With the arrival and departure of JONAS I thought it appropriate to offer tips on how to create great winter landscapes. Winter time, as are the other seasons, is an amazing time of the year to create amazing images.
Aside from using your composition skills, there are some important tips you should be aware of to properly prepare yourself for shooting in the winter elements.
Having lived in and weathered many winters in Upstate New York I can tell you that first and foremost DRESS APPROPRIATELY for the elements. Remember properly covering your head, feet and hands is key to keeping warm.
Those of you who wear eye glasses know that when you change climates your glasses fog. Same thing happens causing condensation in the glass elements of your lenses and the mirror and viewfinder of your camera. So it is important that you allow your equipment to adjust to the elements before creating your images. Whatever you do, DO NOT put your camera under your coat as it will prove to be feudal; additionally your body heat and the moisture created from that heat can ultimately damage your camera. Trust me, there is nothing worse than missing that once-in-a-lifetime exposure only to have your equipment fog up as soon as it’s re-exposed to the cold.
Its a well known fact that batteries drain faster in colder temperatures. Keep backups warn and easily accessible in your coat/jacket pocket. Stop by Larmon Photo and purchase Lithium Ion batteries.
When shooting winter landscapes keep in mind that you are in cooler and wet weather and there are a couple of essentials. Use an appropriate camera case. Whatever style you prefer, a traditional case, a modern style slingback or a backpack you want to be functional and afford you easy access your equipment. When you consider you maybe using longer exposures stability becomes paramount, so you will want to have a study tripod. Stop by Larmon or LarmonPhoto.com and check out our selection of LowePro and Promaster camera cases. You will find that many of these cases are equip with a protective “raincoat” to keep moisture out. While there you should check out our vast selection of tripods.
More than any other style of winter landscape images, I highly recommend carrying and using Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing filters with you to reduce glare from all the white snow.
TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO…
- DO NOT attempt to edit your images in the field. Your LCD monitor is not as accurate as you think, and you may end up deleting an amazing image before you have the opportunity to view it properly when you are editing your images.
- ALWAYS use your histograms to analyze your exposures.
- ALWAYS carry additional memory cards with you and pre-format them prior to your venture.
- ALWAYS capture your images in RAW format as you have far more flexibility to manipulate a RAW file and make corrections during the editing process. If you do not have a RAW file converter you can either subscribe to MYLIO at Larmon or subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud Lightroom.
- ALWAYS use Manual mode. When you consider winter time means snow, and snow is white and white reflects light, your camera will meter the reflected light, using your camera’s AUTO/PROGRAM settings or even Shutter or Aperture Priority mode will give you false hope and more times than not provide you with inaccurate results which will yield darker images. You will be able to compensate for this by using the manual mode.
- If you feel you must use Aperture or Shutter Priority modes I highly recommend adjusting your camera’s EV compensation.
- ALWAYS use a traditional light meter or a spot meter if you have one, or use your in camera meter by metering a dark object in your composition before making your exposure.
- ALWAYS slightly overexpose your images when shooting winter landscapes and snow scenes. Not to be repetitive, but you can not rely on the visual accuracy of your LCD monitor!
- ALWAYS custom white balance. Be sure to bring either a Gray Card (18% gray) or a Black/Gray/White target for a reference point when you are editing in Lightroom.
- Last, but defiantly not least, remember you are working in snow, so whatever you do, DO NOT leave footprints in the snow in any are that you may include in a location where you may create your winter landscapes unless you desire the footprints to be there to aid in telling your story!