Winter – the most mysterious and magical season of the year is here. Bringing with it many occasions to wield that camera – Christmas, New Years, and the colorful Indian Wedding season. Add to this, the natural splendor of the season – mystical crispy mornings, mysterious misty evenings, and pure white snow (sadly, we don’t get much of it), bewitching us.
Much as we’d like to capture this wintry splendor, most of us find it difficult to get that perfect shot in winter. First, the cold weather makes it hard to stay out long enough to capture the sights and scenes. If we do manage to fight the cold, then nature plays truant or our equipment refuses to cooperate.
But if we’re persistent and follow a few tips and tricks, then it’s possible to get memorable winter shots.
Technical Aspects of Winter Photography –
- Light – When trying to capture the hazy fog, you need to take into consideration the natural light of the location and how it reflects on your subject. To get a good effect, take your photograph from a closer distance, preferably at an angle from the light. For better photographs, experiment with the camera’s exposure compensation feature, try different settings ranging from a +0.5 to a +2.
- Shutter Speed – Each type of winter weather requires a different shutter speed. Fog moves and changes shape. This affects your final output. To get the best results, you need to first understand the type of fog, its movement and accordingly adjust your shutter speed. If the fog is moving quickly you’ll need a fast shutter speed. If it’s slow, then you can use a slow shutter speed. If you’re photographing the snow – then in clear weather, you can use a slow shutter speed. If the weather is windy try to use a fast shutter speed for better visual effects.
- HDR – Winter is a good time to experiment with HDR, especially when shooting in dull and dark weather. The variety of color options available in HDR can help add color to an otherwise colorless photograph.
- White Balance – Adjust the setting manually according to the natural light, temperature, time of the day, and location to ensure that your photographs have the right color tinge.
Picsdream Winter Photography Tip – Snow scenery looks great when you are there but sometimes the photographs do not! There trick is not to just shoot snow but to include trees, rocks or some other elements to create a contrast. As in any landscape photography, a good foreground element could make the photo more powerful. White balance can be tricky since the camera may not be able to read the light very well. In case you get the snow looking blue, a little overexposure can make a difference.
Some other things to keep in mind..
Get the Right Winter Gear – If you’re not dressed right, photographing the outdoor locations in winter can be quite a challenge. Warm clothes, comfortable shoes, fingerless gloves, sunglasses, and a bag to protect your photography equipment are a must.
Planning & Patience – Winter is not the best season for candid or spur of the moment photographs. Planning is of utmost importance to get that perfect shot. Pre-plan your day. Select a few good locations that you may want to capture. If the weather is not cooperative at one place, you can head out to another locale. Figure out the best time to visit those locations. If you’re planning to capture the sunny winter days, then set out early in the morning. Last but not the least, wait and pray for good weather – the right mix of mist and light can do wonders for your photographs.
Take Care of Your Camera & Equipment – It’s important to maintain a certain temperature for your camera and batteries for them to function in the cold weather. Try to keep your camera out – in the cold, so that the lens does not gather fog/condensation and become unusable. Keep the battery warm – preferably in your jacket pocket or bag and if you can, carry extras.
Experiment – Winter is a season of many contrasts – at one place you may find colorful flowers, birds, animals, at another the exact opposite – barren trees, ice-covered lakes, snow-clad mountains, and fog covered parks. All these sights offer immense opportunities to take great pictures. Don’t leave out one for the other.
Here are some amazing winter photographs from Picsdream Co-founder, Mr. Mahesh Nair’s collection to motivate you to go on a winter photography expedition.
Enjoy the season of joy, click good photographs & share them with the world!