The light was not nearly as bold and dramatic as the picture above would lead you to believe. The bright light and shadows were there, but in a much more subtle way. As I watched my son trudge along in the snow, I saw potential in these subtle shadows. I saw a black and white image with lots of deep shadows and just enough highlights to bring out the glistening in the snow. I took the scene that lay before me, and mapped out a much simpler version in my head. All of this while positioning myself and preparing my settings in time to grab the shot before the moment was over. I saw his tracks leading toward the brighter area in the snow and waited until he left enough tracks to be an obvious subject in my photo. I was freelensing as well, so I tilted my lens and focal plane to line up with his footprints. Had I not already been freelensing, I don’t think I would have chosen to freelens this shot specifically, although as it usually does, it may have added a magical quality to it that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. When you’re in the middle of freelensing though, and an opportunity for a great shot comes along, you do your best to capture it that way, or risk missing the moment all together.
The picture above is a screenshot from some video footage I took on the same afternoon. This gives you an idea of what the light actually looked like.
This is the image as I shot it, the “sooc”, or straight out of camera. It is intentionally underexposed because I wanted to really retain the detail in the sparkling snow. I hate saying underexposed though in cases like this where it was done on purpose. It sounds like such a bad thing. Really, I was exposing my image the way I needed to, to get the desired results. I pulled the image into Photoshop and applied the usual black and white action, Homemade. Normally, this action is click and done for me, but because I was wanting to push this image a bit further, I made some adjustments to deepen the shadows and bring out the highlights. My youngest went from having his clothing and features visible, to a being a silhouette. The environment around him and his tracks in the snow, fell into the dark shadows. My vision came to life; a simple yet powerful black and white photograph.