The forecast called for a healthy snowstorm over the weekend, so I spent much of last week daydreaming about some fantastic image I could make that captured the essence of winter on the prairie. I made my way to one of The Nature Conservancy’s preserves a few hours west of the Twin Cities, where the hardwood forests start grading into prairie savanna. It was snowing hard and windy, and while I had great visions of amazing compositions in my mind, I really struggled to capture something good given the conditions. I ended up with this one, and while I wasn’t very excited about it at first, it is starting to grow on me.
Sadly, an hour or so later, trying to pull off the road to examine another scene, I managed to get my Outback stuck in a snowdrift. I shoveled and shoveled but made little progress, and finally gave up to wait for another vehicle to pass to which I could attach my tow-strap. Outbacks (without aftermarket hitches) don’t have good attachment points for tow-straps, and my hacked attempt ended up bending the entire frame of the vehicle. It drives fine, but I can’t completely close the back hatch. This may end up being the most expensive image I’ve every made.
Type of Critique Requested
- Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
- Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
- Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
- Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.
Specific Feedback and Self-Critique
Somewhere there is a perfect winter prairie landscape, filled with fluffy flakes and dramatic rays of light, that captures the splendor of this place and this season. This one isn’t it! However, I hope it does capture some of the feel of what it is like to wander the Minnesota prairie when a winter storm descends. I’d love to hear your suggestions for alternative compositions and processing decisions.
I do wish that the shrubbery in the foreground had been more sparse so that the rolling hills were a bit less visually busy, but such is the way of the prairie/woodland interface.
376 mm f/16 at ISO 100 for 1/125 sec. It needed to be fast enough to freeze the branches in the stout breeze, but I wanted to still keep the sense of motion in the falling snow.
I did end up processing this as black and white (Nik Silver Efex Pro), but the original was so monotone that it didn’t make too much of a difference. Doing so just shifted some of the mute browns of the foreground shrubbery to grey.