I love shooting in fog, as I’m sure many photographers do. It is a magical thing, and seems to change everything around us. Everyday scenes become otherworldly when blanketed in an impenetrable mist. I’m always looking for ways to simplify my compositions, and reduce them down to their most basic elements, because I want to emphasise the things that drew me into the scene in the first place. Sometimes this is really quite a difficult task, but shooting in fog seems to do all the work for me!
Here the focal point is, of course, the church, obscured by fog at the back of the frame. The leaves in the foreground, intentionally left out-of-focus, provide a bit of interest, but the eye is inevitably drawn to the shrouded figure towering over the scene. There are faint hints of detail in the stonework of the church, which makes me want to get up close with this picture and really interrogate it. When I photograph a scene I do so because there’s something in it that speaks to me personally, and intrigues me about the elements before me. My intention is to capture that experience in a frame so that I can present it to you, as nature presented it to me in the first place.
In stark contrast to the tranquillity of my last snow image, this one feels busy, the falling snow giving a sense of restlessness. The contrast between dark and light is here again, with the dark sculpted hedges standing against the overcast sky, making them seem imposing. There is depth, unlike the last image, with layers of these hedges stretching to the back of the frame. Scenes like this are difficult, because the falling snow makes it hard to frame a shot, and you risk getting your camera very wet! I think I managed to pull it off though, and I’m glad I made the effort.
I’m aiming for a calendar this year, which means that I need to take at least 13 images (12 months, plus a cover image) that I feel comfortable putting in a print. 13 images might not sound very much for a year’s worth of photography but trust me, it’s harder than it sounds!
This image is definitely going to be on there. Not only does the beautiful snow make it a perfect contender for a January picture, or even a festive-themed December one, but the arrangement of the trees and the minimalist composition makes this one of my favourite images so far. The tones of the snow-covered ground and the overcast sky contrast perfectly with the dark forms of the trees, giving this picture plenty of negative space and making me feel peaceful just looking at it.
Last weekend I happened to be back home in the Dales for my brother’s birthday. In between the celebrations, I managed to get out for a walk in the woods, a place I’ve visited many times and with which I’m sure even you are familiar with now.
I often talk about chance on this blog – the idea that when you are photographing the natural world, you really have very little control over what happens. Sometimes this can ruin what would otherwise be a great shoot – I can’t count the number of times I’ve been disappointed by a sudden rush of cloud – but on very rare occasions it can lead to something more beautiful than the image you already had in your head.
This is one such image. I was photographing the fallen tree anyway, the ice and snow glistening in the morning sun, but I had no idea this beautiful creature was going to come along and pose for me! It’s very easy to have something like this happen, and to simply discard it because it’s not what you previsualised. I feel like that would be a waste. Some of the most beautiful things in our world occur simply by chance.