A Canadian winter is both stunningly beautiful and photographically challenging. Don't get me wrong, there's no shortage of snow and ice formations but the whole landscape is snow and ice, combined with the length of winter it means we're looking at whiteout for a number of months.
As winter wears on and we've shot the methane bubbles in the lakes, cracks in the ice, ice formations as foreground objects, then as background objects, sunrise over ice, sunset over ice; eventually the landscapes start to get a bit repetitive. It's now three months into winter and I'm beginning to see the repetition creeping in so I challenged myself to try a little harder.
I think sometimes it's all so beautiful we subconsciously stop making images and switch to taking images. I was on the northern corner of lower kananaskis lake doing just that when I spotted a beautiful snow drift just a little way out on the ice. I really liked the look of the drift and made my way out there being careful not to walk anywhere that I might want to include in the shot.
I chose my shooting position to take advantage of a nice leading line that swept up the drift from the lake. I didn't like the mountains being visible above the drift on the left side so I crouched lower and tilted the camera to create an in shot frame using the drifts on the left and right. The splash of colour in direct sunlight beyond the drift really makes this a winner for me.
This is one of my favourite shots of winter so far, seemingly so simple and yet it was actually one of the more challenging images I've made this winter. It may be my love of clean and simple shots that sways me to favor this image and you may find it ordinary, but isn't that part of the joy of photography. We put our work out there because we value it and we risk all as the keyboard warriors take great pains to tell you why the image you love is terrible in every way.
The key to success (and perhaps sanity) is to welcome all criticism but not to accept it blindly. Look at what is said and evaluate it honestly, take the valuable criticism on board and leave the rest where it belongs, in the gutter. Most of all enjoy what you do, shoot for yourself when you can, or for the client when you're being paid. Never shoot for the keyboard warriors, you'll never convince them of the value of your work because that's not why they're angrily slamming the keyboard in the first place.
Enjoy your shooting and remember to keep making, rather than taking, your images.
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