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I Photographed A Stormy Retreat Capturing My Snowy Tiny Home Adventure (19 Pics)
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I Photographed A Stormy Retreat Capturing My Snowy Tiny Home Adventure (19 Pics)

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My tiny home is in one of the snowiest pockets of the lower 48, part of the Southern Rocky Mountains. It sits on the side of a small mountain, a little home in a big forest. Access to come and go is dictated by weather. Over the holidays, a storm hit that had me housebound for a week!

To make the most of the situation, I spent a lot of time making photos and wandering through the large Ponderosa groves. It’s all a part of this rural life, and as a full-time photographer, these great big storms bring great big opportunities to create and be inspired.

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The start of the storm brought big fluffy flakes

Sometimes you’ll hear people talk about type-two fun. The kind of fun that is felt most after doing a hard thing. I liken my style of capturing moments to that here in the Southern Rockies. One of the most unique challenges down here is the snow and ice on our rural roads. This is the snowiest part of the Southern Rockies, and it also happens to be a very rural part of the country, so we don’t get the usual road maintenance, and sometimes our roads are simply not drivable, and they close until the plows can get to them, which can be up to a week… or never.

I find myself home-bound during the winter often, snowed in for a couple of days. That can create the challenge of how do I create beautiful and emotive photos of something I have made one million photos of: my home and land. It always keeps me thinking and trying new things. The reward is usually found in that process. And of course, when I make an image that really feels like I have captured exactly what I was dreaming it would be.

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As clouds rolled in and filled the valley, snow started to accumulate

Heavy storms are an interesting aspect of my process. I call the images I make during these times bare-bones because these photos usually feel weighted in emotion, and they tend to be some of my more simple images. During big, multi-day storms, I tend to go inward and think about my life and experiences and hopes and dreams. I’ll usually go to bed after gazing at our massive, dark sky, sometimes inspired by the stars and more likely than not, amazed by the thick blanket of roiling clouds.

The following morning, I usually rise well before the sun has even thought of rising and start a fire in my wood stove with a cup of coffee by my side. It’s so, so quiet. The only sounds are a crackling fire and the soft patters of snow landing on my roof. As the sky lightens up, I watch out the window to see what kind of snow-day I can expect. Will there be an inversion? A sunrise so colorful it paints the world pink? When a heavy storm is here, I take things slow, and my creativity flows at a pace that is purely instinctual because there is no rush and no distraction. This is when isolation can be the beautiful thing.

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First things first, before the storm lands, I need to haul enough water to my home so that my cistern is full. Otherwise, I have to melt snow until the storm stops. I don’t have running water without procuring it. I also stock up on food. It’s hard to manage a photoshoot without those two things taken care of. The rest of the preparation is getting my head in the right place to be at home for many days with respite.

I never know what kind of opportunities might present themselves during this kind of weather event as far as photography is concerned, so I prepare my cameras by cleaning them and sitting them in locations where I expect there might be a moment of magical light or where wildlife tends to pass through. Prior to a storm landing, prepping for a photoshoot, I like to be in a mental place where I have nothing to worry about because everything is taken care of, and all I need to do is capture the moments that make me fall in love over and over again with my home.

By morning, the storm was in full swing and relentless

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I worked to find beauty in the details of everyday life

I have been a lifelong Nikon photographer and have found the weather-sealing on their gear to hold up to even the most ridiculous snow events. I have dropped my cameras into feet of powder, have had a whole ponderosa’s-worth of snow fall on my equipment, and it’s held up wonderfully. When conditions get very extreme, I utilize a heavy tripod that gives me stability in winds that can reach 100 miles per hour. One last item I have found to be helpful for extending my camera batteries (they drain within minutes if it’s cold enough!) is a product called The Cold Case by Cold Case Gear. It’s a little pouch that insulates batteries and charging bricks- I usually can double the length of shooting time by using that!

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Before too long, my world was blanketed in snow

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During the third day of a record-smashing snowstorm that would last eight days, I was capturing the snowy ponderosa when it became unbelievably windy out of the blue. I’m talking gusts of 70 miles per hour. These gusts would blow the snow off the ponderosa in heavy sheets. Due to how much snow was already on the ground from the storm, about four feet of it, I couldn’t move very fast in it. So I was wandering toward my driveway at a snail’s pace as these massive plumes of glittering snow blew and whipped from the ponderosa tops, cascading down like miniature blizzards. Like they were a whole world; each plume of falling snow. It felt like magic, as if I was transported into some other world. Re-entering Earth when I made it back to my road.

And crystals

The clouds played with the light and magic happened as the sun set

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Magic also arrived in the morning in the color pink

Wild friends were the only visitors

I enjoyed having some time to create and enjoy forced upon me – thank you Mother Nature!

When the storm broke the birds came out to stretch their wings

Feeling renewed after the storm!

A beautiful beam of sunshine and glittery snow was the end to this beautiful system

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master_minds9_1 avatar
DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As someone who has lived in the tropics all my life and have never experienced snow....this is absolutely magical! This is what I picture when I hear "winter wonderland". It is absolutely dreamy.

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master_minds9_1 avatar
DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As someone who has lived in the tropics all my life and have never experienced snow....this is absolutely magical! This is what I picture when I hear "winter wonderland". It is absolutely dreamy.

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