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When Natures Sleeps you find other subjects to Photograph

Updated: May 18, 2023

When winter comes much of nature takes a nap

Trees lose their leaves, flowers are no more. Wildlife shelters and the weather can sometimes get nasty during winter. All this can lead to fewer subjects for photography, but where there is a will there is a way.

Many cities across the United States experience some cold winters; like Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Chicago to name a few. The other thing that all these cities have in common other than damn cold winters is history and some great indoor locations to focus your photography needs on. When the weather outside is frightful, but train stations, churches, historical buildings, and museums can be so delightful.

I will use Chicago as an example because I spent a handful of winters doing photography projects for work. I always ended up there in February and February in Chicago, which seems to be the coldest month of the year. If you are able to avoid going outside most people do just that, but hotels don't provide many photo opportunities, so you need to get creative. A few creative locations for photographers to take photos and stay warm are; The Chicago Union Station, Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum. There are many other indoor locations to explore but frown on people hauling around a camera like the Skydeck at Willis Tower. Many places that do allow photos are only for personal use. So keep your eyes open for No Photo Signs and be sure to check if a permit is needed if you plan on selling your photos. Even photos of the famous Buckingham Fountain require a permit.

If you are fine with the cold and don't mind braving the conditions, then you can also get creative in the outskirts of Chicago. On my many trips to Chicago, I would get my fill of highrises, and museums and would explore further out from the city looking for new locations. A few locations that proved adventurous at times with all the ice were Starved Rock State Park and the Morton Nature Preserve.

At the Morton Nature Preserve, I would take photos from the same spot at different times of the year. I found three rocks on the edge of a lake, allowing me to place my tripod in the same spot each time. I would then blend the photos together in Photoshop to create a different perspective of the seasons.

If you are tolerant enough to brave the elements to get your photography fix, here are a few tips to help you deal with the cold.

1) Bring extra batteries and keep the ones you do bring warm. Lithium batteries do not like cold weather. You can keep them in your pocket when not in use to keep them warm.

2) Keep your equipment dry. Moisture does not work well with electronics or lenses. Keep your gear dry with microfiber towels and use silica packs in your camera bag

3) Wear the proper clothing. Dressing in layers during cold weather allows you to adjust insulation according to the changing environment.

4) Use a good camera bag that protects your gear from the elimates and the occasional fall "when" you slip on the ice.

The photographs contained in this website may not be reproduced without the express consent of Shutter Bison.

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