December 2013 Photo Tips
Winter Photography Tips:
Remember the three basics to getting a good shot: SAS – concentrate on the SUBJECT then see how you can draw ATTENTION to that subject then SIMPLIFY by making sure nothing is in the shot that will distract. Avoid having the horizon dead center, remember the rule of thirds and look for leading lines which will draw the eye into the photo.
Exposure challenges with snow: The modern digital camera has a very accurate matrix or evaluative through the lens meter (TTL) that measures the light reflected back adjusts for average luminance (50% lightness or middle grey). Therefore snow may meter too bright if it is a large part of your image. The camera exposure in aperture priority or shutter priority may then compensate and make the snow more light grey. You want the snow to be pure white and slightly overexposed. The color balance may appear blue tinged (will suggest the cold but may be not what you want). Therefore when shooting in aperture exposure mode, add +1/3 to 2/3 exposure compensation if needed and perform an in camera White Balance for the most accurate color or just use a Cloudy white balance to warm up the Blue if desired. Avoid Auto White Balance.
Cold protection: Remember to dress in layers, wear hi tech snow boots, a hat, and gloves made for cross country skiing or, if planning an all-day shoot, use ice climbing gloves. Keep your spare batteries warm in an inner pocket of your snow jacket and pack plenty of them, since the cold will discharge batteries much quicker. Avoid breathing on your lens. Breathe through your mouth to avoid getting condensation on your viewfinder. When going from a warm to cool place or the reverse, protect your camera and lens with a sealed plastic bag lined with a white towel inside to absorb the condensation. This may take a few hours. Keep the gear in your car when working covered with a white towel when out of the bag. Choose a memory card suited to extreme temperatures. Avoid changing lenses in winter weather.
Great Skies: In the winter, dawn and dusk still add wonderful color and mystery to your photos. Grey skies can add drama. Plan on shooting during a snow storm or right after one for the most mystery and controllable light. Avoid full sun or mixed and dappled light for a landscape with snow.
Remember foreground, mid ground and background elements: Zoom out or stand back to look for foreground elements to balance out the photo and add interest or flow to the rest of the image.
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