This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
420. Every season of the year has its own special features that invite the eamerist to work with his instrument. But the winter season is specially inviting because of the subtle charm of the winter landscape. Nobody who has not seen the hills in winter knows their real beauty and im-pressiveness. There is a charm and grandeur about them, when draped with snow, that must be seen to be appreciated. The valleys, too, have a weird attractiveness when buried beneath the snow drifts. The rocks and cliffs stand out boldly against the white background of the fields, while the mountain streams show an inky black flowing between the banks of snow.
421. The absence of color, perhaps, makes it possible to reproduce these winter landscapes more correctly with the camera than by any other method. But the great difficulty which arises is, how best to shun too great extremes of black and white in the picture. There should be gradations of tone. The blackness of the water should contain a suggestion of transparency, not a solid black, while the trees and rocks, though gray and really lighter in tone than the water, should give an impression of solidity. In brief, the picturing of snow is one of the most difficult feats of photography.
422. Snow and Frost Subjects afford a wide field of photographic work and are deserving of much more recognition than they usually receive. In the first place, the most striking results will be obtained when the snow scenes are taken in sunshine, and when possible the exposure should be made in the forenoon before 9:30 and in the afternoon after 2 o'clock, on account of the better light and longer shadows which prevail at these times.
423. Pay Strict Attention and notice the difference between sunlit snow scenes and those devoid of this important factor. The shadows also often play a very important part, from a pictorial standpoint. A delicate shadow-form will sometimes break up a most uninteresting foreground and prove to be a very important feature in the composition.
Subject Material. It is needless to say that work of this class must be done in the winter season, and you should always be prepared for snow and hoar-frost pictures. The scenes come so quickly and are gone so soon, that no time is left to go to the dealers for plates, or to clean up a camera that has been idle for some months. Your plate holders should always be loaded with plates, and if kept in the carrying case, or in any other safe place, you will find that they will remain in good condition for two or three months. The risk is small and the advantage of having your outfit always ready is great. Not only snow, frost and mist pictures are worthy of being photographed, but when the thaw comes, with the wet, sloppy roads and stormy skies, you will have subject material that deserves any amount of careful consideration.
A Country Road On An Early Morning. After a heavy hoar-frost has settled on the trees, shrubbery and fences, they present an exceptionally valuable and interesting subject from an artistic standpoint.
426. If you have, up to the present time, done very little at winter photography, many surprises are in store for you. Subjects which in summer are almost hopeless, will be found to provide telling pictures when clad in their winter garments. Take for instance, an ordinary hedge with a common field gate, covered with frost and snow, and open the gate at a picturesque angle. A simple subject like this in sunshine, or better still with a good winter sky, will often make quite an effective study. Each blade of grass is covered with soft white powder, and every bush is transfigured by it. Then, again, yon will find excellent material in white trees standing as sentinels over white fields; white woods standing on the breast of snow-clad hills; a rough roadway after a light fall of snow also presents a very attractive appearance (in such a subject make good use of the wheel ruts); reed-grown banks on ponds and streams; pastures with cattle and trees; snowdrifts in sunshine, and the hundreds of similar objects which will suggest themselves after you have made a few trips at the right time.