Kathleen Clemons is a New England based photographer, living on the beautiful coast of Maine. Primarily a nature photographer, she is known for her creative use of natural light and unique, stunning compositions, along with mastery of all things Lensbaby. Her work is represented by FogStock, ChromaZone Images, The Jaynes Gallery, Corbis and Getty Images. Below she talks to us about tips for shooting in the cold, wintery months.
Where and how do you find beautiful things to photograph in winter? Are there certain kinds of subject matter you seek out?
I truly believe that there is ALWAYS something to shoot. If I go more than a few days without photographing something, I start having withdrawal symptoms and only shooting can make them disappear! In winter, it’s a little tougher to “see” subjects, and it’s also a little harder physically. But – snow simplifies scenes, so lines and shapes in nature can be more apparent, and ice adds fabulous textures to surfaces so it’s well worth bundling up and getting outside.
In early winter, we often don’t have snow, but there are still wonderfully curled and dried leaves, berries and seeds and bare branches. I am drawn to curves in my photography, so the fantastic twists and curves of dried leaves are a favorite subject. Shooting early winter frost is always a favorite too.
Sometimes there is a wonderful “clash” of seasons created by an early snowfall in late fall, or a late season storm in early spring. I love shooting the contrasts in colors and textures those clashes provide.
If it’s just brutal outside here on the coast of Maine, I can always go to my stockpile of nature subjects to shoot inside, such as shells, rocks, seeds, leaves, feathers…I collect items year round and shoot them inside with available light when I can’t shoot outside. And of course, you can always shoot plants and flowers inside and I do that often in winter.
What technical tips can you share for shooting (with Lensbaby and other lenses) in the cold?
- If you are photographing snow, you need to remember to use +1 to +2 exposure compensation to get the snow white and not the gray your camera wants to make it.
- A spare battery is always a good idea as cold temperatures drain batteries rapidly.
- Shooting early in the morning or late in the day is great for capturing long shadow lines and shapes on snow covered ground.
- Early morning is best for shooting frost, especially early in the season.
- Look for contrasts in colors and textures, and pay close attention to lines too.
(photo above shot with Sweet 35 Optic)
Is there any special camera gear you bring with you on a cold wintry shoot?
I don’t go very far when shooting in the winter, most of my shots are taken on walks around my yard and neighborhood. So, I’m not lugging around lots of gear, usually just one lens.
Any specific clothing, gloves, or non-photographic gear that you find essential for shooting in comfort this time of year?
I wear two pairs of gloves when I shoot in the winter. The first is a pair of thin gloves, the second is a mitten/fingerless glove combo which I wear on top of the thin gloves, keeping the mitten part over my fingers in between shots. I also keep a spare battery and some hand warmers in my pocket.
Want to learn more about Kathleen’s Lensbaby photography and see more images? Check out our Pro Spotlight post too!