A Photographer’s Walk on Snowshoes







Almost a year ago to the day I wrote that I looked forward to enough snow-pack on the hills to snowshoe in, and as then, after a morning of shoveling a deep path to my chicken coops, clearing the driveway, and another path to the front porch, I was again taking my first winter hike up to the high meadow above my home.

Last year my January walk up into the meadow’s deep snow was on a sunless, stormy day. And I recall setting a high ISO so I could get a shutterspeed that would let me handhold my camera, and then returning home in a snowstorm.

This time I mounted a light-weight, 18-105mm lens on my camera, stuck an old tea towel in my pocket in case I got my camera wet from the snow, and headed out in the balmy minus 3C day under a bright, almost-cloudless, blue sky. And instead of struggling with low, flat light, my ISO was set at 400; and I added a polarizing filter to darken the skies, increase the contrast in the scene, and suppress glare from the surface of the bright white snow.

I trekked up the hill, and as I had so many times before photographed everything. When I stroll up into that long meadow I rarely see animals, however, they are surely there hiding, and I did hear a snort from something as it moved through the trees, and when I began to cross the meadow a crow cried a warning to hidden watchers, then everything quieted, and the only sound was from my snowshoes and my camera shutter as I photographed the Thompson River valley far below and the tracks I made through the meadow.

My last article was entitled, “What Makes Photographers Happy?” Photographers wrote me noting that, “there is nothing like a new lens” or “fun day with my clients”, and I can’t agree more. I must include the words of three bloggers that sent their comments to me: Northern Desert photography, Nature Photography by Martin Ryer and Jane Lurie Photography.

The first from blogger Northern Desert says that happiness is “The process of being out in nature searching for the shot, be it landscape or wildlife. I love the post processing, editing job. So fun to see what you can do with software. Love talking with and interacting with other photographers about photography.”

I also had to pause and think a moment about the words of blogger Martin Ryer who wrote about when he has“…results that exceed or even completely differ from any preconceptions I may have had. It’s when this happens that I feel myself entranced by all of the possibilities that photography offers.”

Blogger Jane Lurie’s comment is delightful, “…I’m very happy when my final result is actually what I conceived in my head when I saw the shot. Capturing that small moment in time is a beautiful thing.”

What great thoughts on photographic happiness and I agree with everyone.  As for me, I will include the following from philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich, who wrote, ” Language…has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude ‘ to express the glory of being alone.”   To those words I will add that my quiet, solitary walk and photo excursion on snowshoes made me happy.

As always, I look forward to your comments. Thanks, John

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com