Same location… close to home… different looks

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Thierry Resin

I love travel photography, but I am equally motivated to shoot at locations just down the road. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful country, Switzerland, but I believe there are great photo subjects all around you, no matter where you are.

I took the following three images at a favorite location, not far from my home in Switzerland. Although they were taken not too far apart, I think they illustrate some of the many faces of winter in my area.


In this image, the sky was grey and the clouds very low. The temperature was not low enough to freeze the water. I felt the mood was very special. I just had to move some unsightly branches and position my camera and tripod as low as possible, to enhance the perspective. I didn’t want this image to be monochrome, so I put my Singh-Ray neutral polarizer on my 16-35mm lens to help make the colors richer.

Balancing the luminosity between the sky and the foreground would not have been a lot of work on the computer, but to reduce my post processing work, I also used my 2-stop Galen Rowell soft-step graduated neutral density filter. Using Live View makes this much easier for me.


Three days later, I took this shot, under very different conditions. The temperature was low and the lake was frozen. I went to the same place as before and found these surprising shapes on the ice. The photo was already in my mind!

The cloudy weather was not so interesting, so this time I wanted more of a monochrome image. The camera, again with my 16-35mm lens, was positioned quite high this time, to better show these wonderful shapes. The wide angle let me include the mountain in the background, too. To balance out the contrast between the foreground and background, I handheld my Singh-Ray 3-stop, soft-edge Rowell neutral grad filter in front of the lens.


For the last image, at the same spot as before, the lake was only partially frozen. I was fortunate to discover this great surprise – snow “flower” where the snow and ice had melted. I knew I had found my subject.

As for the first shot, I set up my camera and tripod relatively low, with my 24-70mm lens – and this time with my 3-stop hard-edge Rowell grad to help me achieve a good balance between the foreground and background.

Three different days, not too far apart, at the same location near my home, in weather conditions that might not encourage one to go out and shoot. And three completely different looks and moods. I believe in being receptive and curious with my photography – and in always bringing my camera gear – and filters!  For each of these images, my Singh-Ray polarizers and grads were indispensable in helping me achieve the best possible results. They always have a place in my backpack, no matter where I go.

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