SPOTLIGHT
Photography and Text By Douglas Schwartz
THE MAGIC OF SNOW
Artwork featured in this SPOTLIGHT © copyright Douglas Schwartz. All rights reserved.
A Christmas Wish
See more of Douglas Schwartz's photography at SchwartzNaturePhotography.com
HOME                 ABOUT                 PAST ISSUES                 SUBMISSIONS                 ORDER                 CONTACT
What is snow? That may seem like a dumb question, but what exactly is it…beyond being cold, white,
crystallized moisture? Well, for artists, snow is a very unique element of nature that can transform a
mundane scene into a miraculous sight to behold. It can conjure-up literary descriptions that tantalize
the mind and can provide subject matter for artists working in just about every artistic medium.
So, to answer my own question…snow is magical!
Unfortunately, there is another aspect of snow which needs to be addressed, and it is this. The magic of
snow can also hide the ugly actions of humans who do not care about the land. I am referring to the tons of
trash each year that is tossed out of car windows, or discarded by hikers and picnickers who obviously care
little for the natural places they visit.

I can't tell you the number of times that I've picked-up an aluminum can, empty snack bag, or other ugly
affront to the natural landscape in order to create a photograph void of unnatural crap. My dear friend, Dale,
once even removed an automobile tire from a river and carried it a great distance in order to dispose of it
properly. He did so not only to clean-up the scene he was attempting to photograph but, more importantly,
because he cared deeply for the Earth.
I detailed an experience that I encountered in Acadia National Park in my book, The Creative Nature
Photography Wo
rkshop (second edition currently in production) where, after creating a very satisfying close
up image of some rocks, realized, upon returning home, that my composition unfortunately also included a
discarded cigarette butt in one of the rock crevices! That butt of distress was later "removed" using image
processing software. But what if there was a power that could have erased it, if only temporarily, beforehand.
There is.
This power is not a result of some piece of technology. Rather, it is an amazing natural occurrence which
has the power to transform landscapes into ones with unparalleled beauty. I am referring to snow.

According to Webster's dictionary, snow…is particles of water vapor which when frozen in the upper air
fall to earth as soft, white, crystalline flakes
. So much for technicalities. To artists, including me, snow is a
gift from the sky that can change the ordinary into the extraordinary and, in doing so, cover a multitude
of ugliness.
Wouldn't it be nice, however, if our natural world was not so contaminated by such ugliness in the first place?
As a child of the 60's, I was inspired by television public service announcements and encouraged by grade
school lessons to actually do something about it. What has happened to our society since then, I wonder?
Are the lessons I learned still being taught, or are they simply being ignored? It is becoming more and more
difficult to find a place where litter cannot be found. This even includes many state and federal parks.
Must we rely on snow to cover-up our errors?
The magic of snow is indeed, magical. Snow has the power to serve as icing on a pristine landscape, but it
can also cover-up a multitude of sins. As we cheerfully wish others a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays
during the holiday season, let us also commit ourselves to preventing or removing trash from littering the
land in the coming New Year rather than relying on snow to prevent us from seeing it, if only temporarily.
Like Woodsy the Owl once said long ago…give a hoot, don't pollute! Or, as the voice-over narrator said as
the Native American shed a tear…people start pollution…people can stop it. Snow should only be the icing
on the cake and not a cover-up for our mistakes.

While not every photograph I have created required snow as a means to conceal trash, it would be nice to
know that none ever did. That is my wish for this winter season and for every season!

White Clay Creek State Park, Delaware

Lums Pond State Park, Delaware

White Clay Creek State Park, Delaware

Rittenhouse City of Newark Park, Delaware

Rittenhouse City of Newark Park, Delaware

Iron Hill New Castle County Park, Delaware