Photographing Snow Scenes

When the land gets covered in snow, it transforms into a different place, something magical, mysterious or desolate. Pictures of winter landscapes can be mesmerizing but taking those shots can be one big challenge. Not only will you have to think of composition and lighting but also how the cold will affect your camera gear. Before you head out into the world of snow, there are a few things to remind yourself about:

Protect yourself – keep yourself warm with gloves and a jacket. Not only will you be less uncomfortable but it will lessen the chances that you will shiver and cause camera shake. Gloves might make it awkward for you to hold and use the camera but numb fingers won’t be a good thing, either. If you are in not so familiar territory such as hiking in the mountains, stay away from snow drifts and areas which might be dangerous. Taking a picture of that wonderland of snow in the distance is not worth risking your health for. 

Protect your camera gear – Camera batteries are very susceptible to cold temperatures and there is a possibility they won’t last as long as they usually do. Bring extra batteries, just to be on the safe side, and keep all your batteries as warm and cozy as possible by placing them in your pocket next to your body or by keeping your camera in an insulated bag when not in use. Avoid keeping your camera slung around your neck and try not to carry a lot of gear while walking. The bulkier the equipment you carry, the bigger the chances of you losing your balance. Not only might you get hurt if you do, but your gear might suffer, too. When you arrive home, give your camera time to adjust to the change of temperature before using it to avoid moisture or fogging of the lens.

Adjust exposure settings – snow is white and has reflective properties, and without adjusting camera settings, your images can end up looking underexposed or dirty gray. The reason for this is that the camera meter is designed to compute for the middle gray in a scene and if what the lens sees is a lot of white, the light meter will compensate by underexposing the snow, hence making it appear gray instead.   A lot of digital cameras come with automatic presets and you can use the snow scene preset which can usually do a good job in using the right exposure. But you might want more control over your camera settings and use the manual mode instead.  To get around the possibility of underexposure, you can deliberately overexpose the shot by adding a stop of two to the exposure settings. You can also lessen the chances of getting images with the wrong exposure by bracketing your shots so that you will have options to choose from. 

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