Snow and Clear Air

Clear, cold winter air and a road stretching north from the Connecticut-Massachusetts border makes a lovely entrance to the Berkshires. A photogenic dusting of snow doesn’t hurt, either.

This is an example of perfect timing—as much as I like to take winter pictures, quadcopter drones like neither snow nor extremely low temperatures. Early in the season, however, there are lucky days like this one where snow is immediately followed by clear skies and above-freezing temperatures that give me a tiny window in which to capture the winter.

Snow and Clear Air

House on the Frozen Lake

The northeastern US has been gripped by severe and hardened cold. Consider, for a moment, how much colder 20 ºF feels than 60 ºF. Imagine that difference projected past its original low point, out the other side to -20 ºF. After past winter temperatures like these, I can attest that the return to “normal” winter really does feel 40 ºF warmer. The rivers and lakes are freezing. The snow is a dry powder, dozens of degrees below its melting point. A warm home above the frozen waters sounds pretty inviting.

House on the Frozen Lake

Salisbury After the Storm

Winter arrived in the Northeast with maximum attitude: from 66ºF on Saturday morning to a full-on blizzard by Sunday. In Salisbury, CT, home of ski jumps and wood-lined hotel bars, we got to experience the odd dynamic of watching Porsche and Mercedes SUVs claw through the snow. The classic White Hart hotel was looking its best.

I tested my DJI Phantom 3 Advanced in the post-storm conditions. Almost-freezing, windy conditions didn’t have an impact on its flight performance, but the gimbal didn’t seem too thrilled. Some of its smooth elegance was lost… Or maybe it was just the wind.

Salisbury After the Storm

Edge of the Big Forest

In this particular corner of Connecticut in early spring, the rain and snow combined to make the perfect storybook fog. This image is so quaint and charming, I could swear I’d seen it somewhere before.

But this brings me to another idea: those particular locations in landscape photography so scenic that they are literally ubiquitous. Take the tunnel view in Yosemite, or shots of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands, or downtown Manhattan as seen from the top of Rockafeller Center as examples: is it even possible to make an original composition from such a photographically saturated place? But these places are also photographically saturated for a reason: they’re really, really pretty. Where does that trade-off between originality and beauty fall?

Edge of the Big Forest

Melting Landscape

When the crust of winter slides off the landscape, the points and lines of the resting geometry beneath are exposed on foggy days like these. In Duchess County, where Connecticut meets New York, the density of the post-winter effect is damp. It has its own beauty, apart from snow-blasted winters or verdant summers. (And by contrast, this “melt season” represents a major chunk of the North Country’s spring attitude.)

Melting Landscape