Photography is tough to master.
Winter photography, well, that's even more difficult to master.
Yet, Amber Fite has done both.
Part of her success is owed to an abundance of natural talent. However, Amber puts in an incredible amount of work to get the images she wants.
"When I'm not photographing people, I'm out in nature finding the 'unforeseen beauty' as I call it," she notes.
Below, I've selected a few of Amber's finest images. Each one has some commentary from her, with a few thoughts of my own thrown in as well.
In Alaska, there is beauty during the winter in everything you see.
When I wasn’t able to get out to photograph landscapes, I found happiness in photographing the smaller details around me.
Something as simple as frost and beautiful light was enough for me.
The light Amber speaks of is what makes this shot.
It's a simple scene, one that you might find in your own backyard in the winter. Yet the gorgeous backlighting gives the shot all kinds of drama.
During a family session on the middle of a frozen lake in Fairbanks, AK, I was captivated by the beautiful sunset that was taking place.
In Alaska, there isn’t much that isn’t a sight to see during the winter. The perpetual sunset that we have makes everything magical.
The warmth of the setting sun is a welcome addition to any wintertime photo.
The coldness and harshness of a winter landscape can be completely changed with the addition of some great Golden Hour lighting.
This photograph was taken at a beautiful pull off in the hills of Fairbanks, AK. It’s a spot that I would frequent for the beauty of the Aurora Borealis at night.
As I was there setting up to photograph a beautiful light shot, I was able to witness an amazing sunset over the hills.
As Amber's photo goes to show, you don't have to go far and wide to capture a gorgeous landscape photo.
Sometimes, as was the case with the image above, simply paying attention to the sights along the roadside led to a breathtaking photo.
One of my favorite images.
While mentoring a young photographer, we came upon a simple place to photograph snowscapes. The three trees were a pleasant surprise and the light couldn’t have been better.
When composing a landscape shot, looking for ways to insert repetition and order can help the image seem more structured.
In this case, the row of three trees that are perfectly positioned in the middle of the frame adds an extra layer of beauty to an already stunning landscape.
One of the favorite things I loved about shooting portrait sessions on location in Alaska was that I could always expect something absolutely amazing during my sessions.
As a nature photographer as well, I couldn’t get enough of the sights to see. I would stay behind after my sessions to take photographs.
On this particular day, Alaska’s sun had a “sun halo.” It was remarkable.
One of the keys to becoming a master photographer like Amber is to simply have patience and not rush through your shots.
Sometimes with landscapes, waiting just five or ten minutes in one spot will open up much-improved opportunities to capture how the landscape looks with different lighting.
Resist the urge to rapid-fire your photos, and instead stick around and enjoy the moment. You might get better photos while you're at it, too.
Another example of a “sun halo.”
After wrapping up a shoot, I happened to look up at the setting sun to find we were having another beautiful sun halo. In post-processing, I chose to leave all the footprints, sled marks, and ski tracks as it helps tell the story of Alaska.
Residents live for the outdoors during all times of the year and I loved that this frozen lake showed just that.
Some photographers would balk at including things like footprints and sled marks in a wintery photo, but this shot demonstrates that those features actually help tell a better story about the location.
As Amber noted above, all those imprints left by human activity tell the story of the outdoor-centric lifestyle that most Alaskans enjoy.
Near the Alaska Pipeline in Fairbanks, AK, our early sunset made promise of gorgeous sights to see and photograph.
This beautiful creek was in it’s beginning stages of freezing over. As always, the spectacular light made something as simple as a creek feel absolutely magical.
Again, we have a gorgeous example of how the right lighting can elevate the quality of a landscape photo.
In this case, the forested creek scene has plenty of beautiful details on its own, but the warm, low-slung light adds depth and dimension to the shot by casting long shadows toward the camera.
The glints of light off the frost in the foreground are nice touches that add even more drama to the shot.
This image was taken at the same spot as the previous photograph.
Using a macro lens, I got in close to a capture a beautiful “ice volcano” that was smaller than a baseball. The frost, snow, and light helped make the frozen water something spectacular.
Thought many landscape photos are shot with a wide-angle lens, we see in this image the value of thinking outside the box.
By looking for the little details in a larger landscape, you can offer viewers a photo that's unlike anything they've ever seen.
Armed with a macro lens, Amber does just that in this shot of an "ice volcano."
Frost like you’ve never seen it! Winter to some may be dreary and cold, but to myself, and the residents in Alaska, it truly is breathtaking.
Using a 100MM macro, I got in close to the frost and the camera captured the remarkable details.
Again, this is a stunning example of how slowing down your workflow and looking for small details to highlight can pay dividends.
The shallow depth of field in this image helps draw our attention to the ice crystals, which are beautifully illuminated by the sunlight entering the scene from the background.
The texture of the ice is worth mentioning as well. In simple scenes like this, adding texture, patterns, and other details help give the shot more volume and depth.
Skies in Alaska never fail to impress. There is always something beautiful to be seen.
My camera and I absolutely treasured going out to capture remarkable sunset during a cold winter.
Photos of a setting sun by itself can often be on the boring side.
However, if you include foreground elements - like the trees in this shot - you ground the image, add contrast, and provide some shapes to define the foreground from the background.
All of those features together with the warm light of the sunset equate to one heck of a shot!
The Aurora Borealis speaks for itself! This awe-inspiring phenomena came right over my house almost every night in Alaska.
I always knew to be ready when I saw the lights come over my little shed.
Whether you're photographing the night sky in the winter, summer, or some other time of year, it's important to find ways to frame the light show to give more context to the shot.
In this case, the manner in which the Northern Lights are framed by the treetops helps direct our attention to the middle of the image.
Likewise, the inclusion of the shed in the bottom portion of the frame helps us understand the size and scale of the light show.
Empty roads and Northern Lights. This night delighted me.
Not only was it a beautiful display of the Aurora Borealis, but New Year’s Eve! This image was taken moments before the clock struck twelve.
Again, we have an image that demonstrates several principles of great photography.
There's a strong subject in the colors and shapes created by the Northern Lights, and nice foreground interest in the tree-lined hill and the roadway.
Speaking of the roadway, the lines it creates cutting across the image help lead the eye from the foreground to the background of the shot.
Although winter was coming to an end in this photograph, I was not disappointed to still find snow-capped mountains in the Alaska Range.
You never have to drive far to have a gorgeous landscape photo opportunity in Alaska!
As noted above, not all landscape photos have to be taken with a wide-angle lens.
In this case, a longer focal length helped Amber frame a tighter shot on the distant mountains, giving them more prominence in the shot and compressing the perceived distance from foreground to background.
Cabin life. The three years I spent in Alaska, I spent them in this cabin.
I’ll never forget this time of my life. Having the ability to photograph the Northern Lights, almost every evening outside of my home, was something I certainly appreciated and did not take for granted knowing that most people will never get to witness this beauty.
Adding human elements to landscape photos - a person, a car, or, in this case, a house - helps people identify more with the scene they're viewing.
By including the house under the Northern Lights, Amber helps us put ourselves there in that situation and imagine what it must have been like to live in such a beautiful place.
As you can see, with hard work, patience, and the right skill set, Amber Fite has mastered the art of winter photography.
Let her incredible photos and her dedication to her craft be an inspiration to you and your work!