photography from the ground up

Postcards From Home

After more than a week of unfulfilled promises from the weatherman, and several half-baked attempts, we finally got a substantial snowfall here in northern New Mexico. So, I awoke in the pre-dawn of the new year to find a foot of fresh snow and more coming down.

I made this image of my home from the southern boundary of my property. The rincon along the edge of Virgin Mesa is just visible through the falling snow to the north. I made several compositions and settled on this one. My main concern during the processing was to preserve the ethereal quality of the light through the snow on the distant rim.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8

I call it the Number 10 Cabin, but it’s really just an old barn/shed. I have photogrphed it many times over the years–it is located a couple hundred yards from my house. This image was made, obviously, during a snowstorm. I love to photograph in these conditions; the world seems to shrink down to just the elements within the frame. I used a relatively fast shutter speed to freeze the falling snow, which gives the photograph an almost pointillist feel.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8

This river runs through my land.  I made this photograph from a wooden bridge located just north of my house. Normally when photographing moving water, I use a slow shutter speed to smooth the flow, but on this cold, snowy morning, freezing the movement with a fast shutter felt like the best way to portray the scene.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8

South of the village, the canyon opens up and the bosque has room to breathe. These cottonwoods on the edge of a small meadow stood out againt the low clouds. The world was reduced to the immediate surroundings. As I said previously, these are my favorite conditions to work in. Again, I used a fast shutter to freeze the falling snow, which adds another dimension to the image. I made another exposure using a slow shutter to mask the snow and this version is by far my favorite.

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm f4

You can feel the silence and the mystery of the winter forest in this image. The trunks of Ponderosa Pine and Fir trees seem to go on forever and the veil of frozen air in the low clouds adds to the effect. I used a long lens to compress the separation between the trees. The sliver of snow covered ground at the bottom of the frame is essential to the composition; without it the image becomes more abstract.

Nikon D810, Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8

7 responses

  1. Beautiful series Jim, I do love proper snow. Although stuck in the middle of it, I’m sure it’s very cold and thoughts of summer pass through your mind.

    Like

    January 5, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    • Besides the beauty and quiet of a fresh, heavy snowfall, there are other, more practica,l reasons why
      I love a snowy winter. Fire season starts usually in June and a good snowpack can help to keep the
      fire danger lower. But, yes, after the storm passes and the temperatures plummet, I do entertain
      thoughts of warmer days. Stay warm!

      Liked by 1 person

      January 6, 2022 at 8:21 am

      • Ha, forest fires, I remember when I was knee high to a grass hopper seeing a fire that covered a whole mountain top in Wales. Lots of fire engines, beaters, and a glow in the sky that lasted for a few days.

        Like

        January 6, 2022 at 10:04 am

  2. it’s so beautiful

    Like

    January 7, 2022 at 2:19 am

  3. These are such marvelous images Jim, I really enjoyed them as well as your thoughts on how you approached each of them. I guess the bad/good news is we don’t get snow here in coastal SC although when I lived in the mountainous areas of NJ we had some amazing moments of the fluffiest white powder! I do miss the scenic quality of the snow but not the cold that accompanies it. Your final image was my favorite but I think it would also have been wonderful without the baseline snow. Just sayin!

    Like

    January 8, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    • Thank you Tina. Yes, there are times after the storm has passed and the temperatures drop
      that I long for warmer days, but when I’m in the thick of it, in the zone, I don’t even feel the cold.
      Before I decided on a version of that final photograph, I did a crop just to see how it would hold up
      without the snow at the bottom and it was still a good image, but a little abstract for my intention.
      Happy shooting!

      Like

      January 8, 2022 at 5:29 pm

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