Here in Australia, the Snowy Mountains provides the only opportunity to photograph in snow, give or take the odd flutter in the Blue Mountains National Park or other higher ground in Victoria and New South Wales.
I lived in Germany from 1998-2002 and thought it a good opportunity to cool your summer a little and show some film images I took there. The snappy winter spell Europe is experiencing now would keep me on my (frozen) toes. I love the light of winter, the sun low on the horizon, shrouded in mist and cloud – a perfect diffuser.
For the pic above, I’m using my Zuiko f2 21mm, a beautiful prime lens – a rarity these days. I bought it secondhand and will hold on to it. To keep my OM lenses functional I’ve also purchased the Olympus OM system adaptor MF-1. Not ideal for this particular extreme wide-angle lens due to the 2 x factor of the four-thirds sensor (making it a 42 mm – almost standard lens), but great for experimentation with other larger focal length lenses. I enjoy the precision focusing and light weight of these top quality optics.
To achieve the very subtle exposure of the snow above, I took a spot reading off the soft, sunlit orange area – that, if perfectly exposed, I guessed would hold the pic (acceptable exposure across the rest of the scene). Getting an exposure that matches your impression without colour shifts (wrong white balance), blown out highlights (overexposure) and block shadow (under exposure) is essential to grasp. The restfulness and beauty of the scene above is captured exactly as I remember it. The OM4ti had multi-spot metering for complex lighting scenes if necessary.
So, chill out and, if the weather continues like it has this week, you’ll still be able to photograph fresh snow near Mt Kosciuszko as I hope to do in a few weeks over Christmas.
© Warren Field / 2010