Living on the south coast of England means we tend not to have cold winters. We tend to have mild wet ones. That means a period of very cold weather is something of a treat for photographers.
Unusually, we have just had a week of very cold weather here, as a high pressure stalled over Russia, blocking the usual progress of the Atlantic lows that bring the frequent wet cycles our way. Add to that another high pressure to the north west and we get a blast of cold air coming down from the Arctic; result a period of sub-zero temperatures.
So last weekend, I thought I should take advantage and head down to the New Forest to try to capture this unusual (for us) weather. I left just before the sun rose and got there as dawn broke. It was chilly to say the least, but it was beautiful.
As usual I wandered around the woodland trying to find a composition, and I had limited time on this day. Under the trees the frost had not really taken hold, but in the open areas at the end of the wood there was a very deep hoar frost. The bracken shot below was taken here.
My first attempt at this shot didn’t go too well. I tried to capture it using my favourite stacking capture software, Helicon Remote. However, whilst that is exceptionally accurate, it is relatively slow. By the time it was half way through the capture, the sun had moved and was melting the frost.
So i used an alternative method after finding another subject. This time I focused on the nearest part of the frond and set the correct exposure. I then took a continuous series of images, turning the focus ring slowly as they went, until I had captured the entire depth.
I took a few scenic shots too. This one was side lit by the rising sun, and where the sun had hit the trees, the frost had melted, leaving the bracken in the foreground, which was in shadow, white and frosted.
The final shot was directly at the sun, just to add to the fun and complexity. This area was within a fenced off area, meaning composition options were limited as I was shooting through a wire fence. To make sure it was as good as I could get, I bracketed the exposure.