Monday, December 12, 2011
Ten Tips For Photographing Winter Weather—12/12/11
How to photograph snow & ice, and keep it from ruining your camera
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1. Make sure you're comfortable and protected. You won't be able to make great pictures if all you can think about his how cold your toes are. Trust me; it's no fun and you'll end up going in early before you get the shot. So take the time to dress appropriately and ensure you'll be as comfortable as possible while out in the elements.
2. Understand the appropriate exposure adjustments. If you're shooting in sunlight, the basic daylight exposure rules (1/ISO at f/16) no longer apply. On a normal sunny day you'll need to close down at least one stop when shooting on snow, maybe even a stop-and-a-half. Because the bright white surroundings reflect so much light, they make a nice fill light, but they also make everything much brighter. That also means flare can be a bigger problem too, so watch out for that when shooting in the general direction of the sun.
3. Adjust your white balance to keep drab and gray light from looking drab and gray. With the right white balance it can turn either cool and blue or warm and inviting. I find that a bit of a blue tint lends to the cold feeling of a winter scene when used appropriately. Either way, you want to try a WB preset for open shade or tungsten or even adjust the Kelvin temperature to make subtler color shifts. Or you can always set a custom white balance or shoot RAW and adjust the balance perfectly in post.
4. Since snow can so completely cover everything in a blanket of white, you'll need to look for simple graphic shapes, patterns and designs to break up the montony. Repetition is key whether it comes from patterns in texture, light or shadow. When in doubt, get up close to find the subtle patterns that can poke through snow and ice. Speaking of ice, highlights and reflections can be a great way to find interest in winter images. Whether shooting a reflected color on an icy surface or a light refracting through a frozen icicle, the transparency and specularity of ice make it an ideal subject in winter.
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