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S is for Snow

Tree white with frozen water
Posted by on December 17, 2012

The best Christmas for me is waking up early in the morning, opening the curtains and see everything covered in a layer of snow. Not that I am such a snow fan, but it just adds that little bit of magic to the day. It also means you appreciate a warm house and good food more than when it is a warm day. For this year it looks like it is going to be rain but let’s hope the forecast is wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time! 🙂

 

Snow photography can be very tricky due to the reflection of the sun on the snow. Luckily, here in the UK, you normally get quite overcast days when it snows. I have some great tips  to help you get better results when taking photos in the snow

Contrast

The downside from everything covered in snow is that you are stuck with most likely two colours, grey and white. This often results in quite flat images. It would be great to have a bright blue sky to work with, but here in the UK that does not happen often in winter. You will have to find other ways to bring colour to your photo. The green of trees or red of bricks are great and if you want to take photos of people, make them wear bright colours.

Equipment

Of course you will need to wrap up warmly when you go out, but you will also need to make sure you take care of your equipment. Due to the cold batteries drain fast, so any spare ones should be kept warm to avoid losing charge prematurely. Put them in your inner pockets or if you have a bag, wrap them in some fabric. The same needs to be said about your camera. When not in use, keep the camera close to your body. Alternatively if the camera is in a camera bag you can use heat packs to keep the bag warm. Make sure you don’t expose the camera to the direct heat of the heat pack as that might cause overheating issues.

Shutter speed

If you want to get some images of falling snow, you will have to play around with your shutter speed. Long exposure will result in streaks whilst short exposure will give you the flakes. Either one is great and have a play around for the best result. Important is that you have a background cover to contrast the snow. This can be the sky and if you are lucky you can use the indirect light of streetlights to get enough light to work with.

Point of View

As with any image you take, view point is critical. Straight from the front or above might not necessarily result in great images. Try odd angles, for example from the floor up. I try not to lie down in the snow, but just hold the camera very low and point upwards. Especially good to make your snowman look massive!!! I also often try to follow a natural line in the landscape for example a fence, wall or trees. This gives both direction and depth and help to avoid flat images.

Above all, enjoy your day out and stay warm. Nothing is better than after a day out in the snow, coming back home and enjoy a warm cup of chocolate in front of the fire place. Or wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa.

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