The season of winter is a magical one. The cold, the fog, the dimming lights, and the snow provides a myriad of opportunity for shutterbugs to explore and capture. And I know pulling oneself away from a warm and comfortable quilt early in the morning is a strenuous task, but the result with definitely be worth the labour.
Rather than curling up in a blanket and contemplating to research on the locations, the terrain, the amount of sunlight and the time of sunset and sunrise, in winter, one can expand their portfolio and challenge themselves to extremes.
However, shooting in winters comes with certain challenges that photographers do not normally have to deal with during other seasons. so to help your inner shutterbug, here are some tips and also some reasons as to why winters is an amazing season to shoot.
Light is a major component that must be kept in the mind while capturing any image. However, it plays a principal role during winters. During summers, the natural light is often harsh and hence gives even harder shadows. However, during the winters, the golden hour (usually during sunrise and sunsets) usually stays for a few minutes. But fret not because mostly during the winters the sun never reaches its zenith and gives us much pleasing light to work with. Moreover, the sunlight has to pass a dense cover of clouds thus filtering out the harsh natural light.
But just because the natural light is favourable, doesn’t mean that it is enough. Cameras tend to underexpose white and overexpose black as they gravitate towards neutral grey hence giving dull pictures of snow. Moreover, to catch the pure whiteness of the fresh snow it is always advisable to adjust your exposure compensation to +0.3 or +0.7. Since your camera is not aware that you are shooting snow, you need to be the one to direct it altogether or else end up with grey looking snow.
The most majestic moment of winters is snowfall, and to be able to capture it in a two-dimensional image makes it even more alluring. Using a telephoto lens should be the optimal selection for any shutterbug. However, let me enlighten you with two ways of capturing snow to its best: if you want to get that dreamy large and slightly blurred snowfall then capture that image with the fastest shutter speed possible. Or, if you want to showcase perennial streaks of snowstorm images then just make sure to reverse it to slow shutter speed. Also, make sure to switch your autofocus to manual allowing you to get that sharp subject without the snow altering your focus every time.
Beware of “Rudolf the red-nosed” human
While shooting portraits in winters make sure to keep your subject warm till the last moment of the shutter click. Or else you will fall prey to the “red nose” debacle. Now, many photographers also like the winter red blush in their images but for many, it is a cumbersome occurrence. Hence, the best way is to keep the subject warm and then there is always the Adobe lightroom saturation panel which will reduce the obvious redness.
Protect your gear
Batteries tend to lose power when exposed to low temperatures, hence make sure to keep your camera battery as warm as possible allowing the optimum use without the unnecessary drainage.
Also do not breathe. Well, you can breathe, of course, just not on your lens or camera for that matter. The air that you exhale will always be relatively high in temperature than the surrounding air. Hence the moment one exhales in front of the gears, condensation forms on the viewfinder or worse the lens. The moment it condenses and freezes, so will your wallet as your camera just might become unusable. Now, to combat this frosting effect make sure to hold your camera as close to your body as possible and try not to breathe on it while taking a picture.
Also, make sure to understand your tripod as well. Long exposure to cold can cause ice build-up in the joints resulting in it to break at times. Hence make sure to keep the legs unlocked and also if possible keep the tripod in a warm area after the usage.
Shooting in winters is very stressful for photographers as well. The frigid weather, soggy atmosphere is a turn down for many. However, as the universal saying goes, to gain some you need to lose some. So perfect preparation beforehand is a pre-requisite. From hand warmers to windcheaters to air-tight containers to breathable fabrics, be prepared for everything nature throws towards you.