Watery Portal Into A Mysterious Snowy World

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One of the things that has surprised me about living in Hannover is how little snow this part of Northern Germany has gotten this winter. I had hoped to take advantage of the fact that Hannover is located very far north to get some really cool nature photos of the city and surrounding areas blanketed in snow. As a point of comparison, Hannover is on the same latitude as parts of Alaska, so I thought my chances were good. However, I would estimate that we have had less than ten days of snow since the weather turned cold here, and none of that has stayed on the ground more than a few hours. Part of that is due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, without which most of Northern Europe would be largely uninhabited (or perhaps not), and part appears to be due to climate change. Our friends and neighbors say that white Christmases were a much more regular occurrence during their childhoods. So much for nature photos of beautiful wintry landscapes!

The upshot of all this is that I have had very few opportunities to work snow and ice into the nature photos that I’ve been taking. Last Saturday, however, we finally got some good luck. Heavy snow started falling in the early afternoon, and by the evening, a couple of inches had accumulated everywhere but the roads and sidewalks. Fortunately, we live in a more bucolic part of the city near the Altwarmbüchener See, so there are a lot of woodsy areas not far from our house.

Snowy landscapes can sometimes make photography challenging, because the white of the snow reflects so much of the ambient light. To counteract this, I decided to create some long-exposure night images. Once the sun set, I grabbed my Nikon D750, my Nikon 24-120mm lens (to get some nice wider angle shots) and a tripod (to keep the camera steady when taking the long exposures), and tromped through the snow into the woods. I took several different pictures from several different vantage points and returned home.

The images were lovely, but the “oomph” factor was largely missing. Until, that is, I had Anji take a look at them. She saw that one, in which some barren trees were reflected in a small stream, looked great when flipped upside-down so that the trees were oriented upward. Making that small change turned an ordinary shot of a snowy woods into a great image in which the stream looks like a portal into a secret world. This is just one of the advantages of being married to and working with a first-rate photo editor!

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