5 Steps for EPIC Travel & Nature Photos of Bleak Winter Scenes (VIDEO)

by John Stapel

Winter landscape photography can be a serious challenge, with dreadful, uninviting weather and bleak, barren scenes devoid of color. But rather than stow you gear until conditions improve, take a look at the tutorial below and pick up a few tips for making truly epic images this time of year.

Landscape pro Mads Peter Iversen lives in Denmark, so he knows a lot about the vagaries of winter photography, and frankly this is his least favorite time to ply his trade. “Nature is basically dead in winter,” he explains, “but as a professional photographer I have to be able to shoot great images all year long.”

Fortunately for us, Iversen has developed a system for capturing compelling winter images, and in this episode a reveals five important steps for dealing with inclement weather, boring gray skies, and the lack of vegetation and color. Follow his advice and you’ll be surprised and what you can achieve.

Iversen begins with the rapidly changing weather you’re likely to confront during what he calls “the worst time of year.” He embraces poor conditions, because of the dramatic opportunities they provide, and he recommends going out shooting in freezing rain, sleet, and snow. It’s at those times, when the sun may temporarily break through, that you’ll fleetingly encounter magical light.

Iversen explains how he chooses winter subjects differently than he does when photographing vibrant fall colors, the fresh growth of spring, or during the inviting intermediate scenes of summer. To make barren winter landscapes more compelling, he tries to include colorful buildings or people within the frame. When that’s not possible he searches for strong foreground objects that will add interest to a scene.

You’ll also see how Iversen takes a different approach to composition this time of year, why he often employs different lenses in winter than he does during other seasons, and how a unique approach to exposure and other camera settings can be very important.

So the next time the weather look particularly unappealing, take Iversen’s advice: Grab your gear, dress up warmly, and get out there and make some magic of your own.

There’s much more to learn on Iversen’s YouTube channel and in another tutorial of his we posted recently, explaining how foregrounds can make or break landscape photos.