A selection of images ‘Exposed on Hartcliff Hill’ showing one of my favorite trees. This small beech tree stands alone beside a low dry stone wall, which provides a bit of shelter to the tree and to the low bench for walkers. Situated at the top of Hartcliff Hill, Penistone, it is rather exposed. One the day I took these images temperatures were below zero degrees centigrade and snow flurries were intermittent. The scramble to the top of the hill was a bit of an adventure with the deep snow making the path difficult to see (it’s hard to find even when there’s no snow), but was well worth the effort.
Exposed on Hartcliff Hill
The images were taken on my Canon 7D mk. 1 before I upgraded to the 5D with a standard 15-85mm EF-S kit lens. I obviously needed to take care of the camera in these conditions, a) because the camera and lens only had basic weather protection, and b) due to the extreme cold and the potential for condensation when moving between cold and warm environments. At the time I took these, the wind had eased off and it was quite pleasant for a while, that soon changed when the north-westerly wind picked up bringing another snow storm with it.
Exposing for snow
Exposing for snow normally requires the photographer to intentionally over expose the image; the camera assumes the world is grey and expects to meter for that. Shooting in RAW format and adding an extra 1/3 to 2/3 stops of exposure is normally enough to correct this. If it’s also sunny (it does happen, even in Yorkshire!) you may need to add even more correction.
I think the key thing with snow images is getting the balance right. There’s a fine line between the snow’s whiteness and retained detail. The type of snow can have a big impact on this too. The snow of this day was very fine and quite icy, meaning it fell quite evenly and didn’t have detail. Soft fluffy snow is so much nicer and a lot easier to photograph.
Royal Photographic Society LRPS submission
This image above formed part of my submission to the RPS for my successful LRPS accreditation. I was particularly taken by the shape of the tree from this angle with the few bare branches reaching out towards the edge of the frame. I also like the position of the bench and wall holding the frame together. The near whiteness of the image provides just enough context the understand the setting and remoteness.