Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

Polarizing Spring Snow

We hear all the descriptions on the news. Spring snow is heavy, spring snow is wet, spring snow is miserable, and it should be gone. I would like to remind the media that spring snow is beautiful. And fleeting. This morning, every tree branch supported thousands of crystals. The landscape was white for one last time, but signs of spring abounded. The rivers were free of ice, the robins were singing, and a few crocuses were poking through the snowpack.

There are very few times in a winter that you can shoot waterfalls and snow simultaneously. Most of the winter in New England, the falls are choked with ice…but spring snow changes the game.

I had my eye on a little ledge called Tucker Brook Falls in Milford for a few years for just this type of spring storm, and was out the door early yesterday morning hoping the snow would hang in the trees until I got there. It did. Just barely.

As I got there, the wind was picking up, the snow was letting off, and the temperatures were rising above the critical mark. Snowbombs from the trees ruined every other shot, either by hitting my camera, or falling in front of it. I soaked through two terry cloth towels trying to make it work. Fortunately some shots did.

I spent a good part of the time yesterday experimenting with the my polarizing filter. This filter is one that can’t be reproduced digitally, and really adds to the pre-production value of digital photography. It’s good at taking glare off of water, which was in abundance yesterday. As an artist, I had to choose between a dark stream, or a light stream…as each conveyed a different mood. I was quite struck by the difference a 90 degree spin of the filter made to the shot. As an example, here are two pictures … one is completely un-polarized, the other fully.

Tucker Brook Falls - Unpolarized

Tucker Brook Falls - Unpolarized

Tucker Brook Falls - Polarized

Tucker Brook Falls - Polarized

Ultimately, I felt that leaning towards more polarized fit the spring mood better, but I left some glare in for both of my final shots.

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