Picture: Sunlight on falling snow from a tree (a tree-valanche) through a winter forest, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California
Sometimes good light and subjects can be fleeting moments tough to capture on camera. Often, as photographers, we might see one of these fleeting moment, and decide for better or worse to wait and see if such a moment will repeat itself. Such was the case on a recent snowshoeing trip through a winter forest.
Just for giggles, I wanted to try to photograph a tree-valanche from directly below, trying to catch the cloud of falling snow just before it crashed into me and the ground. The problem was that while the snow was crashing down from trees all around me, it never seemed to happen whenever I stood under a tree waiting for it to happen. And I stood… and I waited. And I moved to another tree… and I stood….and waited. Repeat this process a half-dozen times, and you can imagine that it started to get a little frustrating. I was being patient, but my virtue was not being rewarded.
Then it happened. A nearby tree-valanche happen to fall into the path of a sunbeam, and lit up in fabulous crystalline rays. Because I’d just been standing there waiting for something to happen, I was able to quickly raise my camera and fire off a couple frames. However the light show was gone in a few fleeting seconds as soon as the snow had fallen through the sunbeam. During parts of two days in that forest, I’d never seen another instant where the sun had lit up the falling snow like that.
Even though it wasn’t the shot I envisioned, it did feel as if my patience had been rewarded.