I LIKE TO POST A NEW “TIPS ON HOW TO TAKE GREAT WINTER PHOTOS” EVERY WINTER. I SHOULD JUST RE-POST THE SAME ONE OVER AND OVER, BUT, THAT’S NOT VERY FUN, PLUS I THINK I LEARN MORE EACH YEAR. I ALSO LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS IN TAKING WINTER PHOTOS.
LET’S START OFF WITH THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM I HAVE HAD AND PROBABLY EVERY PHOTOGRAPHER HAS HAD ABOUT TAKING WINTER PHOTOS:
1- YOUR LIGHT METER IN your camera is not calibrated for white ! Let me explain a little bit. If you go to a real camera store, you will find something called an 18% grey card. Why? Because your light meter is calibrated to that color. Period. The great camera companies of the world have decided that if you mixed all the colors in a normal scene and mixed them together, you would get: 18% grey. So, when you take a picture of a beautiful white snow scene, your photo will come out grey, or in some cases, kind of a blue tint because of the reflections of the sky. So, if you want your snow to turn out to be white, like your eye sees it, you have to fool your light meter, or overide it. So, you need to overexpose at least +.03EV to +1EV to get your snow to come out white. When I worked in the camera store, we told people to over expose +1.5EV to get the snow to turn out white. I think that would depend on how much snow to other color you have in your photo. So, in my personal opinion, try +1EV overexposure and you will be more happy most of the time. If your camera does not have an overexposure compensation switch, then you might be in trouble. Now, I have seen cameras with a setting for : sand or snow. Do that one. That will work.
2- If your camera has a white balance adjustment, then learn to use that. Sometimes with the reflective colors around you, the camera may have a hard time doing this automatically. Really, try to learn how to do this manually. You will be glad you did.
3- Remember you are taking pictures in a harsh environment. What will be the one thing that could fail in the cold?
I often think that I have never had trouble with batteries going dead while taking pictures of landscape photos before. You will in this kind of cold. So, take an extra set of batteries with you. That should be common practice anyway, plus, if you want to use them right away, keep them in your pockets, where they will be warm and ready to use.
4- Be careful as you take off your lens cap on and off. If you are out taking pictures in the snow and wet weather, you could get water on the lens cap, and thus transfer the water onto your lens.
Sometimes it’s the last thing on your mind, if you are shooting things fast. So, be careful of that accident that could happen.
5- One last thing, and I had this happen to me, is watch out for condensation. So, you may be in your nice warm car. Then you get out to take a photo, get the camera equipment cold, and then bring your camera equipment back into the warm car, and then back out into the cold to take another picture, and….. oh, oh, your lens is all fogged from condensation on the lens. Because you had the camera get warm and now you keep taking it back and forth into the cold. So, watch out for that problem.
Winter can often produce some of the most beautiful photos. But, it is extreme weather you are up against. So, be aware of the above precautions and you will have some great photos.