Winter brings out the toughest elements in our climate, with many people putting away their camera bags ‘till early spring. But, if you do put away your camera you are missing out on the raw beauty that this magical season brings.
Here are a few tips to make the trip more enjoyable.
1. Wear the right clothes: It’s very important to wrap up warm when out shooting winter images. The winter season brings the toughest elements, so if you are planning to spend a few days out and about always be well prepared.
2. Watch the weather: It’s very important to know what the weather is going to be like. You don’t want to travel for a couple of hours and then hear a weather report that tells you that: the weather is wet for the next few days. During the winter months the weather can dramatically change in a matter of hours.
It’s always advisable to let someone know where you are going and which route you’re planning to take. If you do get injured or ever caught in a storm someone may be able to help.
3. Carry only what you need: Carry only the essentials. You don’t need to upload your camera bag with every piece of equipment you own. If you are going to be out taking pictures all day you are much better off going as light as possible. Carrying a light load will also help preserve energy. You could be climbing icy rocks or crossing snow filled hills; a warm flask would serve you a lot better than a third camera.
4. Look for detail: Snow, ice and frost bring out texture and atmosphere in most subjects. The early frosty morning is an ideal time for close-up photography. The frosty morning also brings out patterns in our landscapes.
Take care where you place your camera: if you are taking pictures early in the morning try placing it at oblique angles to the sun - this will give your images strong shadows. This will also add mood to your landscape images. Once you have found the perfect spot pay extra attention to foreground interest as this will add depth to your image.
5. Expose carefully: Snow and ice are extremely difficult to expose properly. Snow usually confuses your cameras metering system or your hand held light meter. When you take a light reading from snow you will automatically get an underexposed image. The meter will record the snow as grey.
Now is the time to start bracketing your shots. If you bracket your shots add 1 - 2 stops of light to compensate for your light meter reading. Using an 18% grey card, which I described in a previous article, should also give you a perfect light reading.