The First Snowfall with the Monochrom

Admittedly, I live in the south.   But, I grew up in the mountains and I love a good snow in the winter.  I would not call our first snowfall ‘good’, but some is better than none for photography!  The snow started very late in the day and was a very fine misty powder.  The windchill was in the teens and the snow was very slow to accumulate.  As I left the office I snapped a few to get texture of the granules on the sidewalk.  Someone started down the walk presumably on their way to the parking deck to go home.  Her demeanor fits with the weather and wind chill.  Not many of us were out at that time…

The First Snow - Going Home - Monochrom and Summilux 50mm.

The First Snow – Going Home – Monochrom and Summilux 50mm.

I am not a street photographer by trade and landscape photographers have much more time to think and compose.  My goal this year was to spend more time taking in the life on Main Street in Old Town, Rock Hill.  I really enjoy working on main street in this great South Carolina town.  So, my thinking as she was walking towards me was that I wanted her in the down lights from the overhang in the York County Chamber building.  It lights up the sidewalk where everything else is dark and grey.  I wanted the contrast of her dark coat and the bright sidewalk, not normal for evening time.

Well, thinking fast is no problem.  Focus and exposure is more difficult.  I quickly focused on the lamp post and waited.  My exposure was already set as I had taken the picture below first.  Typical for me.  Landscape (streetscape) using a wide-open aperture to keep the depth of field narrow.  I don’t remember what I used here, but I believe I ramped it up to an f-stop of 2.8, maybe 2.0, but certainly not more than that.

The First Snow - Accumulation - using a Monochrom and Summilux 50mm.

The First Snow – Accumulation – using a Monochrom and Summilux 50mm.

I stepped back 5 or 6 paces and I took two images in succession, focusing closer as she walked.  In the second image she is closer, and thus larger in the image, but I had several problems with it.  My focus wasn’t dead on, it was behind her.  I also did not pay attention to her feet and the mid-step from the back was not very forward moving.  So, technical issues aside, one thing I really like about this image is her shadow in front.  This is caused by overhead lights and again, is not natural for evening time.

I also like her coat and hat.  It feels like it’s out of history and earlier time.  The lamp posts here and the sidewalk are older as are many of the buildings on main street.  Mine is an old hardware store and I have photographs of it with model T’s lining the street.  The cars parked on the street here are obviously modern, so I like the contrast.  Old and new.  Dark and Light.  Bright and somber.  It seems to fit with the idea of working all day, and then going home.

This seems to be the point of Leica photography, from my point of view.

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