I used to love winter in New England, and considered it an inward, spiritual time.
Then I became a mom, and winter got hard. Like balancing a carseat (containing Baby) in the snow bank while closing the door—or risk getting hit by a car on the other side—kind of hard. The real feel is -4 degrees and I’m home alone with a baby and a dog who really needs a bathroom break. And that’s just with one kid!
As a photographer who photographs families naturally—doing the activities they love to do—I used to wonder why it was so hard to get families to do winter shoots. Why don’t people realize how special portraits while sledding, or catching snowflakes would be? Now I know: the logistical day-to-day is just so hard on families.
But I have not thrown in the towel. I’m encouraging myself to fall back in love with winter. If your winter affection waivers, then I invite you to join me—in falling back in love, and perhaps in a winter family photo session.
4 winter joys
1) More light—especially indoors.
You might be scratching your head at this one: the days are short—isn’t this a dark time of year?!
Here’s what I see: Because the sun doesn’t reach as high into the sky, it’s hugging the earth all day. That means in many places the sun is more intense for longer, at an angle low to the earth. Inside your home there are more hours of the sun reaching directly into your window. And of course in tree-covered New England the simple fact of bare trees allows the winter sun to illuminate your home.
AND, (yes, there’s more)
If there’s snow on the ground all that light is reflected on the earth and so is nearly doubled. Next time you sit in your favorite room in your home during a winter day, see if you can perceive more natural light filling the room than other times of year.
1A. Photographer’s bonus: Natural reflectors!
Maybe not everyone will notice, but light reflecting off of snow creates beautifully even lighting outdoors! It’s beyond perfect for portraits.
2) Snow slows.
Whether you like it or not, winter winds and snow slow you down. Commutes can be longer, events are canceled. You simply cannot be as ambitious in the winter. For workaholics (raises hand) and the like, this seems like a negative thing. But I invite you to embrace it. Challenge yourself to be unambitious this winter. Reflect. Observe the changing light. Have a living room dance party…
3) The world is a playground.
Have you ever seen someone skiing down what is usually a busy city street? After a snow storm there are cross country ski trails everywhere. Suddenly, the smallest patch of a yard can entertain for hours as snowpeople are built. The adults’ hard shoveling work becomes a ready-made fort. A trash-littered street is now a playground.
In the summer you have to escape to the woods or beach or at least a park to play in nature. On a snow day just bundle up and step outside—the world’s your oyster.
When you venture out into the cold you are rewarded with a thaw. Hot chocolate, stews, tubbies, blanket and books on the couch… however you like to warm is an experience to savor as your cheeks glow pink. This is the stuff childhood memories are made from. You draw closer to your loved ones—grateful for the cold and the warm.
Do you, can you, love winter in New England?
Email me today if you want snow angels, sledding, or shared hot chocolate to be childhood memories your kids can have forever.
The Inner Life Portraits approach means there’s no photo shoot to schedule; instead, I tag along on the family fun. See more>>