Snow Photography: SnowWorld, Harbin

Color, shape, line and texture come together to produce an image at Snow World in Harbin, China that's based around composition.

This photo features water channels and a distant bridge at Snow World in the city of Harbin in far northeast China. I spent half a day exploring the expansive Snow World, just outside of Harbin city, and recommend it for anyone wanting to undertake an adventure in snow photography.

Photographing the Color of Snow at Snow World, Harbin

I was interested in the shapes and the warm and cool contrasting colors present within the scene.

Notice how the color of the snow varies depending on the light source that illuminates it.

Notice also how the frozen water, turned ice, and the thigh-high piled snow provides interesting foreground subject matter and helps to lead the eye towards the traditional Chinese bridge in the distance.

Day's End at Snow World in Harbin, China

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Despite the frigid conditions it was a beautiful winter’s day in Harbin city. The light was bright and required a shutter speed of 1/400 second at the very modest ISO 100 at which I prefer to photograph.

I've employed the concept of a frame within a frame to draw the eye through the landscape towards the stone monolith at Snow World in Harbin, China.

The Fundamentals Of Landscape Photography

In both of the top images a large depth of field (DOF) was required to enable me to provide a sense of texture and sharpness from foreground right through to the back of each image.

I achieved the large depth of field required with an aperture of f/11, or thereabouts, and a focal length of 24 mm for the photo at the top of this post and 32 mm for the black and white image above.

A street sweeper keeping piles of snow on the side of a major thoroughfare tidy at Snow World in the city of Harbin, China.

Composition is King in Landscape Photography

Composition is an important consideration for me whenever I’m making photos.

Do you see how I’ve used the wooden structure to lead the eye through the landscape towards the stone monolith in the back of the black and white landscape above.

That concept is referred to as a frame within a frame.

I’ve used the same concept in this photo of a street sweeper tidying up snow piled by the side of a major thoroughfare at Snow World in Harbin, China.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Harbin is a massive city in the northeast of China. It’s actually quite close to both Siberia, of which it was once a part, and North Korea.

I must say I was surprised to see so many beautiful European buildings, including a famous orthodox church, during my visit. You can thank our Russian friends for that.

In addition to Snow World the equally famous Ice World is well worth a visit, particularly at night when massive structures, carved from ice are illuminated during the winter months.

Both Snow World and Ice World form important parts of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, a very famous festival in China and a major tourist operation in Harbin city.

The last colors of autumn cling precariously to life in the snow covered landscape at Snow World in Harbin, China.

There’s a Time to be Brave and a Time to be Comfortable

While bitterly cold in winter Harbin city offers great opportunities for the keen photographer. If snow photography sounds like a challenge you want to explore, then Harbin is the place for you.

Just make sure you bring plenty of warm and waterproof clothes.

When it comes to accommodation, personally I’d recommend paying for a quality hotel. Winter in Harbin city is not the time nor the place to skimp.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru