17.01.2015

Small Secrets to Photographing Snowy Winter Landscapes

17.01.2015

Small Secrets to Photographing Snowy Winter Landscapes

Every season has its good and bad aspects. I enjoy them all, but especially fall. I love this season because it offers every photographer – regardless whether you are a hobby, amateur, or professional photographer – so many wonderful motives in nature. The trees present themselves in all their colored splendor, and the light is usually warm and friendly. Springtime is similar: The first buds poke their heads through the soil and the meadows and fields start to show dots of color everywhere.

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I find photography in nature difficult during summer and winter – it is a real challenge. If the sun in the sky is unrelentingly bright, the photographic results are often overexposed. It’s a perpetual struggle with glaring and extremely bright light and the resulting shadows.

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In winter, when it is gloomy and gray outside, when it is almost impossible to see where the sky starts and the horizon ends, the colors are hazy and it is difficult to find contrasts to set the right scene for a desired motive. Snow poses a comparable problem: The eye sees a blazing white; the camera, however, only produces a blue mass with a slight yellowish tint. I love looking at landscapes with snow, and branches, creeks, and leaves that are covered with frost – I feel comfy and long for a cup of hot tea. It is not easy to capture this picture with the camera and reproduce it.

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It doesn’t snow very often in our latitude and if it does, then not much. In years past I used to always reach for my camera as soon as it started snowing or when frost froze the landscape.

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I wasn’t going to miss out on this! I wasn’t always satisfied with the results. For this reason, I often try and make the most of any opportunity. Early in the evening, when the sun is just about to set and the light is warm and friendly, I find it easiest to achieve the desired photo quality.

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Sometimes a slight yellowish tint can add a nostalgic effect to a photo. When you look at the picture you can feel the cold finger tips, red cheeks, and frozen feet, but also the sun’s mild rays on your face.

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Alternatively I look for details when I take photos during the winter months. To do this, I often hold my camera a short distance above the ground and look for small ice crystals on the leaves and grasses lying there. Or I might hold it just above the surface of a frozen lake that is rough and scratched after children ice-skated on it.
By photographing details and using the zoom I can easily forget about and dismiss the gray sky, and concentrate fully on the particulars of my motive.

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However, if you like photographing a larger picture, for example a white snowy landscape, and want to ensure that the snow is really white on the picture, you should carefully consider the white balance setting and possibly adjust it.

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My personal tips for taking photos in winter: Naturally, warm hands are very important; for that reason, I always take gloves with me. The camera is a sensitive instrument, you should take care that it is well protected when moving from warm rooms to wet and cold forests. If the sky is gray and gloomy and you are not satisfied with a particular section of your picture, a detail photo would be a good alternative. Use the opportunities as they arise. If the cloud cover suddenly opens up and the sun peeps through it, then quickly go outside into nature and take photos. Every time of the day has its own attractions. A misty morning can be just as beautiful as a sunset at very low temperature. Last but not least: Practice, practice, practice, and have fun.

Cheers, Bine

Bine has been blogging since 2007 at “was eigenes”. The topics of her blogs are a colorful mixture of things she has experienced or created, of culinary delights, and a dash of something personal. Photography plays a big part in this.

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