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“Let It Snow” – the video

Bighorn ram in snowstorm in Jackson Hole Wyoming (© Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture"/Daryl L. Hunter)

Bighorn ram in snowstorm in Jackson Hole Wyoming

Around Yellowstone, we get a plethora of foul weather and I love to photograph while the sky is leaking or threatening to do so.  Stormy weather often times is a photographer’s gift from above.

Winter offers a beauty that is at once spare, but stunning, when the thermometer reaches twenty below the atmospheric reaction to the cold is well worth recording. The air gets so crisp, the frost is so shiny; the ice fog creates a mysterious landscape on the valley floors. A landscape covered with a fresh blanket of snow is always a treat.

Those of us that brave the elements are rewarded with dramatic skies that enhance our subjects, snowflakes that add punch to our wildlife photos and overcast skies that remove harsh shadows improving the saturation of our photos. I love how the big fat snowflakes of fall and early winter photograph juxtapose against the browns and tans of the lifeless foliage of the autumn landscape. Photographs of heavy snow dumping on wildlife evokes empathy and awe from the viewer and engages them more in the photo.

Snow covered Grey Wolf, Yellowstone National Park (© Daryl L. Hunter - The Hole Picture/Daryl L. Hunter)

Snow covered Grey Wolf, Yellowstone National Park

Patience is important in inclement weather, as sometimes we need to let a rain or snow squall pass, or for passing clouds to rearrange into dramatic formations or for a hole to appear in the clouds to spotlight the landscape they all too often obscure.

Being prepared for bad weather is an important part of the process, but patience is the key to success. It is helpful to have either rain or snow gear depending on the season, and I have found umbrellas helpful in both the rain and snow for keeping the weather off my camera. There are a variety of camera jackets for protecting your camera as well. Lens hoods reduce the precipitation that reaches your lens, but I keep a soft cloth in my pocket for the weather that lands on my lens.

Winter storms present a perfect recipe for dramatic photography, bluebird days are beautiful for recreating but they rarely provide dramatic photographs. Often, the charm of inclement weather eludes us because of our aversion to discomfort, howling winds, pelting freezing rain, hail, finger-numbing temperatures certainly are a discouragement to many, but that just weeds out those unwilling to make the sacrifice of comfort.

Another added benefit: whenever everyone is whining about the dropping thermometer of autumn or the winter that has grown to long, I just smile knowingly and wait for the rewards of the next gift from above.

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