Snow falling on elm trees

Posted by on 31. March 2015 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Snow falling on elm trees

With record high springtime temperatures in Saskatoon, it is easy to forget that not so long ago we had a few intense snow storms. Although, nothing like what friends in the Atlantic Canada had to deal with.

During one heavy snowfall, I took advantage of a lunch break to snap a few images on the University of Saskatchewan campus. It is tricky to capture small crystals so I decided to use a telephoto lens (200 mm) to compress the space and enhance the soft effect of falling snow flakes.

If you are familiar with the U of S campus, I walked around the Bowl until I found a nice location across the Biology building. I pointed the camera at a spot where elm trees created a compositional frame, and waited for an interesting subject (or subjects) to walk by. It was a quiet afternoon and it took a lot of patience to wait for someone wearing a brightly coloured jacket.


Students walk along the Bowl (University of Saskatchewan) during a snow storm.


If you are familiar with the colour theory, colours have certain intensity or “strength” value. Less intense colours (like blue or violet) have a calming effect. More intense colours (like red or yellow) are often used as highlights because they attract our attention. If you assign a numerical value to colour strength, yellow would have a value of 9, followed by an orange (8), red and green (6), blue (4), violet (3) etc. Conversely, the area needed to be covered by a particular colour to make up for the lack of strength shrinks from violet to yellow. Red or yellow are “strong” colours so they only need to appear in a small area of our image to attract attention. Hence, try to incorporate small patches of red or yellow within the frame to add some interest.


A student waring red jacket walks in a snow storm, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon


Once I had enough of playing with colours, I started looking for patterns and shapes in the landscape. The University of Saskatchewan, with numerous building graced by beautiful stone masonry, offers a perfect environment to practice your photography composition skills. Diagonal lines, curves, frames within frames, it is all there. Here is a sample photograph of a building near Place Riel.


Detail of a building at the University of Saskatchewan campus during a snow storm.


Next time bad weather comes your way, grab the camera and head outdoors – there are treasures to be found in those snowflakes falling on elm trees.


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