There is a stark beauty about cold winter days. The crisp dry air brings out the intensity of blues and gold’s like none other I know. Then there are the long shadows contrasting against the unblemished and glittering snow. If one is fortunate to have a winding stream flowing through then the visual scene becomes further enhanced as the rippled reflections of sky and woods add a finishing touch. Tracks of rabbit, fox and a meandering mink are all that break the utter purity of the riverside landscape. Minus any signs of human encroachment, the scene is untainted.
Of course there are two other constants; it’s cold and of course the wind is raw. Still, as I drove by the open waters of the river it only took a couple of seconds for me to slow down and turn back. The factors of slightly above zero temperature and northwest wind were present but not really felt initially. The splendor of the late afternoon scene had my attention now. A few shots were made to test the light and the amount ND filter I would use in order to maintain an f/16 aperture and a fast enough shutter speed to daunt the effects of wind and shivers. The challenge was catching that spot in time when the grasses fluttered but retained an overall sharpness. As much as I tried, the multitude of small tree branches broke up most of the sun star effect I desired along with the grasses. However, the capture maintained the contrasts of shadows and gold that I was after. After a few more clicks, one more look over the scene and a smile I forced my numb fingers back into the frozen glove and hustled back to a warm car. Shadows and gold; it was worth it.