12.24.17: Snowy scene

A stream winds through a snow-covered forest in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.  


Technical information

Jan. 14, 2016,
10:46 a.m.

39°45’24” N,
82°50'49" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L  (35mm)


1/640th second


As a photographer, there’s little I find more enjoyable — or more challenging — than spending a morning hiking through a wooded park after an overnight snowfall.

The joy is in the beauty of the snow-covered landscape and the photo opportunities it provides. The challenge is getting to the park on snow-covered, slick roads and hiking without falling on snow-covered, slick, hilly trails.

I captured this scene on a January 2016 visit to Slate Run Metro Park southeast of Columbus, Ohio, about 30 miles from the house. I decided the day before to make the trip because the forecast of overnight snow followed by a sunny morning would provide excellent conditions for photography. And Slate Run is a bit more remote than some of the other metro parks in the area so I knew there would be few hikers to disturb the fresh snow.

Every time I stopped to survey a scene to possibly photograph I’d remember the words to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a four-stanza poem a teacher assigned us to memorize in seventh or eighth grade.

It begins: “Whose woods these are I think I know / His house is in the village though / He will not see me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

We had a lot of memorization assignments in school. The vast majority were forgotten within hours — or maybe minutes — of completing the assignment. I remember short passages from others. But I remember all of Frost’s poem. It stuck with me. Maybe it’s because of the serene mental image it created of — as the title says — stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. Maybe it’s because Frost’s poem uses clear, simple, conversational language, unlike other poems we memorized. Or maybe I just like snow and woods.

And maybe that’s why I like this photo. The fresh, white snow contrasts with the sunlit tree trunks. The curving stream winding through the scene pulls everything together. It’s a photograph that creates a quiet, serene mood and pulls the viewer into the scene.

I photographed a horizontal and vertical version of the scene. I have the vertical version hanging on a wall in our home because vertical worked better than horizontal in that location. But I like them both.

As I packed up my photo equipment after taking this photo and prepared to continue my snowy photo hike, the final stanza of Frost’s poem flowed from my memory: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.