Into the white Woods – How strolling through the snowy forest was freeing my mind

5. März 2018

About my love for winter’s days, a fairy-tale-like shooting day in a snowy forest and wonderful childhood memories. 

Den deutschen Beitrag findest du hier: Wie ein märchenhafter Schneetag den Kopf befreit.

Snowy Day - Schneetag (28)

When Anne Krämer described her idea of shooting in a snowy forest, I was full of enthusiasm from the first second. My mind was circling around cozy, warm knitwear, an old wooden sleigh, pale winter skin and snow in my hair, trees, trees, and even more trees.

It sounded so dreamy and fairy-tale-like.

I love working with artists like Anne. Of course, I always prepare very extensively for a shoot. I choose the theme and think about how I can transport it in an authentic way, I think of a story to tell behind the pictures, I make plans for looks, search for matching pieces, maybe brands to work with, the order of the motives to make them fit to the looks I choose, and much more.

But in the end such a shooting day is always like a big surprise bag. There are so many circumstances coming together, and in the end it is the photographer’s vision that makes the pictures coming to life.

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A fairytale-like day in the cold Erzgebirge

In fact, we really had to search very long for a good place to shoot. In the past years those icy cold winter days in Germany mainly occured in February, still we hardly had any snow in Leipzig throughout this season.

So we chose to do a lovely trip together about two hours away, into the beautiful Erzgebirge. We were looking for some forests online the evening before, but in the end we simply drove by, stopped and walked along the woods to search for the best locations.

The Erzgebirge is well known for its wintersports areas like Oberwiesenthal, its former mining industry, as well as for its traditional handmade Christmas crafts, such as wooden decorations and toys. Every German family owns some ornaments from the Erzgebirge, whether its Christmas tree decorations braided from straw, hand-carved smoking figurines or a so-called „Schwippbogen“, a large wooden bow carrying candles, embellished with small mining figures or symbols of love and nature.

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The forest we were shooting in was mainly shaped by birch trees and spruces. Anne was looking for some conifers, whose twigs were covered with snow, while I was absolutely in love with the light, slender trunks of the birches.

These totally reminded me of the beautiful mystical woods of the Russian fairytales. I think all of you know Father Frost and The Golden Horns, where the famous and dreaded witch Baba Yaga is a housing in a living hut in the deep woods.

While we were strolling through the forest, passing a frozen lake, which was unfortunately too far away to take photos with, stepping over cones and roots, and I was putting on a second outfit for some more pictures, it really started to snow. It seemed that nature wanted to show itself from the best side and wished to make our shooting series as beautiful as possible.

This is when Anne captured my surprised and smiling face in the following pictures.

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All these photos were taken by wonderful Anne Krämer, who is a great portrait, wedding and nature photographer based in Leipzig. An amazing young lady and artist!

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Cardigan and skirt are both vintage. The Scottish Shetland wool cardigan is from one of my favourite vintage shops from UK, which you can find here*.

Diving into the snowy forest.

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When snowy forests bring back memories

Somehow, I always felt like a child of snow. I was born in the Thuringian Forest, the so-called “green heart” of Germany. The first five years of my life we lived in a small town on the Rennsteig, an area which is known for its 170km walking route through the mountains and the woods.

Because of the geographical circumstances, we had a lot of cold days and snow there throughout the year, more than in many other parts of Germany.

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Thank you so much Anne Krämer for choosing me as a model for this theme. I felt like the happy five year-old mini me on this day. 

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I love Anne’s eye for details. And right at the moment when we were looking for a good place to start our photos, the sunrays were breaking through the branches and offered us this lovely place.

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Snowy Day - Schneetag (12)Of course, one does not remember a lot from the age of four of five years, but in my memories there was always snow. My parents had to scrape the ice off the car windows every morning (sometimes they had to find the right one first, when all of the vehicles were covered completely), carry the coals into our small flat to keep us warm, and I remember my beautiful big sleigh made of light wood, with which my parents brought me to the kindergarten or into the woods, where we were racing down the large white hills, while I was packed like a little fluffy polar bear in thick layers of winter clothing.

One snow highlight I really loved were the traditional dog sleigh races taking place in our woods every year. I loved seeing how the impressive, big and strong huskies were pulling their humans through the snow, their speed, the joy and their fluffy fur. And afterwards us children were always allowed to pet them.

Though all of this was so many moons ago, these are always the moments coming to my mind when the snow is falling. Many people complain about the cold, the coming up problems with their cars or bikes  in winter. But I simply feel like this season belongs to me.

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Throwback to a winter many moons ago, back in my old home. My fashion might have changed slightly, but my love for this season stayed the same. 

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I think we should sometimes see such beautiful events of mother nature more from a child’s view and leave all the adult „problems“ behind for a moment.

Take a second to realize beauty of the falling snow. One snow flake never looks like the other – like amazingly symmetrical small crystal stars. When you take a closer look at them you see, that each is of the crystals is having a unique shape, like a small fading and fragile piece of art, and all of this was created by nature.

Take a moment to put your hands into the icy snow. Form a ball and watch it fly through the branches of a conifer. Or search for tiny pawprints in the fresh snow between the roots and cones.

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I found this beautiful traditional Bavarian dress on Etsy*, where I like to find most of my vintage garments in various vintage shops. All of the original wooden buttons are still on it. I was told that women wore it more as sort of pinafore, but I simply combined it with a woolen turtle neck.

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The birch tree wood reminded me of these typical old Russian fairytale movies. 

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I love this feeling of the icy cold snow crystals between my fingers. Thank you Anne for capturing such beautiful details as well! 

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Many of you probably live in smaller towns or in the country and think – what is she talking about, I am outside in the nature every day! But when you live in a big city – just like me – maybe also sit on your pc every day, you hardly take the time to drive out into the nature and enjoy these freezing days (unless you have a dog and go for a walk much more often).

We mainly do this in summer, when it’s warm and the sun is shining. Then we climb our bikes to visit the lakes nearby Leipzig, just like hundreds of others doing the same. But this shooting day showed me how good it felt, how I need these escapes of loneliness from loud streets, the daily life at home and the typical warm sofa we always think of when its winter.

I like the cold, I love when my breath is creating a dusty cloud around my head, the noise of my feet stepping on the fresh white earth, and the sleepy, calming atmosphere of a snowy forest.

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This day gave me so much energy, repose and moments of happiness. Putting my hands into the cold snow and the moment the flakes were starting to fall was like a small therapy.

It felt like nature told me how I needed this.

Stollberg – An enchanting, historical village in the Erzgebirge

Stollberg Snowy forest - Schneetag (48)

On our way back to Leipzig we had a short stop in Stollberg. It is one of the oldest Saxon cities (first named as „civitas“ in 1343) and we had a stroll through this lovely town.

The timbered houses in the centre were my personal highlights, especially this one on our photographs. The so-called Carl von Bach Haus was built in 1810 and named after an important engineer, who was born at this place in 1843.

Stollberg was also one of the last places bombarded before the end of the Second World War. The reason why we stopped here was the grandmother of my partner, who peacefully died last year. She was born in Stollberg and lived there for a long time.

We have never been to Stollberg before, so we wanted to see the place where she was raised, and where she survived the attacks of the war. I think it was a very touching and wonderful idea to come there and think of her for a while, and also about all the memorable days she must have spent there with her family, at church or at her beloved choir.

Though we only saw a few streets, we already noticed Stollberg is a place full of history.

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The house I was talking about is now a cute, cozy tearoom. 

In these photos I am wearing a beautiful linen dress by Son de Flor. It is normally a summer dress, but I paired it with a very special Scottish scarf and a vintage belt. This scarf shows the pattern of the MacKenzie Clan known from the famous Outlander series.

My dad brought me this one last year, when he went on a motorbike tour through the Scottish Highlands and also stopped by at Inverness, where the fascinating story of Claire and Jamie Fraser began.

Stollberg Snowy forest - Schneetag (48)

And after such a wonderful day in the icy cold, snowy forest and the small villages of the Erzgebirge, I sat happily on my warm sofa again. Just like all the other lovely, cozy winter evenings.

But this time with great memories in mind and a little, childish smile on my face. 

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Another wonderful post on escaping into nature:
1970s summer – feel the free spirits of nature

 

 

*In this post I used an affiliate link. In case you buy something via this link I will get a small percentage of the profit. This does not change anything for you, it simply helps me to maintain my website and keep it free from banners.

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