How I Got the Shot: Winter Patterns

Photograph by Mark Bowie


“Winter Patterns, Lower Cascade Lake Outlet ”


10 seconds, f/16, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm lens set at 110mm.

I photographed the partially open end of Lower Cascade Lake under overcast skies early one winter morning. It was still quite dark out, but a ten-second exposure captured the many complexities of form and texture in this scene, and the wonderful reflections of birches in the water. I scout open waters in winter for the intricate snow and ice formations along their banks. Here their zig-zagging lines lead your eye from the foreground into the distance.

I shot the image in color, then later converted it to black and white using Google’s Silver Efex Pro, the industry standard for processing in black and white. It’s a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I first processed the color image in Lightroom globally, then imported it into Silver Efex Pro for fine tuning. I used the various sliders to emphasize the wide range of tonalities here, from deep, rich shadows to the brilliant white snow. Black and white is very effective in emphasizing form and texture, perfect for this scene.

Mark Bowie is a staff photographer with the Adirondack Photography Institute. He will lead their annual Adirondack Winter Weekend workshop February 13-16. The Institute will again offer a wide range of photography workshops and tours in 2014, in the Adirondacks and elsewhere. Visit for schedules and program descriptions. To see more of Mark’s work, visit his newly renovated website,

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