Sunday slides 14

snow blowing from branches against blue sky
Winter, 2008. Heavy snows tend to be rare events in North Carolina, and unlike the northern states we virtually never see a long period of them. This one was heavier than expected, thick and wet, and liberally covered everything, but the following day dawned bright and, not warm, but at least it got a start on clearing the snow from the asphalt surfaces of the road. Relieved from work by the conditions, I wandered out through the woods behind my place looking for something photogenic that wouldn’t require me risking my light sports car on questionable roads. I did that shit in New York and it’s one of the principle reasons why I left

The gusting wind would occasionally shift significant patches of snow from the branches, creating new mini-storms that would dump it across my hat and camera bag, and at one point I aimed the camera skyward to capture the clusters of flakes in motion. It was a rare set of conditions, since it’s not often that you have the bright light and blue sky to capture moving snow against, as you might imagine. An aperture of f22 on the Sigma 24-135mm allowed the motion to be seen without producing noticeable blur from camera shake – I would estimate the shutter speed around 1/15 to 1/30 second. Had I not captured a couple of distinctive individual clumps that provided short streaks against the sky, they might have been mistaken for thin cirrus clouds, so I got kinda lucky with the composition.

thick-piled snow on dense forest
The nature of the thick wet flakes falling with no breeze at all (during the storm at least) meant the snow piled high on the branches, picturesque but able to be dislodged easily, and I had to routinely stow the camera away that day to keep it dry from the snow constantly falling from the trees, sweeping it away every time I found a scene that I liked. After an hour, I looked like I’d been caught in a blizzard with snow even collected on my shoulders, much less the hat brim, and I’d had to clean the camera off multiple times. But that was little hardship for a collection of interesting photos. And I didn’t even have to travel for them.

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