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As a rule Louisville doesn’t get a lot of snow and this winter has been one where we have had maybe 5 or 6 snows. The weather here has changed a great deal from when I was a boy growing up here in the 1950s. Back then we would get really cold winters with snow from November thru April. We could go sledding for days on end and once the snows fell they stayed around for a long time. That has all changed in the past 10 or 15 years and now we seldom have a snow that stays around more than a few days.
Last Wednesday we had snow showers in the morning and by afternoon the temperature was back in the mid 40s. I was in town visiting at my friend Chuck Rubin’s used camera store when I looked outside to see a heavy wet snow falling. I jumped at a chance to photograph Waterfront Park in the snow and immediately headed down to the park. I decided to shoot from the Big Four Bridge, (I’m sure everyone who reads this blog is surprised to hear that LOL), since the snow was really coming down and was covering the ground quickly. Later that afternoon the temperature was back in the upper 40s and the snow was gone as quickly as it arrived
I shot everything in bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV so that I could process them as HDR images. The light was fairly bright so I kept my ISO set at 200 which resulted in fairly fast shutter speeds. The snow was so dense that it rendered itself in gray tones and bright highlights much as clouds do when the sun is in and out. I used NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge the frames and created a couple of my own presets starting with the Deep #2 preset as my basis. I was able then to move through the several merged sets in a little less time than trying to adjust each merged set individually. Even with that I still had to make adjustments to my preset depending on the balance of light and dark in the individual HDR images.
After completing my initial processing in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2; I opened each one in Aperture 3 where I completed the adjustments for exposure, contrast, detail, vibrance, and sharpening. I also did a small amount of spot removal where individual snowflakes rendered themselves as sensor spots sometimes do. I did not attempt to remove every snowflake’s shadow from the sky because part of what I wanted to convey was how large and dense they were.
Below you will find more from that day’s photo shoot. I hope you enjoy them and will comment where you think appropriate. I converted some of the images to black and white after merging them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a different version that was more about contrast and form than color.
33 thoughts on “Snowy Day in Waterfront Park”
Great pics of the Big4 w/ snow falling Nick! Love the “Deck #” photos the best. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Brian I hope I haven’t overdone it with so many images in one post but I was on a roll when I started processing them last night and this morning.
Beautiful, I really loved them/
Thanks Reba glad you like them.
Incredible captures! I love the starkness and movement in your photos, great job and I am a new fan!
Thank you Patricia I’ve been following your work too. I’m honored that you like mine enough to comment.
Really? That means a lot to a rookie! Give me goose bumps… I mean that in a respectful way.
Have a good one and see you around. Any comments you might have would be welcomed in my learning process. Thanks!
Stunning! Snow is incredibly difficult to capture & you nailed it. The fog in Solitary Snow Runner; the metal rust against the slick wetness against the “Deck” series; the soft flakes of snow against the powerful strength of the bridge’s supports are amazing. The range in these images is spectacular. The B&Ws are quite arresting! WOW!!
Thank you so much for the kind words Ellen. I really appreciate your comments and descriptions of what draws you to my work. I consider it very high praise to be recognized by someone of your stature in the art world of New York.
I too like the contrast of the texture of the steel with the slickness of the wet deck. I’m finding myself drawn more and more to using black and white to show the strength and structure of this bridge. By combining the HDR image with black and white processing I’m revealing the strong contrast and detail I enjoy.
I understand your inspiration because of rear snow. The same feeling I have from my childhood with lot of snow and freeze. This is why your snow pictures are so appreciated. Nicely done. The most impressive for me is the first one: “Towhead Island in the Snow”. But the Big 4 is amazing in the snow too.
Thank you Lautal. I too am very fond of the Towhead Island shot, I like the painterly quality that the snow falling gives it. Thank you for taking time to comment; I truly appreciate getting feedback from my viewers.
My favorite is of the solitary runner
Thank you Blanche I lucked into that shot, he ran into the frame as I was shooting and I grabbed him as soon as I saw him.
Snow on Deck #5 is my favorite. Is that stitched together, or is it panorama equipment?
Actually it is simply a matter of cropping for the panoramic format. By emphasizing the aspect ratio I was able to get the vision I had for the image. I do shoot panoramas though; when I do so I stitch them in Photoshop CS5. The header image on my blog is a three frame panorama taken on the Bonneville Salt Flats and stitched in Photoshop CS5.
Couldn’t help to notice in your narrative the amount of computer-based tweaking required to produce these images.
I bemoan the loss of “straight” photography when a photographer’s instincts, eye for design and knowledge of his/her equipment were keys to good photography.
Seems now if you don’t have a computer in your camera bag, you are ill-equipped.
Sad but sign of these times…..
Actually the idea of “straight” photography is misleading. Nearly every image you have ever seen has been finessed somewhere along the line. With film it was done in the chemistry and darkroom manipulation such as dodging and burning.
The need for knowledge of the role of the camera hasn’t really changed; one still needs to understand the correlation of aperture and shutter speed to capture a good exposure. What has changed are the tools used to attain the wide dynamic range and clarity that digital cameras are capable of. Photography today is a system of both camera and computer vs the days of film and chemistry. I don’t see it as sad any more than it is sad that we no longer have to rely on tintype processing.
The goal of a photographer is to render the subject in a way that completes the photographer’s vision regardless of what process he chooses to use. I am fairly certain that were he alive today Ansel Adams would embrace digital technology since his goal was to create art, using his camera and his skills in the darkroom, just as those of us today do with digital imaging.
Don’t get me wrong, despite years of “souping” film and prints, dipping stainless steel reels in Ektachrome chemistry, and committing hand-of-God dodging and burning, I too have embraced digital imaging while working as a photojournalist for Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper (1984-88, 1998-2003).
I’m trying to illustrate that today’s photography is a long hue and cry from conventional imaging decades ago that mandated a lifelong appreciation of what light can do without heavily tweaking (or fooling?) viewers and producing suitable images using computers.
Maybe in my old age (66) I’m yearning for simpler times. Then again, I’m still holding out I’ll hit the Powerball too.
Beautiful work, as always, Nick! I love the B&Ws.
Thanks Lauren I’m enjoying the experimentation with B&W for this subject matter.
An exceptional series, Nick. The colour ones are beautifully painterly (I love those tones) and the black and white are like detailed drawings or printmaking. Fantastic art!
Thanks Karen, I like that the color images have a soft painterly feel to them too. For some reason that I can’t put my finger on the Towhead Island shot keeps reminding me a a Turner painting. Thanks for the kind words about the B&W images too.
Love each and every one! Great composition and textures…just wonderful!!
Thank you Phyllis.
Somehow, I missed when you posted these. Very impressive!
You may have missed these because I’ve been a little lax about posting. I try to make a daily post but sometimes I am into something that takes me away from my desk and I don’t like trying to post from my iPad or iPhone.
Snow on Deck #5 is my favorite of this series.
Glad to hear you like it. I’m also happy that you took the time to comment. Thank you.
Good morning Nick, I have added a link to your Blog on mine under a category of “Blogs that i Follow.” I hope you will considering doing the same. Best, Lauren
I’d be honored to include your blog on my list as well. Thanks.
Thank you, my friend!!
Beautiful photographs, Nick! I especially like the curves in Snowy Ramp and the color and the luminescent quality in Snow on Deck #5.
Thanks Richard that’s what I was trying to accomplish with both those images.