Winter Time Photography
Each Year as a photographer we hope that we will get a white Christmas. Not just because it looks nice or its that time of the year. More so in the Uk it is always a matter of chance if it will snow or not.
So it’s always a good idea to prepare for the eventuality that it may snow.
So we wake up one morning and see the more brighter light coming from the window. A sure sign that there is snow about. So where do we go what do we photograph. So many questions I’m sure we have at times rushed out not thinking of what we want to achieve. But just to get out in the snow is always a thrill especially on a day off.
Are great place to start with a mix on trees, people & open spaces and with the fresh snow on the ground will look amazing.
The countryside is one of the best places to go as being away from the urban side of life affords a great experience. Trekking through the snow, you may encounter farm live stock. Plenty of wildlife, as a tip sometimes handy to take with you some appropriate feed for the wild life. (not farm live stock however) The countryside also will have plenty of open space for landscape images being in a valley surrounding can be a breath taking experience indeed.
Rivers and waterways:
These offer a great chance to capture a snowy river scene. This applies to local duck ponds etc again a good idea to take some feed also great for kids too. If you live near the ocean or a main river these two can provide a vast amount of activity shipping boats etc. As well as the general population all enjoying the seasonal snow fall.
Not uncommon are buildings such as churches, countryside mansions situated in parks, or abandoned buildings. Old wrecks or abandoned vehicles etc all have a value to winter photography. Built up locations cities & towns to will all have something to offer.
Where to find locations:
I find that either Bing or Google Maps are the best source of looking around your local area trying different places to try and photograph.
Of course the snow is commonly know as bad weather along with weather warnings. Yes it’s cold and you can if not careful get into difficulty if your not prepared. Hence running out the door camera in hand is not always the best policy.
Remember to plan your trip especially if your taking the family along. Remember to wear winter clothes, gloves, hat, boots. If your planning on being out for some hours take a ruck sack with food, hot drinks or water, mobile charged up. A small flash light as it gets dark quicker. Even something like a hi vis vest because you just never know. Go prepared and get back safe.
Depending on what you want to photograph depends on what you want to take as far as gear is concerned. In most cases one camera body up to two lens, a cleaning cloth. Water proof gear for the camera and lens a good waterproof camera bag.
Memory cards & spare batteries. Quick tip keep your batteries close to your body but not touching your skin as keeping them warm will prolong the life. Cold will kill a camera battery when exposed.
Take into consideration if you intend to change lens and its snowing hard or even lightly the last thing you want is any form of water inside your camera, if you need to swap out a lens, I would suggest either finding some shelter near by or some form of cover you place over your self to help protect the camera and lens, always handy to have a flash light or better still the head mounted torch which leaves your hands free a great idea and very useful. Covers can be bought from hiking type shops and are very cheap these days.
Again depending on what you want to capture, the exposure of your camera will be thrown slightly with so much white around, My suggestion for crispy white snow scenes would be to adjusted your Exposure compensation to about a stop or stop and half, if you don not your images may look a little grey other than white. The exposure compensation mode depending on your model of camera in this case a canon DSLR camera would be set by depressing the shutter button half way as you would to get focus then turning the dial selector to the right and you will see the exp: compensation reading move more to the right as right is brighter and left is darker.
If like me your shooting in RAW then I would leave white balance on auto as you can change it later in post processing via photo shop or light room. If your shooting Jpegs then see what the weather is doing generally if cloudy set your cameras white balance to cloudy, I would not suggest using tungsten as you will have a very blue looking image unless that’s the look your going for, Or maybe take a custom white balance, by simply taking a photo of something white next to you and setting the white balance to that image then your set ready to go. (as each camera is different you may want to read the user guide that came with your camera or have a look online)
Final tip acclimatize:
Not a word photographs use often but a great tip to remember just prior to venturing out is that your camera has more than likely just come from a warm place your home and is now going into a cold, so just before going out have your camera near a door or if you have a porch or something that is generally cooler then the rest of the house leave it in there for a few minutes, as if you take your camera straight outside it will mist over and if you start rubbing the lens it will just make it worse, and your images will be effected by this.
Have safe fun Photos in the snow.
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