Perfect Photos of Winter
Winter, darkness, and the cold, these circumstances do not necessarily mean that you can do nothing besides sitting comfortably in front of the fireplace. You can also put your winter to good use shooting remarkable photos, you need, however, to watch out as the camera light meter is easily fooled in winter. Fortunately, knowing a few simple methods will solve the problem.
The winter landscape is among the most beautiful subjects of all. In nature, there is a special calm when the soft white snow settles everywhere like a light blanket. In the depth of winter, it seems that all activities are on standby, and a unique calm is present everywhere. Trying to capture this almost magical calm is one of the obvious possibilities of shooting in winter.
However, when winter means business you need to take good care of yourself as well as your equipment. The life span of your batteries decreases significantly at low temperatures. The most important rule about winter photography is, however, to take good care of yourself. This means that a photographer needs to give some extra thought to the way he dresses. Handling a camera housing or a metal lens can be rough on your fingers at temperatures below zero Celsius. If your fingers hurt because your gloves are no good or if you are shaking all over from cold you are not really likely to bring home any good photos.
Winter can be highly photogenic, but it is a season that requires a little extra time for planning.
In winter, the days are shorter. In mid-summer, you need to be an early riser in order to capture the soft morning light, this is not the case in winter. In winter, light is very different and for many purposes much more interesting.
Come winter, many photographers pack away their camera. Perhaps they have already tried taking winter photos that did not turn out well. If truth be told, your camera is easily fooled in winter. It is, in particular, the light meter that is really put to the test when snow has fallen, there is, however, no reason for putting your camera on a shelf for several months.
This photo was shot in the middle of the night, and only the light of the moon was used for exposing it. If you want to succeed with this technique you need a tripod and an extremely slow shutter speed.
The secret to shooting good winter photos is exposure compensation. The sheer length of the term makes exposure compensation sound very complicated. In reality, it is not very difficult.
The camera light meter will show a tendency to underexpose photos in winter. This is caused by light being reflected by the snow which, in turn, causes the available light to be very intense. In an underexposed winter photo the snow will seem grey instead of white, and grey snow is not very becoming to a winter scenery. Consequently, the best way of getting good results is to force your camera to overexpose your photos somewhat. You can read more about exposure compensation in our popular book Fototeknik (Methods of Photography).
Icicles on the brink of a Norwegian stream. Nikon D2X, 80-200mm, F11, 3 seconds, Tripod.
Always carry a spare set of batteries when you are shooting winter photos outdoors. Carry them close to your body, e.g. in an inner pocket of your jacket. The trick is to keep the batteries warm to prolong their life span. Batteries that have been thoroughly chilled will often die out after very few exposures.
Specially produced photo gloves are available on the market. These gloves have openings that leave one or more fingertips uncovered. Using this type of glove can be a really good idea in really low temperatures. Handling a camera housing or a lens that has been exposed to temperature far below zero Celsius can be quite unpleasant.
Make sure your jacket is both windproof and waterproof and that it also breathes well. Besides these basic features, choosing a jacket with many easily accessible pockets of different sizes is a good idea. Use these pockets for safekeeping different small pieces of equipment, such as for instance filters that might just come in handy on your trip. You will most probably need to sit still waiting for the right light, and for this reason you need clothes that isolate really well.
When you are hunting for winter photos you really need to consider what you are wearing.
When it is freezing outside, planning in advance usually pays off. Make sure to keep your photo bag tidy and organised. Where are your lenses, filters, et cetera? Plan ahead, and organise your things in as simply a way as possible. Having to use a lot of time looking for a particular lens while a blizzard is howling through the forest is never much fun.
You do not need a blue sky in order to shoot beautiful winter photos. Fog, wind, smoke, steam, melt water, drifting snow or clouds are all elements that are useful for creating interesting photos. Check the weather forecast and try planning your photography in accordance with the information made available.
Newly fallen snow, hoarfrost, and icicles hanging from a branch. Winter is a time with many special subjects for your photos. By working with and getting better at managing content and composition you will be able to shoot extremely beautiful details of the subjects of winter.
Now that you have read about winter photography, you might be intersted in more facts about ISO Values.