Montana Outdoors

February 2, 2012

Cold January night

Filed under: Winter — montucky @ 11:09 pm

January snow

This was an experiment on one cold night and I’m not quite sure I like it, but somehow it has stayed on my mind; perhaps it’s the contrasts.


  1. It is great experiment with great success. I love Your photo because it is B&W. In this kind of photo it is suitable. Congratulations Terry.

    I have never taken photos at night times, just on evenings and at twilight.


    Comment by Sartenada — February 3, 2012 @ 12:22 am

    • I don’t experiment with night photos very often. I never think of it in summer, then in winter it is a very cold thing to do!


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  2. Experiments are always good…and – I do like this. It speaks to winter cold!


    Comment by Marcie — February 3, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    • I’m glad you liked it Marcie. It is a cold scene, but typical for a Montana winter.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  3. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Looks too cold for me!


    Comment by Roberta — February 3, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    • That’s snow like I remember from childhood. My feelings for the snow are not much changed.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  4. I like this…it reminds me of an outpost way up north somewhere. The B&W works well to capture the mood. What was your light source?


    Comment by dhphotosite — February 3, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    • Those old outbuildings are from the ’40’s: a link I like from the past. The light comes from a old mercury-vapor yard light. Here every farmhouse or ranch house has one in the yard. They come on at dusk and go off at daylight, lighting the house and driveway and act as beacons for travelers who might be stranded away from a town.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  5. Yes, the contrast between the lighted white white snow against the black night! Cute lil shed, too… is that on your property?

    Are you hiking much, now, during the winter months when it’s sooo cold out & there’s so much snow on the ground?

    Happy Weekend! =)


    Comment by Tricia — February 3, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    • The shed is one of several remaining outbuildings that we built here in the ’40’s by family members who lived here then. No, I haven’t been getting in much hiking, mostly because I am working on remodeling projects that I want to finish before spring. I’m hoping for more snow though so I can get in a few snowshoe trips.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  6. Well, I like it even if the photographer is uncertain on that point.


    Comment by Dave at collinda — February 3, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    • Thanks Dave! It might be that the photo typifies memories that not very many people share.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  7. Whatever the experiment was, I think it might have been successful…it’s a beautiful photo…light and dark, shadows, etc. 🙂


    Comment by seekraz — February 3, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  8. Beautiful B&W shot and the light is nice .


    Comment by Ahmad — February 3, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  9. I think it came out fine. Doesn’t it look cold? Will you keep your snow until spring?


    Comment by sandy — February 3, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    • Yes, we will keep most of the snow now. It has been through a number of melt/freeze cycles and is very dense. I can walk on it without leaving tracks.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  10. I can understand why this photo stayed with you. There is something very compelling about it. And very beautiful.


    Comment by Colleen — February 3, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    • It might be the smooth contours of the snow. For me it is also that I remember the scene from over 60 years ago, hardly changed at all.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  11. i think it turned out great! Br-r-r-r looks very cold!


    Comment by Barbara — February 3, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    • Yes, the cold and snow can be unrelenting: a good reason for having a solid and warm house!


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  12. I saw this photo in your photostream several days ago and wondered why you didn’t post it. I think the stark contrasts definitely add to the feeling of bitter cold (whether it was or not).


    Comment by Candace — February 3, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    • I guess I didn’t know it others would like a scene that is rather stark at best. It is real though and an accurate picture of a snowy night.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  13. This is a good experiment. Iliked it as soon as I saw it. The black and white is perfect for the picture.


    Comment by Ratty — February 3, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    • Yes, it had to be B & W. I’m glad that you liked it, Ratty.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  14. Wow, this photo made me feel like I was right there, walking in the cold night. I especially love the subtlety of the shed! Thank you.


    Comment by Julie — February 3, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    • That old shed has weathered nearly 70 winters and although I have thought about tearing it down, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do that.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

      • Oh, I am so glad you have not torn down the shed! I love old weathered buildings; the way wood changes with age is fascinating. One of my goals is to get back into watercolours, and to paint old buildings. Thanks you for replying!


        Comment by julie — February 6, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

        • I like them too, Julie. The small building to the far left is an old outhouse. One of my tasks next summer is to restore some for its protection. We can’t part with that!


          Comment by montucky — February 6, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

          • That sounds like a great plan – it looks like your buildings are historic!


            Comment by Julie — February 7, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

            • About as far back as my personal history goes!


              Comment by montucky — February 7, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

              • Wow – so this is your “homestead” so to speak? You have lived here all your life?


                Comment by Julie — February 8, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

                • I was born and raised here but I lived away from Montana for many years just to be able to make a living. We moved back nearly 20 years ago and acquired this small property that had been owned and lived in by an uncle. I had been here often when I was growing up, and it was like a home to me. Lots of old memories here!


                  Comment by montucky — February 8, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

                • You are lucky to be able to live on land that has been in your family for this long. Thank you for sharing your story a bit and for your so beautiful photography!


                  Comment by Julie — February 8, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  15. Are you kidding? This is brilliant photography! I love the texture and contrasts. It is rich and stark simultaneously. Has a bit of a haunting feeling to it as well.


    Comment by WildBill — February 3, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    • Thanks Bill! While the photo is recent, the scene hasn’t changed appreciably in a long, long time. In a sense it’s a picture of the past.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  16. Can you say what elements in the image made you not sure you liked it?

    Steve Schwartzman


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — February 3, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    • I’m not sure, Steve. Perhaps the thought that it represents a part of my own history from long ago and that few people now would relate to it.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  17. Plenty of snow. I like the contrast.

    btw, since I enjoy reading this blog, I awarded you with a versatile blogger award. You’re on your own recognizance when it comes to accepting it. 🙂

    See this post:



    Comment by knightofswords — February 3, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    • Thanks for thinking of me Malcolm! I kind of thought you would enjoy the old scene.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  18. I love this photograph. It has an old-fashioned, yet other-worldly quality to it. The slight leaning forward of the shed and the intense darkness beyond….


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — February 3, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    • The background in the dark is a little draw to the west of our house. It is several acres that we have left untouched for the use of the local wildlife. It’s always interesting to wonder who might be there at any time and I often enjoy taking a brief foray into it after a snow to see what kind of record has been written in the snow.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  19. I love the image, and I rather appreciate your description of mercury vapor lights as beacons to travelers. Much more welcoming sentiment than burglary preventers, which is what I assumed they were. I don’t dislike them quite as much when you put it that way!

    Did you use a tripod? How did you know how long to expose it?


    Comment by Kim — February 3, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

    • Yard lights are very nice to have out here. I’ve never thought of them as burglary preventers: burglars out here know they are practicing a very dangerous occupation.

      Yes, I used a very cold tripod! Nearly all of my photos are taken in Programmed Auto mode where I have made all of the custom settings and based on them the camera chooses shutter speed and aperture.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  20. I think this experiment is a keeper! I like the contrasts too and the surreal kind of look to it. It seems to convey the chill of the night and makes me want to shiver and say, “brrrr!” Awesome job!


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — February 4, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    • Thanks! A night shot does make it seem colder, doesn’t it!


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  21. Wonderful – the very essence of winter. People who haven’t lived with “real snow” don’t realize how bright the winter nights can be, even under moonlight and starlight alone. The mercury vapor light does a good job of replicating that slightly hard-edged light. My grandmother used to call it a “Wenscelas night” – cold and crisp and evenly bright under a winter moon.


    Comment by shoreacres — February 4, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    • A full moon on a cold snowy night is not to be forgotten. I’ve seen many across the years and always have the hope of another yet this winter. When one does come along I just have to go out for a long walk and enjoy it.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  22. Experiments are always good to try and expand our vision. You might consider looking at past photos to see how they might look in B&W or monocolors. Winter is a good time for such experimentation, too.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — February 4, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    • I do that sometimes, but nearly always I prefer the color versions. There is one conversion from January that I rather like though that I’ll post some time.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  23. A bright cold winter night is quite a sight. I really like this one – black & white just right! A perfect light. Right? What a fright!


    Comment by Maureen — February 4, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    • The feeling I had from looking at the scene caused me to shoot it in B & W mode, something I rarely do.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  24. Captures the forbidding cold quite nicely!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — February 5, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  25. I like it–I think it is the black and white that makes the photo–gives a real feeling of a crisp cold winter night.


    Comment by kateri — February 5, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    • I seldom shoot in B & W mode, but for this scene that’s the first thing I thought of.


      Comment by montucky — February 5, 2012 @ 10:40 am

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