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The best Winter photographs of 2021-22

March 19, 2022

The AP Team and some of our core Contributors share their favourite Winter photographs seen in 2021-22


The AP Team’s choice for best Winter photographs of the year

At AP we see thousands of images, so it takes something special to grab our attention. Ahead of Spring officially arriving, we have selected the best Winter photographs that we’ve seen over the winter months during 2021 – 2022, and share the reasons why:

Andy Westlake, Technical Editor

Lake of Ice, Cristiano Vendramin

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One of the best things about living in London is that I can easily get to see all the great exhibitions that are on in the capital’s major galleries and museum. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is always a favourite, of course, and every year it seems the quality of entrants gets ever more accomplished.

With one great picture after the next on display, it’s easy to get picture fatigue by the time you’ve reached the end of the exhibition, and unable to take on anything more. But this year, on my customary visit to the Natural History Museum, something unusual happened.

Right at the end, I settled down to watch the slideshow of photos that didn’t make the final cut of the main display, but which had been selected for the People’s Choice award. As I watched the images scroll past, one jumped out and grabbed me: Lake of Ice by the Italian photographer Cristiano Vendramin.

It’s a sensational shot with its still beauty and near-perfect reflections, and to me, it distils the very essence of winter. Clearly I wasn’t alone in thinking this, as it went on to win the overall People’s Choice Award for Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021.

Amy Davies, Features Editor

Unstoppable by Jessica Mohn

Unstoppable © Jessica Mohn, Germany, Shortlist, Open competition, Natural World & Wildlife, Sony World Photography Awards 2022

I used to think that black and white wasn’t the suitable medium for wildlife and nature photography. With a dizzying array of colours in the natural world, it seemed to do the subjects a disservice to turn the world monochrome. But then, every now and then I’ll come across something which changes my mind, and I tip ever more towards a completely different attitude altogether.

This at-once serene and frenzied wintry scene is enhanced by the muted palette, serving to highlight the whiteness of the snow as well as the desolateness of the winter sky.

There’s the perfect expanse of hard packed snow in the foreground of the image, with the trees behind giving an excellent sense of scale. You really can imagine the horse as it gallops off into the bright and low winter sun.

Keeping the horse so small in the frame also works well – and again goes against a lot of what we might normally associate with classic nature photography technique.

I recommend checking out more of Jessica’s work on her Instagram page as well as seeing the rest of the Sony World Photography Awards shortlisted images – particularly if you can get to London to see the upcoming exhibition.

Joshua Waller, Online Editor

Arctic Fox by Vince Burton

best winter photographs Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) walking through a snowstorm, Iceland. © Vince Burton/World Nature Photography Awards 2021

Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) walking through a snowstorm, Iceland. © Vince Burton/World Nature Photography Awards 2021

My favourite winter image is this photo of a rare “blue morph” Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) making its way through the wintery snowstorm conditions in Iceland. It was beautifully captured by Vince Burton, and is not only expertly photographed, but is also extremely cute.

I can imagine the difficulty in shooting in the same conditions that the fox is experiencing and am impressed that Vince Burton was able to capture this so clearly, despite the weather. It won the Gold award in the World Nature Photography Awards, in the Black and White category.

Jessica Miller, Deputy Online Editor

Svalbard Reindeer above Longyearbyen by Graeme Chesters

Svalbard Reindeer choice for best winter photographs

Svalbard Reindeer above Longyearbyen, from The Long Year Project

My choice for the best winter photographs is by Graeme Chesters. The first recipient of AP’s Rising Star Bursary, arranged in partnership with MPB. Since seeing the work from his first trip which took place at the end of 2021, I have been in awe. Not only from the images and video produced but the stories that accompany them.

As part of his project, which considers a theme of Change, Graeme is documenting a year in the life of the northernmost town in the world – Longyearbyen, located in Svalbard. Where throughout winter they experience three months of polar night (no daylight). Entering polar night there is a civil twilight period before the darkness lengthens by day. During this time there is a small amount of light available for a few hours, allowing for some perspective.

This image considers the surrounding landscape, which is spectacular, as well as the remote vulnerability of the small town placed within it. Whilst strikingly beautiful, there is constant danger – the bitter cold, darkness and polar bears. Not only that, but as one of the fastest warming places on the planet, climate change is at the forefront.

I’m excited to see what Graeme shares next. See more about the project here: Graeme Chesters – documenting climate change in one of the fastest-warming places on the planet

Steve Fairclough, Acting News Editor, and writer

Whiteout at Genting Snow Park by Sam Mellish

Genting Snow Park

Whiteout at Genting Snow Park at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. 13 February 2022 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China. Photo by Sam Mellish/Team GB

As someone who loves both photography and sports one of my favourite genres is, unsurprisingly, sports photography. Over the past year I’ve been involved in the launch of the ‘coffee table’ sports photography magazine 2POINT8, which is where the work of Sam Mellish first came to my attention. Sam is an official photographer for the Team GB at the summer and winter games.

He recently shot the winter games in Beijing, China, and spoke to AP about it. I could have chosen any number of his stunning, colour action shots as one of the best winter photographs. Instead I’ve opted for a simple black and white shot of a whiteout at Genting Snow Park, which led to the postponement of the women’s Slopestyle event. In one image it perfectly sums up the story of how extreme winter weather impacted on what would have been a thrilling day of action… instead it just screams desolation, emptiness and solitude.

How UK athletes got ready for the Olympics: photo story

Best Winter photographs, contributors’ choice

Angela Nicholson, writer, co-founder Camera Jabber, founder SheClicks

The Winter Tree by Jolanta Bujalska-Axon

The Winter Tree by Jolanta Bujalska-Axon

Every month we run a photography challenge on the SheClicks Facebook Group with a different theme each time. The theme for January this year was ‘Winter’. At the end of each month, my job is to select 25 images to go on the gallery page of our website. As a fan of winter from a photographic point of view, it was a real pleasure to look through the January images.There was a fabulous selection, but the one that my eyes rest on the longest is ‘The Winter Tree’ by Jolanta Bujalska-Axon.

Jolanta created her image from a series of photographs that she shot in early January. Some from a walk by a series of canal locks, including a few of snow falling on nearby fields with ICM (intentional camera movement). I love how Jolanta has merged her images and included elements such as cow parsley and birds from previous shoots to create an image with depth and that encapsulates the feeling of misty, cold winter’s day when colour is minimal but contrast and detail come to the fore.

Tracy Calder, writer and co-founder Close-up Photographer of the Year

Dancer by Thorsten Scheuermann

Dancer by Thorsten Scheuermann choice for best winter photographs

Dancer by Thorsten Scheuermann. Second place in the Abstract Views category of IGPOTY 15

There’s a feeling of life and energy in this picture and yet it feels strangely dreamlike and ethereal too. To create the final image, Thorsten combined a series of shots taken with a drone as it circled a tree ablaze with autumn colour. To me, it has all the drama and intrigue of the cyclone sequence in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz where the little house rises into the air, feverishly twisting and turning.

Converting the file(s) to black and white was absolutely inspired as it stops the viewer from becoming distracted by any colours in the background and also gives the tree a wonderful ghostly air. The picture was awarded Second place in the Abstract Views category of IGPOTY 15, and it’s easy to see why. (You can see more images from the competition at www.igpoty.com.)

Jeremy Walker, photographer and writer

Lone Bison, Yellowstone by Tony Spencer

Lone Bison, Yellowstone by Tony Spencer winter photograph

Lone Bison, Yellowstone by Tony Spencer

As a landscape photographer I often judge images with my ultimate accolade…. would I want a print of the image hanging on my wall?

In the case of Tony Spencer’s Lone Bison image it would be a resounding yes. The bleak splendour and sheer scale of the environment dwarfing the lone plodding Bison is captured brilliantly, the light gorgeous.

The format of the image lends itself to the subject matter, emphasising the long journey ahead for the solitary beast. I’m not sure if the image is cropped or was shot as a stitched panorama but it works effortlessly.

If you needed an image that tells the story of Yellowstone in winter, but tells it simply and effectively, this is it. And yes, there is a space on my wall.


Further reading:

The best photographs of 2021

Best photography competitions to enter in 2022

Best photography exhibitions to see in 2022

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