Five Reasons Winter Photography is Attractive

I paid hundreds of dollars to attend my first photography workshop last February along the North Shorein Minnesota. I spent five days walking and sitting on ice, capturing ice, while my entire face but notably my eyebrows and beard, were completely transformed into icicles.

Ice here, ice there, ice everywhere, baby.

It might be safe to say that winter in Minnesota is my favorite season to photograph landscapes and nature, rivaling the popular autumn. Read my five top reasons for enjoying winter photography below!

1) Stillness

I don’t need to travel to a lost wilderness to understand the stillness winter brings. One of my favorite moments all year is after a heavy snowfall when a light snow lingers. The smooth, undisturbed blankets of snow contour intriguingly over the land, sparkling in pleasing ways to the eye. And it’s quiet. Many sounds are muffled. It’s like the earth has gone to sleep.  Even in the city, the effect is easily observed.

Winter Scale

2) Introvert, I am.

As an introvert who likes to recharge in nature’s solitude, winter is the perfect time to getaway from social occasions in life. I’ve been able to shoot during the morning when most people work. Even if they don’t work, frigid temperatures and icy roads dissuade much of the summer travelers. Therefore, I can take my time, exploring angles and details at my pace without worry of another disturbing a moment or being in my photograph. It’s a nice time to pray and reflect on life. The beauty of creation is intense and blanketing.

Ice Painting

3) Dynamic ice

Moisture, temperature, and sunlight constantly change ice formations. It’s one of the most dynamic subjects to photograph. I believe that taking photographs where ice is a dominant character, I’m likely taking photographs never again repeated. It is a truly a frozen moment in time that will never be seen again. Ice can melt, shape, form, cut, or stack in so many ways. I just love the different times ice appears also: the initial thin layers across shallow lakes, the coating on frozen trees and plants, the deep, thick boulders along Lake Superior and ice caves.


4) That Blue Hue

Winter brings forth blues that I don’t see at other times of the year. Blue hour at both ends of the day is a favorite time to photograph. Being my favorite color, winter blues are just really attractive to me. Combine that with ice and it’s winter delight!

Willow River Winter

5) No Mosquitoes

The unofficial state birds are not swarming me when I am trying to set up my tripod, work the dials and exposures, causing those still moments eyeing the viewfinder to be risky ones. Nope, they’re just dead. And that’s great cause for winter cheer.

Of course, winter is just darn, stinkin’ cold in Minnesota.

  • I did jumping jacks in Grand Marais as the wind battered me with -25 F temps…
    • But I captured the best sunset of my life.
  • My hands froze at Willow River State Park, slowing down picture taking…
    • But I spent four hours in a magical place with mist, icicles, and waterfalls.
  • I must have walked in hundreds of circles in Grand Portage, daring not stop…
    • But I photographed floating pancakes with my crazy friend along orange skies.

Yes, I do ask myself if it’s worth it in the moment and sometimes want to flee to my car. Most of the time, however, I find a way to cope and it’s always been worth it for me.

How do you interact with winter?

4 thoughts on “Five Reasons Winter Photography is Attractive

  1. Nice blog Josh. I can totally relate with you on all 5 points. I love people but as I’m hearing impaired, I love solitude as much if not more. Of course it’s quiet all the time to me-lol. Really enjoy looking at your images. I’ve had to slow down a bit. I took a job that is not at all what I thought it’d be and it has really beaten me physically so my time off is just resting for now. Hoping before winter is too far into it that’ll I’ll have the stamina to get out again. Love tromping nature for those winter shots. Keep up the good work. Beautiful images here.


  2. I love this post! I struggle with the desire to shoot in the winter because it is just so damn cold. I lack motivation big time, even though I know there are endless opportunities out there to capture some exceptionally beautiful landscapes. Winter photography is on my goals list this year. I’m going to try to push myself to give the cold a chance and see what I can create! I was out yesterday for a bit. It was 25 and lightly snowing, but I needed the camera therapy.


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