Snow and more snow! Picture taking tips

Wow, it’s not even winter yet and the snow is coming down! I love taking photos in it but this one is cold and wet. Sohere are some tips to get good exposures. First and foremost however is my suggestion to wear wool or insulated socks and boots and gloves with fingertips! My students don’t ofter realize how taking photos on a tripod with time exposures can get them close to frostbite.

When photographing all white conditions with little else in the image, your meter will usually not be correct. The meter sees all the white and tells you it will make a shorter exposure, therefore becoming a little on the dark side. Remember, you should always be checking your histograms. If you are missing the area on the bottom right side of the histogram, your image will be kind of gray looking. Although it may be gray outside, that is not what you want your picture to look like. You want your snow to look white but still with a little detail showing. If this happens to you, press in your +/- button (usually found on the outside of your camera body) and try starting at +1 exposure. Now recheck your histogram and see if it reads correctly. You can certainly try various amounts such as +.03 or +.07 if it’s too much light at +1. The most important thing here is once you are done with your picture taking, set that button or wheel back to ‘0’ so no other future photos are affected. This button does not default back to ‘0’ when you turn the camera off. It stays put! If you are outside on a day like today and hand holding your camera, be steady and do not let the shutter speed go under 1/60 sec. Your ISO should be higher on darker days like this one. Try ISO 800 to start and go up if needed. You choice of P, S, Tv, A, Av should all be ok to shoot with as long as you watch that shutter speed! If you want to stop the snow and have it look more like snow drops than rain drops, you will need a faster shutter speed such as 1/500 or 1/1000 sec.

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To take photos at night of lights, the use of a tripod is suggested. Also important is a remote or use of your 2 sec. self timer if your camera has one. People do not realize how just pressing on the shutter button (even when on a tripod) can give them camera shake. If you have neither of these, then use your 10 sec. self timer which all cameras have. You will hear the start of the shutter curtain opening, wait to hear the second click (shutter closing) before you move the camera. If you set your dial to Aperture Priority, you can control how wide the opening of the lens and the camera will choose the long shutter speed. This usually works the best for most people. Try an ISO of 400 to start so your pics aren’t too grainy. You can go lower if you don’t mind longer shutter speeds. The camera meter will read the exposure of Christmas lights fairly well. If you find yours is not, then again, try out the +/- button to compensate. Try your white balance on daylight or tungsten for lights at night (this is more a personal preference here).

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