In some parts of the US, we have recently been experiencing what is called a “polar vortex,” with multiple inches of snow and subzero temperatures causing extremely icy conditions. For most people, this is quite an inconvenience— with businesses and roads shutting down for days at a time. As rumor of another cold front hits the news, I figure this is a good time to lay eyes on some beautiful winter wonderland photos, shot by Anchorage, Ala.-based adventure travel and lifestyle photographers HagePhoto for SKHOOP, a Swedish clothing line.
The shoot took place in northern Japan, with snowfall up to a meter every night and continuing all throughout the day. This fit right in with the usual “get out and enjoy life” message that HagePhoto conveys. Matt and Agnes elaborated on the beauty of the shoot location:
For westerners, the country is the definition of exotic. Something astonishing, or confusing, lies around very corner. The feel of these small villages was perfect for the photography we envisioned with subtle earth tones acting as a neutral backdrop for SKHOOP’s signature bright colors. Plus it snowed almost the entire time; it was like working in a holiday snow globe on some days.
The mission was to produce work that showcased the active lifestyle and travel with a sense of adventure that the brand is known for. Of course, the biggest asset of the shoot also turned out to be the greatest challenge: snow. Although the massive amount of light fluff falling from the sky made for interesting pictures, it also made it difficult for Matt and Agnes to focus on the subjects, as they said autofocus was useless at times:
We have a lot of abstract outtakes where the autofocus locked onto huge snow flakes just inches from the lens. Snow also would rapidly pile up on the gear and blow into the lens. We used an umbrella, just like shooting in a torrential downpour. Thankfully the temperatures were cold enough to keep our gear from turning into a watery mess.
The images have been well received and are being used online for SKHOOP’s site and social media platforms. The Hages enjoyed the lifestyle aspect of the project that isn’t a part of their usual work:
The work for our other brands was more about skiing and being out in the mountains. So having this lifestyle project really helped us slow down and explore the other aspects of traveling here. It was amazing to walk around the small mountain villages in Japan, looking for locations to shoot. Something interesting would present itself around every corner we turned. To warm up, we’d duck into a noodle shop or find a lively izakaya for a bite to eat and a saki. A lot of times we’d find an interesting spot and just take the time to play. It was a lot fun.