The “snow exposure latitude” for every camera is different. You won’t find it in your camera’s manual but it is easy to determine with a do-it-yourself test. Why does it matter? If you don’t know the snow exposure latitude for your camera and how to apply apply it to your images, the color and quality of your winter photos will suffer.
You can photograph the night sky year around, but winter brings an added bonus: SNOW! When you don’t have the benefit of moonlight, most of the year land forms a dark to black silhouetted skyline against the night sky. In winter you have the possibility of including the highly reflective snow. You can see both in this photo. Any place not covered with snow is very dark to black. Having reflective snow is why winter is the favorite time of year for a lot of photographers to go out and photograph the night sky.
Just like metering daytime winter scenes, the key to metering evening winter scenes is knowing what to meter and deciding how much exposure compensation to use.
Most wildlife are medium to dark in tone, making them a challenge to meter properly in the bright, white tones of winter. If you trust one of your camera’s automatic exposure modes, the odds are good you won’t get the best exposure. If you switch over to manual exposure and make the right decisions, you can get great exposures and better quality photos (more about that later).
Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow. So what do you do?
The white snow in a winter scene can and often does fool a camera meter into underexposing a portrait, so here are the steps to take to get the right exposure. I throw in a few portrait suggestions too.
Metering for scenes with a lot of snow can be tricky since the bright snow fools the camera meter. I see a lot of winter photos with gray snow, which means the camera meter did exactly what it was designed to do. The solution is quite simple provided you know what to do.
In addition to all of the usual photographic challenges, winter provides some extra complications, especially in terms of metering. So I began my series of articles on winter photography. Check out the links below. The articles will help you meet the unique challenges of winter photography. So get out there, have fun, and create some great winter images!
Each a winter I think about a photography trip to some U.S. national parks, some of which I haven’t been to before. I always need to narrow down my choices to fit the time I have for the trip. My search for information is what led to the advice in this article. After you read this article I recommend you also read the companion article: The Best National Parks to Photograph in Winter.
Originally posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted January 3, 2018.
Winter provides some wonderful photo opportunities in our national parks. So if you haven’t gone into hibernation for the winter, here are the best national parks to go photograph this winter, grouped by state from the west to the east. There are a few bonus locations thrown in too. At the end I give you my “best of the best” list.
Posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted January 3, 2018.
If there are cold enough temperatures and plenty of snow cover on the ground, the northern United States has a winter invasion of Snowy Owls. These are magnificent creatures and well worth your photographic time and attention. This series is filled with tips on how to find and photograph snowy owls.
What is a Snowy Owl expedition really like? This article is your chance to find out. Join me for a two day photo safari! I give you tips and photo suggestions along the way, and you get to see how I prepare, plan, and adapt on a photo trip. This is also about what to do when things don’t go according to plan.
Your camera falls down a mountainside and off a cliff. An unexpected wave drenches your valuable photo gear in salt water. Your photo backpack is stolen from your home, motel room, or trunk of your car. To add insult to injury, you learn your homeowner’s insurance will not replace the value of your damaged or stolen gear.
Why use an off-camera flash? It gives you more lighting options. And much of the time, the light from an off-camera flash is just plain better. The image above was created with one flash to camera right.
Another photographer and I were shooting together yesterday at Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga National Park. During the time we were there we saw dozens of people taking pictures of the waterfall. Most of them were in full auto-exposure mode, making no personal changes in their exposure settings whether they were photographing the waterfall, each other, or the leaves in the trees. I bet most of them had no idea that they had turned important artistic decisions over to a computer chip.
Bob, my brother-in-law, and I were driving down the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway and stopped at the classic overlook between mile 38 and mile 39 between Nederland and Ward Colorado. This is a great location for both grand and intimate landscapes.
Cars stopped in both directions as the big bull elk crossed the two lane paved road at the west end of Horseshoe Park. Their cars still sitting on the road, motors running, everyone was out of their cars and snapping photos with phones, small point and shoot cameras, and serious camera gear. It would have been hard not to get a great photo, even with a smart phone.
What are the best national parks to photograph in the fall? Here are my choices, grouped by state and province from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to, plus the ones I most want to see based on the recommendations of the photographers I trust, like Tim Fitzharris and QT Luong.
Originally posted September 14, 2017. Updated October 31, 2017.
Fall is a fabulous time of year to visit the national parks. Crowds are usually smaller than in the summer, temperatures are cooler, and some of our national parks have glorious fall colors. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the fall?
Fall color is sweeping the country. To make the most of it, you want to be at the right place at the right time. With some help from the internet, I will help you find the best fall color locations at the peak of the season.
Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 114 photos, and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.
The most recent update to this article is here.
Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 109 photos, and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.
After posting the last article I am getting questions about how to photograph the sun with a solar filter. It is time to cover the basics.
From my point of view a woman looking forward to the birth of her child is one of the most beautiful things on the planet.
We created this image in my studio. The only light source is the diffused light coming through the translucent blind covering the window directly behind Sarah. It gives me a wrap around light that I love to work with.
At my photography workshop in Northern Michigan we went on a field trip to Lake Michigan. Our goal was to shoot the Milky Way and Northern Lights over the lake.
If I could go on a fabulous spring photography trip to the national parks of my choice, with no time limit and all expenses paid, which ones would I pick? Here are my choices, grouped by state from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to and want to go back to again, plus the ones I haven’t seen and most want to photograph.
Are you planning a spring photography trip to some U.S. national parks? Where should you go? Which parks will provide the best photographic opportunities ?
John Muir was born April 21, 1838. He had a profound influence on how Americans viewed our wild lands and his influence led to the establishment of many of our National Parks and other protected lands. He was nicknamed The Father of our National Parks. This is National Parks week. Go explore somewhere this week, or make plans to visit sometime this year.
Here are photos from some of my favorite National Parks (and one state park) along with quotes from John Muir.