Winter photos on overcast days

On a sunny winter day there can be so much dynamic range in a scene that you may decide to use HDR techniques to reduce it. Even then you may end up with a lot of washed out white and noisy shadows. And the heavy contrast of brilliant snow and dark shadows may be just a big distraction from the real subject.

I’d rather shoot on an overcast day, and in black and white. The dynamic range is initially less, but can be enhanced by adjusting the histogram endpoints, the end result being – to my eye – a scene with more detail – that also feels cold.

Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota

And often the real interest in a winter photo isn’t the glaring ice and snow, but the shadowy, frozen details.

Winter can be long and difficult here in Minnesota, and one thing I like to get across in a photo is that people here adapt to the cold and just keeping doing what needs to be done. That stoic, matter-of-fact attitude seems to come across best on a gray day with snow blowing around.

The Green Line heads down 5th Street in Minneapolis.

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