Vignetting in the Snow

Everyone has heard of a vignette and the effects it can have in a photograph. It can either be too much and ruin a potentially good photograph or it can be extremely effective and make an image stronger. It really depends on the story you are trying to tell and how much information is needed to tell it. One of the great things about shooting in winter and working with snow is it is a great time to use a desaturated or lightening vignette, which is the opposite of a darkening vignette. Most of the time when you use this technique it instantly becomes artsy and not natural. The snow brings in the balance.


This backlit set of trees I photographed in Yellowstone a while back is a great example of where a lightening vignette can be effective. We had diffused light coming from a cloud screen, not overcast or full sun. The forest in the background was already somewhat faded because of the diffused light, but in order to exaggerate the feeling of being in this valley with the diffused light I used the desaturated vignette to make the background even more faded out. Because of the snow and the subject being backlit it feels more natural and almost more of a flare then diffused light. It’s a simple trick to use in your winter photography and should be kept in mind. Now I did shoot this before I had the D5 so I can’t wait to go back to see how much better I can make this.

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