LOVE IS IN THE SNOW…
I love snow. I used to love looking out the window as a young child, watching the snow fall at night. Thinking about what clean part I will get up and run through the next morning. Back in my days (yes I’m old) we had proper snow. Snow that was cold, fluffy and it snowed real deep. None of this 1mm snow and the whole country comes to a grinding halt! It used to snow real good, and once I jumped in a pile of snow and found a fiver! Big money for a 9 year old back then. Kept jumping the whole day in hopes of finding more, alas I only got cold and wet and very ill thereafter. This one evening I was looking through some images to put up on the web site and noticed it was snowing. I wasn’t feeling too well and needed a break. That’s when my wife came and said its snowing, the type of snow you like, let’s take a picture, I want a picture in the snow. I looked at her and thought great idea, but it’s dark and cold. How am I going to capture this. I put my coat and boots on and decided to think a little about this shot. Wasn’t long that I remembered that I had some wedding umbrellas kept for this very moment. I kept them in the car in case it ever rained during a wedding. I wanted that perfect shot but didn’t want to spoil the moment and use the umbrella for the sake of using it. It just sat there for 5 years, and today I unwrapped it and finally used it. Was it worth it, well, you decide. What do you think, does this picture speak a thousand words? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
So how did i do it?
This shot wasn’t as hard as it may look, or as I thought. One of the first things that jumps out is the light and the umbrella. How was it lit? Many people have done this shot and lit it in different ways and achieved great results. It is what ever works for you. Here’s how I work. For most of my shoots I think about the reason for the image, the message, the composition and the technical. This all happens naturally and so quick it has become second nature. The trick is not to over complicate things. Don’t confuse this with not trying, that’s another ball game. You have to try what you think will work, and if it doesn’t, like it didn’t for me for the first shot, then try again in another way. You haven’t failed; you’ve noted another way of how it won’t work! (Edison and the bulb)
For me I had to think about how to capture the snow and be able to see it, the rest will fall into place. As it was dark and cold I didn’t want to waste too much time faffing around.
At first I placed the speed light in the front of my wife on the floor facing up into the umbrella with a grid, this didn’t work. It was out of focus and the light was all over the place. My wife has kindly asked me not to upload the image, so apologies but I cant show you it. The image really put me off and at this point I thought about leaving it, but I saw she really wanted the shot. My wife looked at me and gave me the look, you know the look they give you when you look the camera, as if to ask, was it a good shot? No, it was dreadful! I took a long peak and thought hard, and got the shot below. What changed? I moved the flash to the back behind her feet not too far and took the grid off. I left the snoot on. Bang! It was now 3 minutes in and we were getting cold. I continued to take more images of her until I was freezing and decided to head inside until she wanted one of both of us. I wasn’t in the mood and no one was there to take the image. How wrong was I. my wife ran inside and called my brother out. As it was all already set up I directed him on how to shoot the image. He took a good few until we were satisfied we got the shot.
Camera and flash setting:
The lens was the Canon 70-200mm IS USM II f/2.8 zoomed in at 170mm for the bokeh from the street lights and the compression of the narrow street. The flash power was on ¼ power zoomed in on approx. 120mm. Shutter speed was set to 1/80 for some ambient yet fast enough to freeze the snow. The ISO was 200.
The umbrella can be seen here. (it may not be the exact one but will do, i did buy mine 5 years ago!)
But then how could resist an image for myself!
I hope that has covered enough to get you going and try this for yourself. This will work with rain as well as snow, just be careful you don’t get your gear soaked! Feel free to ask any questions below and leave feedback and comments, and if this has inspired you then please share this on social media.
Neelam and Imran
PS. This image is very special for me. I never knew that the most amazing picture I wanted to capture was 5 years in the waiting and making. Yes it took me 5 minutes or so to take it, including set up, but the endless love and emotion is timeless. My most successful image is my wife and me, and she means my world to me. I’m happy I waited for the right moment to use the gear as I wanted. All I ever want, I’m looking right at her. When some one asks me what happiness is, I show them this image.