Hoar Frost on the Wisconsin River

On a crisp clear winter morning, river fog coats trees with a fine hoar frost. Wisconsin River in the Village of Whiting. Click on the image for a larger image.

On a crisp clear winter morning, river fog coats trees with a fine hoar frost. Wisconsin River in the Village of Whiting. This a panoramic image constructed from five separate images. Click on the image for a larger version.

Capturing satisfying images during the winter is a challenge and always takes a little luck.

First there is the challenge of operating a camera in the bitter cold. Cold will severely reduce the usefulness of your battery.  I keep my camera in the house at night and then bring it out to the cold car already setup on my tripod in the morning.  I let the car warm up for about 10 minutes.  This allows the car and camera gear to slowly warm up. On really cold days, I take the battery out of the camera and keep it in an inside pocket.

Second is location. Nearly all of my winter locations have been scouted and pre-visualized months before when the weather is much warmer. Most of my images are captured early morning when temperatures are the coldest.  I simply do not have the luxury of leisurely scouting winter locations during image capture.

During scouting I look for locations near roadways.  Your car then can always serve as a portable warming hut.  I generally keep the car running, the driver window partially open and the doors unlocked.  I want to reduce/eliminate the possibility of locking myself out of the car or having trouble starting it. I look for locations near open water and scenes that will have color during the winter.

I believe your best images tend to be of locations that you have an emotional connection with or intimate knowledge of.  For me that means locations close to home. I do my best to schedule personal travel during times of the day best suited for image capture and then choose my route to drive by one of my pre-scouted locations.

Every once and while, I come upon a scene when the light and conditions are just right and I am lucky enough to get a satisfying image.  Yup, I get lucky.  As my Dad always told me, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Thanks Dad.

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