Snow is a fickle beast, and capturing that silver sparkle with a camera lens is tricky. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips and tricks on everything from where to keep your batteries to what to wear on your hands. Better snow photography is just a snap away!
Keep Your Batteries Warm, But Your Camera Cold
It sounds odd, but warm batteries/cold camera is the best combination for snow shoots. Cold batteries drain faster, so if you keep them out of your camera and in your pocket while not shooting, then you’ll have a lot more time in the field. As for the camera itself, don’t put it in your jacket. Keeping your camera out in the cold prevents it from fogging up as soon as a warm camera meets outside chill.
Avoid White Out With Exposure Compensation
In ye olden days, cameras often read snow as overexposure, and compensated with fast shutter speeds to limit light intake, which left you with blue or grey snow instead of bright white snow. Nowadays, however, we have the technology to improve the look of bright snowscapes. To whiten up the outside, manually compensate your metering. Use +1 EV for slightly overcast snow, and +2 or even +3 for sunny days with snow.
Protect Your Gear, But No Need to Go Overboard
Most cameras are built to handle the freeze. However, some (older) lenses still need heavy lubricants to ease their mechanical parts in winter – though it’s really only a problem with non-DSLR lenses. LCD screens are also affected by low temperatures, and can grey out. It’s tempting to warm your cameras during disuse to avoid LCD problems, but transitioning between warm and cold causes condensation that fogs the lens. If you’re really worried, just leave your camera in a non-insulated camera bag while you wander around the snowy tundra to protect it from elements without too much heat.
Invest in Fingerless Mittens
You heard us. They’re not just for bums. Fingerless mittens give you quick mobility when the time is right. Don’t fumble to take off your gloves when a whimsical deer sprints through the wonderland snow, and don’t try to fare without them. Fingerless mittens are the perfect compromise between ‘toasty’ and ‘death wish on the tundra.’
Shoot in RAW, not JPEG
Get yourself a larger memory card because RAW files are yuuuge. However, when you shoot in RAW instead of JPEG, you have a lot more flexibility in post-production. It’s easier to correct mistakes in RAW than it is in JPEG, and when it comes to fickle snow, you’ll appreciate the wiggle room.
Snowy photographs aren’t as hard to capture as they once were. With the right gear, attitude, and know-how, sparkling snowscapes are yours for the taking.