Walking in a Winter Wonderland


This was me as I went outside this morning.

No, Teddy did not get his walk. The “Walking in a Winter Wonderland ” in the title is only hypothetical.

It was 4 degrees, for heaven sake.

This may be no hill to climb for some of you, but let me say that we are not used to it around here.

Cold as it was, it was so beautiful that I ventured outside in my flip flops for a few photos.

The gal up top is not really me. She is a garden sculpture that represents me. Her name is Four Winds

Her pal in the next picture is Easy Mark (referencing guess who). Together, they stand outside the gate and act as our Guardians against evil.our-guardians

These copper pipe sculptures are created by Native American artist, Mark Fischer, who lives and works in Wisconsin. We have three of these so far. The third is one I call Garden Grace (but the artist calls her “Strawberry’). She holds a couple of Hummingbird feeders in Summer, and suet cages in Winter.

She looks like this . . .


The sculptures stand about 6 feet tall and are easy to install. You can see all the wonderful designs, and even purchase them, from Mark Fischer’s website . . .



I have two or three more on my wish list.

Our trees are never Winter Wonderland trees like they were this morning . . .


snow5Yes, those are what we call “trees” in the second photo. They are short and fat, but they are Juniper Pines and this is the only time they aren’t making allergy trouble of some kind.

But, the real visual treats were in the close-ups . . .




My real birds did much better than this. They were all flying around, drinking from the heated birdbath, eating from the feeders, and discussing how lowly humans not only can’t fly, they don’t even know how to deal with single digit temperatures! “Look at that crazy woman,” they tweeted, “she’s barefoot!!!”

The really glorious part was that we had glitter snow. I love glitter snow, but I can’t imagine how to capture it in a photo. Here’s my best attempt . . .


Here’s a little photo advice about taking pictures in snow.

Camera light meters are set up to expose everything with the settings that would produce a nice middle gray (18% gray, actually). This works for lots of things, but not things that are very dark, or very light – like snow. Both will be too gray and lose their intensity.

So, most of your snow photos will turn out gray.

Almost all digital cameras have what is called Exposure Compensation, which lets you increase or decrease the exposure by small increments. This is usually indicated by a Plus/Minus icon on some button on your camera. (look it up in your manual if you can’t find it).

A good rule of thumb is that snow needs an exposure boost (plus) of at least +1.

If it’s too late, the photos are taken, and the moment is gone, you can adjust Exposure after the fact in Photoshop or Elements. Look under Image Adjustments.

Always remember to return your Exposure Comp to zero when you are done shooting. Forgetting to change back can really overexpose the next photos you take if they are not snow pictures.

Do you have any favorite Winter photo? Share it with us in a Comment.

And speaking of Comments . . .

Challenge Winners . . .

Wow, I better shut this off before I give away the farm.

I can’t believe how astute you are, or how many of you must by lumber-women!

I would have thought our mystery photo was red meat, or any of the other great guesses you came up with, but those of you who guessed that it was found on a cut piece of wood were right. Here is the subject shot from a normal distance.


This is a tree by the entrance of Harry’s Roadhouse – a well loved eatery here in Santa Fe. One big branch had been sawn off. I was blown away by the color. This color is NOT adjusted, and the shot was taken with my iPhone.

Now, I don’t know if this is sap or pitch or resin or rosen or fungus or what, and I do believe it is a Pinon Pine tree, but if you guessed that it was something on cut wood, you won a Gift Certificate.

To claim your prize, email me at


and claim your answer. I will put your email address on my Gift Certificate list for future reference.

I will email back how you can use your Gift Certificate.

This was fun. You amazed me, and I will do this again sometime because it was so fun.

Eva, I loved the strawberry, and I think Suzanne’s macro was a straw? But, Therese, I can’t guess what yours is, but it is certainly beautiful!!

15 thoughts on “Walking in a Winter Wonderland

  1. Christine

    What gorgeous pictures. Your feet must have been blue when you were done, I hope not frost bitten.

    We have not had a hard freeze yet on the Oregon Coast.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures, especially those close ups of the crystals.

  2. Suzanne B

    What wonderful snowy photos! I’m so envious!

    Living in San Diego, does not afford me such a treat!

    Loved seeing them and through your eyes.

    And yes, a straw………on a jamba juice smoothie was the photo I posted.

    Congrats to winners!

  3. Christine Newman-Aumiller

    Love the pictures and the link to Mark’s wonderful sculptures. I was too busy to say so before Christmas, but I really appreciated your regular posts in December. They always give me something to think about.

  4. Eva Erlendson

    Thank you for the compliment, Jessica. I’m up here about 60 miles from the Canadian border and we get frost like that almost every morning now :) I try to take a trip south in the winter just so I can thaw out a little! Here’s a frosted chicken feather for you :)

  5. llynnda

    I live in snowy, cold and frosty Quebec but have seen nothing this winter that comes anywhere near as beautiful as your frosted trees. Truly beautiful but watch out for your toes, blue is not a good color for toes.


  6. Alcina

    I remember days of sparkly snow… wondrous…
    I wouldn’t mind experiencing a day of it. IF I could be guaranteed a plane trip in and out without delays.

  7. Jeanne

    jessica, those photos were fantastic! I see greeting cards, enlargements on canvas, etc., etc. It’s hard to believe they were from your iPhone. Wow! I must take more macros. The other photos submitted were great as well. I do love snow photos, but I don’t get into it as much here in Austin. But if they forecast it, I’ll be there!
    P.S. Notice how many guesses were of food? Just sayin….

  8. Jeanne

    P.P.S. I think it would be a great idea to have more “guessit” challenges. But so you don’t go broke, why not make it the FIRST correct response gets the prize?

  9. jessica

    OMG I love the frosted chicken feathers!

    Thank you ladies, for lovin the photos. For some strange reason, my toes don’t get cold as long as I am not out there too long.

    Jeanne, the wood photo was iPhone. For the snow, I used my real camera and a 600mm telephoto lens.

  10. Lorraine Kirker

    Beautiful photos. I fully appreciate the need to get out, no matter how cold, and capture the beauty. Coming home from a trip a couple of years ago I spent the first minutes on my propery (before even going into the house) trying to capture the perfect photo of an icicle hanging off the deck railing. We don’t see many icicles here on Whidbey Island, WA!

  11. MarionE, Australia

    Exquisite photos, Jessica. Thank you for sharing.
    While you were freezing and experiencing such beauty, we in Victoria, Australia were sizzling in 40C-plus temperatures (over 104F – our average January temperature is around 29C), so I felt doubly envious of you in your beautiful frost.

  12. Cathy in AZ

    We had snow last week. We are expecting another winter storm to come through Monday night. And I live in Southern Arizona!! Oh, well. Another opportunity for snow photos.

  13. Jessica

    I will use this tip next time. Thanks so much! Here’s one I took yesterday here in Tennessee. It’s my daughter Neely catching snowflakes. We got 6 inches in 2 hours. That’s the most she’s ever seen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.