As a photographer, I am always interested in light. So it might seem strange that I love the winter, because it tends to be dark and grim, at least in the UK. However the quality of light at this time of year can be absolutely magical. We all know of the golden hour near sunset and sunrise, when the light is warmer and more gentle, lighting subjects from a low angle.
However in winter in the UK, the light is always coming from a low angle because the sun never gets very high in the sky – and while it may not have the intoxicating warmth of a summer evening, it does have a lovely gentle and watery quality that simply isn’t available at any other time of year.
As well as a low angle and gentle watery quality, winter light is also enhanced by the cold weather bringing mist, frost and occasional snow. The other day I was privileged to walk round the woods at just the right time of day. There had been a very heavy overnight frost which was melting in the sunshine, adding water vapour and mist to the sense of wonder. There was also mist rising from the ponds and canal and settling in the flood plain where the woods are situated.
So we have the wonderful quality and angle of the light, frost, mist and the wonderful bonus of the trees without leaves. The form of the trees can be clearly seen at this time of year too. In summer, all is lost in the confusion of leaves, but right now, you can see every detail, every shape. The shadows also have much more form than in summer. The combination of light and form is quite intoxicating. The beauty gives me a squeezy feeling in my stomach.
I took a series of landscape shots as I walked round, trying to capture that squeezy feeling – the mystical beauty of mist, light and trees. You don’t get the mystical winter light every day, but when you do, it can take your breath away.