"Sun Worshippers"

Picture story

The making of: "Sun Worshippers"

There's a line in one of my favorite movies that makes me chuckle everytime I think of it.

In Quentin Tarantino's World War II action movie “Inglorious Bastards,” Brad Pitt's character, Lt. Aldo Raine, is about to fight the Germans in the basement of a tavern.

“Fighting in a basement offers a lot of difficulties,” Raine snarls, “No. 1 is that you are fighting in a basement.”

Well, Captain Obvious, the same can be said about landscape photography in winter....the trouble with shooting landscapes in the winter is that... you are shooting landscapes in the winter.

Despite Aldo Raine's protests, embracing the situation can be a good thing. Here's why.

Landscape photography usually requires a modicum of hiking, and as much as I love the outdoors, hiking in the snow—especially wearing a 10-pound backpack and carrying a camera mounted on a tripod—can be infinitely more challenging.

It also requires braving cold, often freezing cold tempeatures, while twisting dials on the camera and peering through a view finder or staring at an LED screen.

I mitigated those issues this winter with apair of wool mittens with cutouts at the fingers and a pair of heavy snowpants that keep my bottom half warm while making me look like the Pillsbury Doughboy 

Those accoutrements came in handy on the bitter cold day on which made “Sun Worshippers” a recent addition  to my website. 

Even with the appropriate winterware, getting out to Independence Grove in Libertyville from a warm house was a push. Most every fiber of my body was screaming “stay inside,” but I had promised myself that, unlike last winter, I would brave the elements to see what winter shooting would bring.

Trudging through the snow in the late afternoon, the sun was setting in the cloudless sky, when I noticed two people playing in the snow near the shore of the lake.. If you follow my work, you may have noticed that I usually don't include people or animals in my images; I'm drawn to the beauty of the natural world and, to be honest, people usually spoil that beauty.

But in this case, these two folks added a nice, extra element to the scene; bent over appearing to draw or make a small snowman in the snow.

But instead of zooming in and making the image about them, I pulled back to use the tree and the jewel-like sun against the blue sky to complete the composition.

It all works beautifully for me; I'm happy to have ignored the basement lament of Lt. Aldo Rein and instead embraced the winter elements.

Purchase information on "Sunworshippers" is available through my website: contact me by clicking the "Contact Me" button on the home page.

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