The most difficult seasons to take photographs is winter. Many photographs that are taken during the white season are not what was intended and are never printed. You may have had a great shot planned but the camera let you down. The issue is the automatic setting on the camera. Throw out the auto setting and go manual or almost manual for happy winter photographs.
The white is throwing out the automatic settings of the camera and it will not give the correct reading for a good exposure. The rule of snow photography is very simple. “Most of your photographs will probably turn out too dark with possibly with a shade of blue, if you let your metre be your guide.” There is also an old saying, “If it is bright, add light.”
When your camera metre is pointed at a predominantly white snowy scene, the metre “thinks” that it is measuring a very bright scene and recommends an exposure that makes the white snow appear gray (midtone, or darker than white). Snow should to appear to be white but the internal camera settings try to set them to 18% grey. A photographer needs to overexpose from the incorrect metre reading. (be sure to metre just snow). The amount of overexposure necessary to do this varies, depending upon the lighting conditions, and just how white you want your snow to look.
If you still aren’t quite sure of what you want, set your shutter speed at increments of ½ and experiment, try bracketing your exposures. There are so many approaches to snow photography, use the method that works the best for you.
When editing digital photos, the areas that are blown out or overexposed are not salvageable for most cases using Photoshop. The overexposed area has no data to salvage so it is white and nothing will change that.
Protecting Your Camera
• Keep your camera in the car for a bit before you go shooting. Give it time to acclimatise to the weather. Do not take it in and out of warm areas because it will freeze up and condensation will form.
• Take along as many extra batteries as you feel you might need based on the temperature. Cold eats Batteries
• If it is snowing, protect your camera with a zip-lock bag..
• Do not blow the snow off the camera lens as the condensation from your breath might freeze on the lens. Brush all snow off instead.
• When you are done for the day, place the camera into a small plastic bag to protect from condensation on the camera when it is brought inside.
Photography during the winter is a challenge, even for the most experienced photographer. So, don’t get discouraged, keep learning from your mistakes.
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