It’s that time of the year again, time for you to either get out of the northern climes and head where there is no snow (and ignore this blog post!) or it’s time for you to get out your camera and go out and take some pictures. I’ll assume you are reaching for your camera.
And this means it is time for me to give you some hints on how to get your best snowy images.
1. Go out either during a snow storm or immediately after. There are lots of reasons for this: the contrast is low so you won’t have to worry about exposure issue, there is snow plastered everywhere so it looks really wintery, the falling snow obscures the background so it won’t be distracting and nobody else will be out getting your great images! If it is really hideous outside photograph from your car and just shoot out your window or find some shelter behind a building.
2. Don’t go out in the middle of a sunny day. It is to contrasty which is a nice way of saying the light stinks. yes, you can shoot HDR pictures but why would you? the light stinks! Go out for early light or late light when the shadows are long and the contrast is less.
3. Try shooting at twilight when there is still color in the sky. The snow in your picture will catch some of color giving your picture a nice warm look. Even better, dawn isn’t so early in the winter and sunset isn’t so late. Can’t hate that!
4. Don’t include the sky if it’s cloudy unless you have to. Your picture will look dull and all one color. Zoom in and fill your frame with your subject and forget about the dull white clouds.
5. Photograph water especially rivers and streams. And use a polarizing filter to eliminate all the glare. On cloudy days the water will be black and the picture will look like a black and white image. Shoot it as a color shot, it will turn out black and white. This is processing by Mom Nature.
6. If you can’t find winter (snow) here is a trick I have used a number of times. Go to a ski area and ride the lifts to the very top where winter is likely hiding. Ski areas charge relatively little for a non-skier to ride the lifts. Bring along snowshoes and stay out of the way but you should have the entire mountain top to photograph. If you live near a ski area watch the weather and try to wait for a time when the summit trees are heavily flocked with snow. Oh, you don’t have to walk down. You can ride the lift back down just like you rode it up.
7. Don’t forget the human environment and humans too! Barns, fences, wood piles, gardens, all look great when covered by snow. People are also, I think, more photogenic in winter when they are all covered up in heavy clothes and their expressions often match the weather at the time. Kids having fun in the snow make for great action shots.
8. And don’t forget animals in winter. Birds at birdfeeders are great subjects for winter photography. Put up a photogenic perch near a feeder and if you have more than one feeder up take them all down so birds are forced to go to the feeder you want and to your perch. Focus on the perch, be patient and you’re good to go. Also, mammals look great in the cold months because their pelts are the thickest and most luxurious looking. Triple D Game farm is the place for the best winter mammal photography- snow leopards, raccoons, wolves, mountain lions. What are you waiting for?