New Year Route 1 Blizzard

Happy Sunday!

They have already named this storm, a classic Nor’easter: the result of two storms, one from the west and one from the south, meeting along the mid-atlantic coast and tracking north into the Gulf of Maine, swinging out to sea, picking up moisture, and then swinging back toward land to dump snow deep on northern New England. I live well within the track of this one, almost exactly half way between US Rt 1 and the ocean, two miles inland. Snow has been falling off and on for two days. Today the heaviest fall is expected. With wind.

This shot is Parson’s Beach yesterday morning, while the storm was still off-shore and headed out to sea. About 3 inches had fallen and, as you see, we were still deep in the storm. By yesterday afternoon when I was out again  maybe two more had accumulated. The snow was just kind of crystallizing out of the air and drifting down. I wrote a haiku about it.

Not flakes, lazy, drift
snow crystallizes in still air…
settles, disappears

Towards the end of my walk it really began to snow. This morning there is between 8 inches and a foot on my deck, but it is blowing. I hope to get out for a few more shots during the day, if the roads are passable.

And this is, of course, nothing. In a serious Nor’easter, we can get 24 inches in 24 hours…sometimes more. But they named the storm anyway. The combination of the date, New Year’s Day, and the track, right up US Route 1, was, I guess, just to attractive to ignore. The weather service says a little pocket just north of us , around Bath Maine, will get that kind of snow from this storm.

Snow photography is always a challenge. You may see a P&S Landscape post on this subject in the near future. These shots were taken in dull light, as snow was still falling from a very low sky. I used Programmed auto, without adjustments, since, in my experience, it comes as close to a balanced exposure in this kind of light as I am likely to get. Then, back in Lightroom, I apply a bit of Recovery to bring out the texture of the snow (by toning down the highlighs), a touch of Fill Light for the underexposed dark areas of the scene (which includes most of the colors), and then I move the Blackpoint to the right to restore contrast and vividness. It is generally necessary by then to adjust either Exposure or Brightness to bring the whites up to a realistic level. Sounds like a lot of work, but in Lightroom it takes only seconds.

The alternative is to use exposure compensation in the camera, and, again, with my camera, I find that it produces images in which either 1)  the darks and colors are way more difficult to reclaim, or 2) the snow is totally blown out and has no texture at all. Programmed auto strikes a balance where I can almost always reclaim both extremes.

Additional processing: Added Clarity and Vibrance (needed to really bring out the snow texture and to give any color in the scene a fighting chance) and Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Winter Weather Kennebunk ME.

6 Responses to “1/3/2009”

  1. 01/03/2010 at 8:16 am

    Beautiful shots! I LOVE to see the snow pile up on the trees…but I don’t like it when it breaks the branches. Hopefully it won’t be too bad!!

  2. 2 Wendy H
    01/03/2010 at 9:09 am

    nice shots, lots of snow!

  3. 01/03/2010 at 2:30 pm

    Forest shot is great. jbuca

  4. 01/03/2010 at 4:06 pm

    I am really interested that you shot these in colour. My instinct would have been to go with the flow in a monochromatic landscape. You have squeezed every bit of colour out.

  5. 5 singraham
    01/03/2010 at 4:33 pm

    I am always drawn by the color that remains, even in a snowy landscape. It is not easy to maintain it, as exposures, as noted in the text, tend to turn dark green black, dark blue back, dark red black…but with a good base exposure and some post-processing, it is possible. B&W works for others, but I like to keep the color in.

  6. 01/05/2010 at 8:39 pm

    You’re SO lucky. I’d love to see that for myself. 🙂 I live in the wrong part of the U.S. Just lovely shots, Steve!

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