Because I’m cursed with the photographer’s eye, instead of enjoying Boston’s mini-blizzard last night through double paned glass sipping a cup of Taza hot chocolate, I trudged along the esplanade on the Charles River, looking for interesting scenes to photograph. After experimenting with close ups of snow-covered trees and falling snow, I noticed snow falling in front of some distant trees. The effect was fascinating, as if I were looking at an impressionist painting. (See "Late Afternoon, New York, Winter" by Frederick Childe Hassam). Using a slow shutter speed only adds to the sense that this is closer to a painting than to a point and shoot photograph. I captures a few exposures, each having a different pattern of snow over the treese.
Some winter photography tips:
Tripod. I prefer not to push the ISO up past 600 as it creates sensor noise, and I won't open up the aperture wider than the desired depth of field of the scene allows. That leaves a long exposure as the last resort to increase light on the sensor, and a tripod is the only way to do this without adding camera shake.
Cable shutter release. Indispensable for any long exposure photography, as pressing the shutter button on the camera can create camera shake.
Gloves. Use glove liners inside thick mittens with chemical hand warmers in between.
Microfiber cloth. Wipe snow off your lens or filter with a microfiber cloth.
Manual focus. As in any low light situation, autofocus is unreliable. Instead switch to manual and zoom in on the live view image to check focus.
White balance. It is unlikely that everything in a low light scene is lit with the same color temperature, so leave white balance as a creative choice for postprocessing.
Below is the google street view image of this scene.