Whispers of Winter

I love to film nature during the winter. The woods fall silent, the air is crisp, the sky the brightest blue.
It’s a great time as well for wildlife filming if you’re dressed warmly and patient.

In the predawn hours this morning I could feel the whispers of Winter starting to creep in as I stood on my back deck.
The leaves on some trees are already starting to get the slightest hint of their Fall colors. Before to long, the snows will once again return to Iowa.


And as always, shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!

Kevin J Railsback is a wildlife and nature filmmaker

By | 2016-11-06T09:39:10+00:00 March 10th, 2009|Categories: Short Films|4 Comments

About the Author:

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD cameras for Panasonic. His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel as well as in commercials for such corporate giants as AT&T.

4 Comments

  1. Ingrid Taylar December 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    I share your love of winter photography and see it as utterly magical, owing (most likely) to my childhood love of the Narnia books. Funny thing is, I have yet to live in a place where bona fide winter stayed all winter long. And I crave it. I was in California for the last many years, and now in the rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest. It’s one of my life plans, to live at least *one* winter in a place as icy, snowy and beautifully depicted as your imagery here. Are you still living in this spot?

    • Kevin J Railsback December 6, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Ingrid,

      I love winters. For one, you have far less people willing to venture out into the cold so I have nature more to myself than any other time of year.

      There really is something magical during a snowfall. It’s so quiet that you can hear the flakes hitting the dried grass. You become very aware of your own breathing and beating heart.

      Most of this was filmed at my local nature center just a few miles from my home. So whenever there’s a snowstorm I try to get out and film if at all possible.

      Even though I try not to push wildlife at any time of year, I’m even more aware of putting pressure on them during the winter since they are struggling just to stay alive. I’d rather admire from afar and not get a shot then to stress an animal that is already stressed.

      The one nice thing about the nature center is there are plenty of people cross country skiing, snowshoeing or just walking the trails so the wildlife is accustomed to seeing people and are more tolerant. It’s when I explore other areas that I try to lessen my impact.

      The shot of the whitetail deer buck was actually shot from inside my car as the buck crossed the road and over the hill at the nature center. I could have stopped and followed but like I said, less stress on them the better.

      We don’t have any snow at this time so Eastern Iowa is all brown and not looking too Christmassy. 🙂
      Looking forward to that first big snow!

      I’d love to visit Yellowstone in the winter one of these years. Who knows, maybe we can organize a group of people to make a trip!

      • Ingrid Taylar December 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

        [btw, I neglected to say in my last comment that I looked up Last Hope after you mentioned it. What a great org to support!]

        Kevin, I might be the only person at your website not commenting on gear! It’s not a deliberate oversight, rather my general lack of familiarity with the video medium and executing great footage. Your site has, however, inspired me to link out, to learn more about the process you go through.

        I appreciate what you write about not stressing the animals. They face so much pressure=. It makes a huge difference, doesn’t it, when we encounter them in protected areas. When I lived in the Bay Area and friends would visit a hunted area like Gray Lodge, they’d always comment on how difficult it was to just view ducks and geese … that the slightest crack of a twig under foot sent the birds flying.

        In those cases, I usually took people afterwards to a place like Lake Merritt Refuge in Oakland. It’s a city refuge, but huge flocks of migratory birds come and stay for the winter. The birds are a tad overly-habituated, but it helps for people not familiar with wild animals, to observe more natural, non-stressed behavior.

        It’s funny you mention Yellowstone. Hugh and I actually put it on the calendar for next winter. It’s our aspiration, we have nothing booked. We just did that to make sure we did not forget this is where we want to be next winter. I know at least one other person who’d be on board for that, so we should stay in touch about it in 2015 or 2016.

        • Kevin Railsback December 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

          Ingrid,

          To me, gear is just a tool. My grandfather was a master carpenter and he could build a house with a handsaw, hammer and nails. The circular saw and nail gun just make the job easier.
          Put them in my hands and I’d end up in the hospital. 🙂

          I’m sure Michelangelo was asked a million times what brush he used to paint the Sistine Chapel and people were shocked when they bought a camel hair #5 and couldn’t get the same results. 🙂

          My ultimate goal is to teach people how to shoot better nature and wildlife video in hopes that they can share the beauty of nature with others and in turn help save what is left. So much has gone already. Places that I’ve filmed before are now Texas Road Houses and hair salons.

          In working on my challenge film I plan to spend some time just sitting and being in nature. I’m amazed how when you just stop and get out of the fast lane of life how much nature you discover that would have otherwise gone unseen.

          Yellowstone next winter would be just about perfect. I already have the gear from a cancelled trip a few years ago. Long story on that one but it even involved the governor of Montana and in the end I wouldn’t have been able to pay all the ranger fees etc to do. So I lost money from my deposit but I’m not going to be denied again! 🙂 I just can’t ever use any of the footage I shoot there. Like I said, long story!! 🙂

          I’m sure

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