Winter provides unique opportunities for outdoor photographers to catch the world covered in white. Glistening icicles, frozen ponds, and trees covered in the snow make for breathtaking photos. Get the most out of the pictures taken this winter with these tips.
Pay Attention to Exposure
One challenge presented to winter photographers is attaining the correct exposure when the world is covered in white. Camera metering systems are designed to calibrate their base exposure on a neutral tone, such as neutral gray. White landscapes dominate the exposure reading, making brilliant white snow appear gray. The trick to making snow appear white is to overexpose the photos. Overcast days typically require a +1 exposure value, while sunny days call for +2. Going beyond +2 may cause fine details to be lost, so take care when selecting the exposure level.
Try Using Winter Filters
Use different filters to enhance winter landscapes. The polarizer filter is a favorite among photographers because it darkens blue skies, eliminates glare, and adds definition to clouds. Try taking several different photos with varying levels of polarization to see what looks best. Low lying suns in the wintertime can give the sky an unnatural appearance, so using the filter at midday often yields the best results.
Warming filters give the snow a different appearance as the polarizer. The yellow tones of the warming filter offset the blue hues of the snow, giving a photograph a natural feel. Neutral-density filters can also be utilized to equalize exposure levels between bright and dark objects, such as the white snow with dark green trees.
Fix Focus Problems
On unusually overcast or foggy days, cameras often have a difficult time with focus. The same is true when trying to take photographs in falling snow. The lens often flutters when in autofocus as it attempts to focus on the difficult lighting conditions. During these circumstances, try switching from autofocus to manual focus and holding the shutter down partway when in manual focus to focus the camera on the subject. The focusing points in the viewfinder will light up when the correct focus is achieved.
Try Varying Shutter Speeds
To obtain still photographs of fast-falling snow, fast shutter speeds are necessary not to blur the picture. Slow shutter speeds may be required when photographing still objects, such as mountains or icicles, to allow as much light to reach the subject as possible.