There are overall three keys to a good photograph: good subject, good composition, and good lighting. In the winter, if you do not have access to dramatic snowscapes, it can be difficult to find a "good" subject. After all, who really wants to take photos of dead leaves? To give some visual CPR to your lifeless subjects, dramatic lighting and sharp compositions are essential.
In both of these examples, dramatic backlighting perks up static images of dead leaves.
Mood is another consideration. Winter swathes everything in a subdued, nearly monochromatic palette. A good photograph might exploit this tone to create evocative works, expressing peace, loneliness, or beauty.
Placed against grayscale backgrounds, even "dull" colors, such as the brown in the above photograph, suddenly become vivid in comparison. The empty seed pod above almost glows with life in relation to the bland background. Again, composition is pivotal here in ensuring the photograph creates impact. The branch leads the viewer's eye upward toward the lone splotch of color in the frame. As a result, movement is created, and even a photograph of a dead plant becomes eye-catching.
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So what do you think? Is it worth it to brave the cold for photographs or is winter better spent hibernating? Let me know in the comments!