(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Cathy Seaver, a commercial photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She works primarily for Cull Group shooting product, corporate headshots, and other client needs. In her off time, Cathy enjoys getting out into nature to shoot what she sees around her. She is also an avid horseback rider, enjoying her time in the saddle on trails and playing around with a bit of dressage. Check out her work on Instagram.)

“What good is the warmth of summer,
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

If you’re anything like me, going outside in temperatures that make your eyes water and your snot freeze sounds nightmarish. While that is certainly true and winter shooting outdoors may seem daunting, some of my favorite photos have been made on the days when it took everything I had just to leave the warmth and comfort of my home. So, here’s my challenge to you:

Pack Up. Gear Up. And Get Outside!

Grab a Friend and Explore a Popular Summer Location

In West Michigan, we have Lake Michigan’s beaches with many lighthouses and piers, Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park and tons of other summertime local tourist attractions. These places are packed with people in the summer and barren in the winter — a wonderful time to make photos with no people in them.

Plan a Day to Shoot an Outdoor Event

Find a local event and go shoot it. Grand Haven, Michigan has a Winterfest at the end of every January where there is a Family Dog Sled Race, a downhill Cardboard Sled Race, and even a Human Sled Race. I’ve shot parts of this event for three years and have had a lot of fun doing it! I’ll bet a town near you has a similar event.

Everything is More Fun in Groups!

Plan a photo walk with fellow photographers — or join a group walk. It doesn’t really matter if you have a good camera or use the camera on the back of your phone. Head out to the woods for some nature shots or out into the city for some street or cityscapes. I’m lucky to have friends who invite me to go on photo walks all year long.

Winter Is Not Over So Show Us What You’ve Got!

We still have at least another month of cold temps and snow in Michigan. Go outside and show us how you see the seemingly arctic landscape! Post your winter photos to the Photofocus Flickr group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/photofocus/pool/

I would love to hear some of your favorite winter shooting tips! Comment below and let me know how you enjoy the frigid temperatures.