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Snowstorm Tree

December 24, 2018. Christmas eve fast approaching. I’d been watching this tree for over a year, waiting for the time when conditions would be right and I was free to photograph. And now, with snow falling heavily, I felt it was time. I drove over, five to ten minutes from home, to see what was going on. It looked good, but the snowfall was not heavy enough to obscure the houses on the other side of the lake. I drove to friend’s house nearby to visit for a little and see how things developed.

Returning a half hour later, I saw that things had gotten no better, so I went to nearby Moore Park to see what I could find. After an hour or so there, the snow began to fall more heavily again as the day grew short. I returned to the tree to find that the scene was perfect, except that…

…there were some geese around the base of the tree! What was I going to do? There was a fence between me and the tree, so I couldn’t go chase them off. I tried yelling, to no avail. I gave up.

I drove the opposite direction from home, slowly, bemoaning my unfortunate luck. Running out of road, I turned back, deciding to take one last look as the light grew dimmer. By some miracle, they were gone! I quickly set up my tripod, aiming the lens of my camera through the barbed wire at the top of the fence. The snow was falling in clumps, and I hoped to freeze them into a dotted pattern in front of the tree. But the light was low, requiring a long enough shutter speed that the falling clumps were blurred in the photographs I was getting.

Then it hit me – up the ISO, you dummy! (For any non-photographers, this means making the sensor of the camera more sensitive to light, so that it is better able to “see” in low light.) I did so, and noted that it gave me the desired effect. I made a number of exposures as it grew dark, and I later picked out the best of them, which you see above. Merry Christmas!

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