Behind the Lens: Snow in the Mirror

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Snow in the Mirror

Exposure Data:
Two exposures: each 1/3 second, F/16, ISO 100
Nikon D610 Camera, Nikkor 24-70mm lens at 55mm

On an early February night in 2015, during my annual winter photography workshop, about two feet of fresh snow fell across the central Adirondacks. It made for some incredible scenery and, when our group snowshoed into the woods, some memorable shooting. Along the shore of Moss Lake, snow lay heaped onto pine saplings—my impetus for this image. I found I could position myself so that the little pines nicely framed the island, then realized that the “L” formation of the pines was mirrored by the island’s trees and bushes (an osprey nest is perched atop the singular, spindly tree). I also found an interesting textural contrast between the saplings and the background; the little pines, shielded from wind, stood still and consequently, are sharp in my final image, but blowing snow diffused the lake and the hillside. It also highlighted the island, lending a mystical feel.

As I was so close to the little pines, and the island so distant, I couldn’t maintain sharp focus in a single exposure, even at a small aperture. So I shot two—one focused on the saplings, the other on the island—and later focus stacked them in Photoshop. Now everything is in sharp focus… or, almost everything; and the soft hillside is a plus. I shot in color and converted the image to black and white in Photoshop. It didn’t require much; it was nearly monochromatic out there anyway. The conversion sharpened the contrast and added some snap.

Winter wonderlands of fresh powder abound with photo opportunities. And when they arise, strap on snowshoes or skis and venture off local roadways. You’ll find the pristine state of the untouched Adirondacks.


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. API has posted their 2020 workshop schedule, which includes Mark’s winter workshop, from February 9-12, and two night photography summer workshops. For the program descriptions and to register, see API’s website:

Special Note: Mark’s completely renovated website,, has launched! Explore new image galleries, and keep abreast of his workshops, presentations and product releases.

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