With spring right around the corner, I thought this weekend I would go for a ride on the snowmobile and see if I could capture some good winter landscapes. Today was fairly warm, about 40 degrees with occasional rain and a gust of wind. I managed to get a few good shots before the weather really went downhill.
Gear taken on this trip
- Canon 40D
- Canon 24-105mm L glass lens
- Canon G10 (to record video)
- Gitzo 1325 tripod w/ Gitzo 1277m ball head (for the G10)
- Polaris Indy Lite 440 GT long track snowmobile
The G10 and snowmobile in action
My first objective was to get down the large hill on the snowmobile with out dropping any of the camera gear. After a few minutes of wrestling with my camera gear, I managed to get down the hill with my gear securely attached to me. As I reached the bottom of the hill, I cautiously drove up to a known area where deer usually are digging around for food. Sure enough, there were 6 deer. After recording a 45 second video clip of them staring at me, I slowly got off the snowmobile and walked towards the creek. For how warm it has been for the past few days, I was surprised at how much snow was still on the ground. At one point I took a step in the wrong direction and had snow past my knee! I almost dropped the G10 as I was walking due to that incident. My first stop was about 40 yards upstream from the snowmobile. For some reason, I was intrigued by a dead log laying over the creek. So what did I do? I walked right into the stream of course! However, the water was barley over my feet. I maneuvered around in about a 4 square foot area for a good bit of 10 minutes trying to find that perfect spot to get the shot. Once I found the spot that I thought would be perfect, I took about 12 shots. Every 2nd shot had a different exposure and zoom range so I could get a variety of images to pick from. Here is one of my favorite images from that set of images.
My favorite image from the creek
After a few minutes of trying to climb out of the creek, I made my way back to the snowmobile. By this time the weather was starting to deteriorate. More clouds were rolling in and it was starting to sprinkle outside. So I drove around a little bit more on the local trails to find an interesting subject to capture. *The method I usually use to capture images in an area I frequently visit, is to imagine that it is the first time I had ever been there. Most people know this feeling when they go on a trip and nearly everything seems interesting and photographable.* After 20 minutes of casually driving around, I decided to head back up the hill and drive into the hardwoods to capture an image of a dead standing tree. I had pre-visualized the image that I wanted to capture, but just had to find the right tree and had to be there at the right time. So I drove up the hill again, making sure my gear was securely fastened to my body. As I reached the top of the hill I saw darkness towards the west. I knew within a half an hour it would no longer be good conditions for photography.
I quickly drove across the road and into a snow slush covered field. As I came upon the end of the field (which was also the beginning the hardwoods) I noticed a dead tree. This tree was not like the usual dead hardwood I saw, this one had a unique quality. It had absolutely no branches left on it and all the bark fell off from the harsh winds and weather. Then I parked the snowmobile near a small pine tree and walked into the hardwoods to reach the tree that had caught my eye. At this time the wind was really picking up and was almost to the point where recording video was not possible (the wind overrode my voice so you couldn’t hear anything). But still I set up the G10 on the tripod and gave it a shot. The first time I tried recording my session of photographing the tree, I slipped on the wet snow. Quickly Immediately I jumped up and went to the G10 to hastily delete that embarrassing clip. Then round 2. I did the same thing, this time I made it to the bottom of the tree without slipping on the dreaded slush-snow. I laid down in the mud at the bottom of the tree and pointed my lens up the trunk of the dead hardwood. I took a few shots at F8, but I wanted less depth of field. So I took it down to F4. I had realized that this could very well be the image that I had pre-visualized before. After about 10 more shots (at this point the wind was nearly blowing me away), I finally had that shot.
The pre-visualized image
Even though the weather was not very cooperative, I still managed to have some fun and get some pretty good images. Although as I was editing my video journal that I made today as I was shooting, the program crashed. This time a permanent corruption message appeared. I was pretty upset, but in a few days I hope to buy a new video authoring program. The happiness I received from knowing that I had finally captured my pre-visualized dead hardwood image completely over-rode the sadness of the program crashing. All in all it was a good day. I hope you enjoyed this blog post! I look forward to posting more soon.