys to successful winterscapes is stark beauty and mood.

Stark beauty can be brought out in hard light black and white processing. Since a wintry landscape tends to be monochromatic naturally, for the most part, removing what color might remain from the image is a benefit.

Strong light and shadows adds to the natural hardness to the beauty of the scene.
Flat Light Is Not Flattering

In the image on the left, the natural color was left intact because of the nature of the natural light and color tones. Cool blues and purples in the sky contrasting with the warm yellows of the dead grasses add to the sense of death and cold in a scene where the leafless trees are stripped of any sense of life.

The color works because the scene naturally lends itself to the use of color. If there had been a sign of life, green grass, red or orange leaves in the trees color would not have worked for the intent behind the image.
Winter's Gloom

Above, in Winter's Gloom, the grass was still slightly green, therefore I choose a black and white conversion to enhance the gloom of scene.

Against the stark contrast of natural radiance in the gradient gray sky, the subdued yellows work in the scene to enhance the appearance of a land incapable of supporting life.

Winter is full of opportunity in a beauty that cannot be found during any other time of year. From Spring through Autumn, foliage provides a skin that hides the inner soul of scenes like these. Only winter can tear away the skin and expose the bones, the guts and the soul of the stark raw beauty of our world.

Only winter can expose us to the truth of what hides beneath the visible surface. What might you find in your wintry seasons?

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