Good morning everyone, hope you’re all doing well. We’ve had quite a bit of snow here in the U.K, with some places having had it worse than others, if you have had or are experiencing snow showers, I hope you are managing to stay warm and safe as the roads tend to be more dangerous with trying to avoid the icy patches. Because the temperature has dropped quite a bit to below 0 at times, we haven’t been able to go out and do much, it’s also been impossible to go into the city center as we have to rely on my dad to drive us because of all the strikes that are happening, but he’s been so busy catching up with his backlog of parcels that we’ve not been able to get into his car to do anything like go and take pictures of the wintery weather, which is something I love to do as this is my favorite time of the year.
Anyway, on with this week’s post…Winter is a great time to get outdoors and have some creative fun with the camera. The days are getting shorter and the sun dips a little closer to the horizon every day. But that doesn’t mean that you should shelve your camera gear until spring. Far from it! Winter is a great time to get outdoors and have some creative fun with the camera. But winter photography isn’t a summertime stroll in the park. You’ll need to come prepared to capture these majestic landscapes, and you’ll want to keep your creative senses open for new ideas. Here are some winter photography ideas to get you started.
Wintery cold places offer myriad opportunities for photography, from shooting beautiful snow-covered landscapes to chasing the northern lights. If the light is right, you can get some truly fantastic winter photography shots. However, cold winter weather also offers unique challenges to photographers – and I’m not just talking about cold fingers! Those who live in places where it’s snowing in winter know the excitement of seeing the first snowflakes. As everything turns white, our enthusiasm for photography grows. We see the world in a completely new way. But winter photography is not the easiest thing, you have to prepare for it. Here are some ideas and tips to help you shoot photos in the wintery weather.
Use Manual or Aperture Priority Mode for Shooting
Manual mode gives full control over your settings, which can be useful if shooting snow is not too easy. You can bring the most out of your shots by setting everything as you wish. But if you are cold, you might want to operate with as few camera adjustments as possible. You might choose aperture priority mode instead. It still gives you great freedom, but you can concentrate more on what depth of field you want to reach. You set the aperture value, and then the camera adjusts the shutter speed and the ISO for you. Aperture Priority mode is a great way to gain control over different camera settings without feeling totally overwhelmed. It’s also a lifesaver in cold weather because you generally only need to spin a dial to adjust your aperture.
Stock Up on Microfiber Cloths and Extra Batteries
Cold winter weather can result in a lot of moisture getting on and into your camera. It’s a necessity to have microfiber cloths with you when shooting snow photos. Use these to clean your lens and camera body regularly. They won’t scratch your gear, so you can clean it gently. If moisture sits on your camera, it can freeze to a thin layer of ice and you definitely don’t want that. Also, cold weather makes your batteries run out quickly. The cold temperatures cause degraded performance, and there are few things worse, let me tell you than running out of battery power during a photographic outing. Always keep at least one extra in your pocket. If possible, place it close to your body to keep it warm.
Use a Lens Hood
If you have a camera with a removable lens, like a mirrorless camera or a DSLR camera, then you should consider using an accessory known as a lens hood. These are also sometimes called sun hoods. A lens hood is simply an extended piece of circular plastic that fits onto the end of the lens, giving it an extended look. Usually, the main reason to use a lens hood is to reduce the unwanted glare entering the lens from the sides of the shot, which can cause flares and other image quality issues in your photos. If it’s snowing, a lens hood can help stop flakes of snow from landing directly on the glass of your lens. Some lenses come with a lens hood. If not, they are generally inexpensive to buy for most cameras. You can purchase them either directly from the manufacturer or from third-party manufacturers.
Wear warm winter clothes
It doesn’t matter whether the light is beautiful and the scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous; if you’re shaking so hard you can’t operate the camera, you won’t get the shot. This should be obvious, but sometimes obvious things need to be stated. If you’re out in cold weather, you want to be wearing clothes designed for cold weather. The secret is layers – thermal baselayers to start, and then build up the layers until you finish with something that’s ideally water and windproof. Avoid cotton if you can, as if it gets wet from either rain or snow or if you are sweating you’ll get cold very quickly. Synthetic fleeces or wool are a better option. Don’t forget a hat, of course, warm socks, a scarf, and gloves.
Use a good camera bag
When you’re out in extreme conditions, a good camera bag is a must. It will protect your gear until you’re ready to use it. You want something that is purpose designed to be a camera bag, as it will have the necessary amount of padding to protect your gear. You also want a bag that offers some level of protection against the elements. You’ll also want to be sure it fits all your gear and anything else you usually take with you when out (heat warmers, snacks, drink, etc..).
Carry (reusable) hand warmers
Gloves do a great job of keeping your fingers warm, but if you plan to be out for long hours in ultra-cold weather, I’d encourage you to carry a few packs of hand warmers. Chemical heat packs solve the problem of your hands (or feet) getting cold, and you not being able to warm them back up again. This is especially the case for your hands, which will be handling very cold camera equipment. A chemical heat pack can provide hours of warmth to your hands for a minimal cost, and are a sound investment – just pop them in your gloves (or hold them in your hands) for instant relief from the cold.
Use A Sealable Plastic Bag
This is one of the more important winter photography tips on this list. Did you know that a rapid transition from a cold environment to a hot environment can cause condensation on glass? The reason for this is that when you move from somewhere very cold to somewhere warmer, there is the risk that moisture will condense on or inside your equipment. Moisture does not play well with the internals of most cameras, and protecting your camera from it is important. For lenses, this can be extremely problematic. A cold lens brought directly inside will fog up, so you won’t be able to use it for any indoor photos – and the excess moisture can lead to smears, smudges, and potentially even fungus on the lens elements. Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent this. Put your camera gear in a sealed airtight compartment – such as a simple ziplock bag – before heading inside. Then let it adjust to the warmer temperatures for a few hours.
Try a Polarizing Filter
A photography tip for cameras that support interchangeable lenses is to use a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter is a bit of glass that attaches to your lens and is used to filter out polarized light. Polarized light is generally light that has been reflected from a certain type of surface, which includes snow. If you use a polarizing filter when shooting snow, it cuts down on the glare and will improve the contrast and colors in your image. Polarizing filters have a lot of uses in photography in general, from cutting down on reflections to making the clouds in a blue sky really pop.
Shoot Snow Photos in RAW
You should shoot in RAW for most kinds of photography. But it can be crucial when it comes to photographing snow. The white snow is going to be the brightest and most highlighted part of your images. And it can fill almost the whole frame. RAW is a lossless, uncompressed format which means that it contains the most detail. It makes post-processing easier and more effective. You’ll be able to pull out details from the bright areas. You see, when you use the RAW file format, you’ll have far more information to work with when editing. This will let you recover clipped shadows and highlights.
Shoot at Blue and Golden Hours
Light is a key component of photography. Through the course of the day, the light changes in both its direction and color. In the early morning and late evenings, when the sun is just below the horizon, the light is very blue and cold in tone, and this time is known as the blue hour. Just after the sun rises and before it sets, the light is very yellow and warm in tone, and this period is known as the golden hour. These times of day are good for photography in general but are particularly good for shooting snowy scenes. This is because snow is very reflective, and tends to amplify and reflect light well. So a warm sunset or cool pre-dawn tones can look really wonderful as part of a snowy scene. It’s also worth keeping in mind when planning your snowy photography shoots that you will generally be shooting in the winter season in most destinations. This means that the days will be shorter, giving you less time for daytime photography.
The cold scares a lot of photographers, and rightly so. But with a few precautions – such as bringing warm clothes, charging spare batteries, avoiding frost, and protecting against condensation – you can keep your gear safe, and you can capture plenty of beautiful photos along the way!
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post, I hope you all have a lovely week and stay warm, for now, though I shall say see you later!
5 thoughts on “Winter Photography”
Great winter tips! When I shot with Nikon, I would cut the corner out of a clear plastic bag just big enough to fit snuggly around the lens to protect the camera from the rain. Now I shoot with Olympus I don’t have to worry 😀 I don’t generally use lens hoods but never thought of using one to keep snow and rain off the lens – top tip.
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Great tips. If you have a chance to pick only one, what would it be?
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Thank you! It would have to be a toss up between two as I would say putting your camera in a sealable plastic bag for protection against the weather is majorly important as you don’t want to damage your camera, and the other one being making sure you keep warm as well, because if your too cold, your pictures will come out blurry from shaking.
So, one for you, and one for the camera . 😀✌
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Great tips thanks. The snow has melted now but I reckon we’ll be due some more before long. I’ve had my DSLR for quite a few years now but have never shot in the snow – I usually just use my mobile for a quick capture!
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