Behind the Lens: Snow on the Boreas River

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Fresh Snow on the Boreas River

Exposure Data:
Approximately 1/30 sec, f/16, ISO 100
Fuji G617 Panoramic Camera, Fujinon 105mm lens, Fujichrome Velvia 100 film.

This signature image of fresh snowfall decorating trees along the Boreas River in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it idyllic, it reminds me that, in winter, varying meteorological conditions often conspire to create magical imagery. Blanketing snows followed by blue-sky days create a winter wonderland.

The art of seeing lies in the power of observation, and imagining the possibilities. In winter, similarly idyllic scenes can happen at twilight, when the soft blues of the sky are reflected on pristine snow-covered landscapes. Day or night, when wind blows the snow off the trees, our long exposures can capture it as cascading “waterfalls.” Winds also sculpt snow drifts into sinuous patterns, which make strong foregrounds, accentuated by getting close with wide-angle lenses. Severe icing of previously open lakes and rivers produces fantastical ice formations, compelling targets for macro work. And I’m sure you’ve seen what happens when fresh snow melts some in daylight, then is quickly frozen by plummeting nighttime temperatures. The hard crust takes on a sheen that reflects moonlight and colorful Christmas lights, evocative of holiday greeting cards.

The seasonal pursuit of creative imagery can be a life-long endeavor. And this is a season of possibilities. Watch intently what weather does to the winter landscape. Then get out there, and use the camera, snowshoes and skis to explore. Happy New Year!

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations for conferences, camera clubs and other groups. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute, which has scheduled a full slate of workshops for 2018.  Mark’s annual Adirondack winter workshop is January 28th-31st. For details on all the workshops see For more on Mark’s work, visit Note: Mark’s e-mail address has been changed to, effective now.

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