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Winter Photographs: Quiet Beauty (Photograph Collection)

Stephanie is an enthusiastic amateur photographer who loves sharing tips and favorite images.

Peaceful Photographs of Winter Scenes

As the days grow shorter, light grows more scarce this time of year, as do the colors. Winter photography has a stark character unlike that of the other seasons. But its unique beauty can be captured in photographs that illustrate the cold, barren months.

The earth is sleeping. Often covered in a white blanket and decorated with ice crystals. It is a quiet beauty. Even bustling city streets get a hush when the snow falls.

Take out your camera and explore the quiet scenes along back roads, in the mountains, or perhaps even in your backyard. When the first snowflakes start to fall, you are certain to feel a child-like excitement!

All photographs in this hub are the property of Stephanie Hicks. Please contact me for permission to use.

Cold winter waters

Cold winter waters

Taking Winter Photographs

Taking winter photographs is an exercise in finding the right light. In many respects, winter is a more forgiving season than the spring, summer and even fall. Low light and the lack of overhead sunlight means that washed out colors are rarely a problem. On the other hand, glare can be exacerbated with the low angle of the sun at this time of year.

Overcast days are always your best bet. The natural filter yields the best lighting for your shots. Clear days offer a nice contrast of brilliant blue skies, white clouds and stark white snow. But I love those days that hang heavy and gray. They offer the best contrast for winter photographs.

If you are a novice, then just about any point and shoot camera will work. Hold your arms close into your body to minimize shake, which will increase sharpness. If you can afford a tripod, you will be able to get even more sharp, professional looking shots.  Otherwise, hold your elbows into your torso and/or brace your body against a building or tree to get the clearest photographs.

Snow dusted Ponderosa pines

Snow dusted Ponderosa pines

Frozen fog on tree branches (captured with my cell phone)

Frozen fog on tree branches (captured with my cell phone)

Winter Photograph Composition

Light has an important role in any photograph composition. During winter, there is less light, but more room for artistry.

Brilliant, overhead sunlight can wash out colors and leave distracting shadows. So, you can take advantage of favorable light during winter months.

Snow can either be the subject of, or a beautiful backdrop for, photographs. Its soft, forgiving texture, light and color is muted and comforting.

Looking for more snowflakes

Looking for more snowflakes

Winter on the Deschutes River, Oregon

Winter on the Deschutes River, Oregon

Things to Avoid When Taking Winter Photographs

Turn off the flash and use a slow shutter speed. You'll want to have a tripod on hand to prevent blurriness. If you use a flash, you'll get too much brightness and it will wash out the subject of your photograph.

Much like flash, bright sunshine can be a bit much on a snowy, winter day. The reflection of sun on snow may be harsh, or cause deep shadows. Overcast days usually work best for lighting when shooting photographs on a winter day. This is not to say you cannot take photos when the sun is out - its just a bit more difficult to get exposure correct.

Even street scenes look beautiful when covered in snow

Even street scenes look beautiful when covered in snow

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Snow on Central Oregon mountain ridges

Snow on Central Oregon mountain ridges

Evergreens turn white in winter

Evergreens turn white in winter

Subjects of Winter Photographs

Soft, white snow is beautiful, but when taking photographs, there should be a clear subject of your composition. Are you photographing your home? A big snowdrift? Maybe it's a snowy road.

Frame the subject accordingly, and be sure to avoid distracting elements like power lines, directional signs or fences - unless they are part of the scene you wish to depict.

Children playing in the snow is a popular subject of winter photographs. Animals are another great subject.

I enjoy taking close-up shots of tree branches and scenic landscapes including snow and rivers or lakes. Snow-covered mountains are also particularly beautiful.

Another popular subject of winter photographs is a shot that tells a story.  I took a few pictures during a recent cold blast here in Oregon.  Our patio furniture was left out and looked quite funny with 4 inches of snow on them.  I also shot the very cold looking dog bowls on our back porch.

Winter photographs can tell a story

Winter photographs can tell a story

Patio furniture left out into winter!

Patio furniture left out into winter!

A mountain lake in winter

A mountain lake in winter

Sierra Nevadas in California

Sierra Nevadas in California

Mule deer in January

Mule deer in January

Mt. Si in Washington State

Mt. Si in Washington State

Frosted branches after freezing fog

Frosted branches after freezing fog

© 2010 Stephanie Marshall


poetryman6969 on June 18, 2015:

I did not know that frozen fog was a thing. What a fascinating photo.

fidencio1 from Louisiana on November 26, 2011:

Great Pictures. Thanks for the tips.

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on November 14, 2011:

wow, u are quite the talented photographer!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 25, 2011:

Thanks manny and fossillady - I love the frozen fog photo too! Best, Steph

mannyrolando on January 25, 2011:

Beautiful pictures! The third one is my favorite, Frozen fog on tree branches. Thanks for sharing!

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on January 17, 2011:

Beautiful surprise at the end here. Very pretty photos

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 16, 2011:

Thank you ponx - hope you are enjoying the winter season. Best, Steph

Ponx from USA on January 15, 2011:

Very beautiful photos. I happened to take a few photos myself in my backyard and in and around my house. Does look truly magical with the snow.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 15, 2010:

Thank you oceans - we are blessed with amazing winter beauty here in Oregon! Cheers to you - Steph

Paula from The Midwest, USA on December 15, 2010:

Steph, Love all these pictures! I think I love the first two the most, but its very hard to pick. Great tips for taking pictures in the winter, thank you!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 12, 2010:

Hi SJerZGirl - thank you! There are many mule deer here in the Pacific Northwest, but its always great to see a herd of them standing right there on the edge of the forest!

SJerZGirl on December 12, 2010:

Love winter photos!! And, I haven't seen mule deer since I lived in Utah! These are great.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 11, 2010:

Hi Docmo - thank you! I will check out your photographs in your hubs, as well. Oregon is so pretty during winter. Its snowing again here right now! Cheers, Steph

Mohan Kumar from UK on December 11, 2010:

stunning pics- great ideas for winter photography- like you I have used several of my own photos on my hubs and its a great motivator for going out and taking pics. Really enjoyed this hub. I want to come to Oregon now...looks stunning!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2010:

Thank you Ann - I took a few more winter photographs yesterday. I'll have to add them to the hub too. Cheers, Steph

annmackiemiller on December 07, 2010:

beautiful photos - my favourite is the evergreens

ketchup101 from Philippines on December 06, 2010:

But we don't have winter as well as spring here in our country steph. I really wish I can visit some places with snow so I can take winter photographs like what you've published. That really inspired me. Thanks!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 05, 2010:

Hi ketchup - there is something to be said for the changing seasons. I must say I am always ready for spring, but right now is an excellent time for taking winter photographs!

ketchup101 from Philippines on December 05, 2010:

Oh..How I wish I can experience winter. I'm in a tropical country and i really really want to take winter photographs. But i love this hub! I just wonder when can I be able to do this (walk in a snow and take winter photographs) :)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 05, 2010:

Thank you katrina! I love taking winter photographs. Its cold and snowy outside here where I live today. :)

katrinasui on December 05, 2010:

Beautiful hub and the photographs you have used in this hub are stunning.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 04, 2010:

Thank you all - I do appreciate the comments on the winter photographs. We've had a ton of snow in my region recently and I'd love to get out and take more photographs. Busy holiday season... Cheers, Steph

Grandma's House on December 04, 2010:

That photo of your son looking upwards is so beautiful and I'm in totally in love with the one below, too. A new snowfall is always lovely but in the mountains or forest it's something different, bigger somehow. I really enjoyed your hub and I'm sure it has inspired many of us to get out there and capture the moment! Thank you!

Ultimate Hubber on December 04, 2010:

These are some really beautiful photos, but SOME of these could have been even more beautiful by changing some angles, distance. Just practice a bit and I am sure that you will become a pro soon.

Chris Montgomery from Irvine, CA on December 04, 2010:


Love the dog bowls!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Thanks SweetMarie - I love just getting outside and shooting photos with a digital camera. Today's models make it quite easy to get some great shots. Plus, no film means you can snap away and delete the photographs you don't like later. Best to you, Steph

Marie Landry from Ontario, Canada on December 02, 2010:

Wow, gorgeous photos! I love taking pictures and hope that someday soon I can afford a really good camera. I loved your tips for winter photography, I'm going to keep them in mind and head out on the next snowy day and see what kinds of pictures I can get. Thanks!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Thank you Rich and Audrey - I love winter too! Audrey, I hope you get better soon. Perfect weather for snowshoeing and sledding - get some more pictures of your adorable dogs! :)

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on December 02, 2010:

Lovely, Steph - I love winter especially here. I just wish at the moment I didn't have bronchitis. It is making me wish to get better so I can get up and get out snowshoeing and sledding!

richtwf on December 02, 2010:

An interesting hub with lots of beautiful photos. A good reason to go out in the snow rather than hole up inside where it's warm and cosy! Lovely hub and thanks for sharing. God bless and peace to you.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Hi Stephanie and Nell, thank you for stopping by the woods on a snowy evening... :) Cheers to you both, Steph

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

@justom - I don't necessarily respond to every comment I receive on my hubs. Nonetheless, I did publish your first two comments, but denied your last one. I didn't find your comments particularly helpful, even if critical, because you have not explained the basis for your position. Wish you well, Steph

Nell Rose from England on December 02, 2010:

Hi, steph, thank you for your info, and I loved the photos, you can certainly take a better picture than me! cheers nell

Stephanie Henkel from USA on December 02, 2010:

Hi Steph, Your hub reminded me of the beauty of winter that we miss when we "escape" to warmer climates. The light at dawn on an icy winter morning is magical. Oh, now I miss those -10° pink mornings of central New York! Thanks for a nice hub.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Thank you erthfrend - I agree! Winter is magical. Cheers to you this season.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Thanks Peggy - yes, that is my youngest son! It was taken a year ago after a big snowfall. I love winter!!

erthfrend from Florida on December 02, 2010:

Absolutely beautiful and wonderful advice! Thank you so much for sharing with us the magic of winter!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2010:

My favorite photo was the one of a child (yours?) looking up and trying to catch snowflakes. All of them captured the beauty of the season. There is nothing prettier than fresh fallen snow blanketing the earth. Voting this up and beautiful.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2010:

Thank you all - I do agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This hub is primarily a collection of winter photographs, with some tips on improving your (amateur) shots interspersed. Glad that you enjoyed it. Dahoglund, I hope that you can get back into photography notwithstanding vision problems. Cheers everyone, Steph

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on December 02, 2010:

up and beautiful. I am trying to renew an interest in photography that I lost when I had vision problems that interfered.

Micky Dee on December 02, 2010:

Awesomely useful and beautiful!

Sam from Tennessee on December 02, 2010:

voted up & beautiful! "beauty is in the eye of the beholder..." I think you did a wonderful job with the pix and the explanation...

ellacor on December 02, 2010:

These are just spectacular photographs. What a wonderful hub. Thank you.

justom from 41042 on December 01, 2010:

Sorry if my truth offended you and you're right, you don't have to be a pro to take good photos. I just think if you're going to give folks advice in how to take good pictures (and there are actual standards that make up a good photo)that yours should represent what you're talking about. I'm not trying to be mean spirited, just factual. Peace!! Tom

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2010:

Thanks Lily! I think winter is a beautiful time of year. You don't have to be a professional photographer to capture some lovely winter photographs. :)

Lily Rose from A Coast on December 01, 2010:

Well, I'm no photographer, so I have no idea what justom is talking about - I think the pictures are beautiful!

justom from 41042 on December 01, 2010:

Honestly, the advice you're giving is pretty good but I find the photos not very good. The composition, light use and contrast all seem to me to be off, Sorry if I sound harsh....but? Peace!! Tom

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2010:

Thank you so much Carrie!

carrie450 from Winnipeg, Canada on December 01, 2010:

Beautiful hub steph and stunning photography. rated up

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