Photorgaphing snow

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mrboontastic, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. mrboontastic

    mrboontastic TPF Noob!

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    Hi all

    Im New to this site and pretty new to Photography so please go easy if the question im about to ask is daft or stupid.

    Here goes. I am going on my anual snowboard holiday to france on the 5th Feb. I have always been int o photography but only recently bought myself a propper camera. I have been reading a few books and looking on the internet and have read that when photographing snow scenes I need to take a general meeter reading and then increase this by two stop so that my picture will not come out grey. Doues this meen that my F-stops want to be going up in number making my apertur smaller or down in number making my aperture larger. Say it I meter at F5.6 does this mean that I need to go the 2.3 way or the 9 and higher way.

    Also I will be shooting 35mm slide film and I have heard that I can buy a roll of whatever speed film and push or pull the whole roll. If I buy a 50iso film do I want to bump this up to say 200iso (is that two stops). Or if I buy a 200iso roll do I want to take this down to 50iso in order to get the correct exposure.

    Phhheeeewww, glad thats over. Once again sorry if I have totally confused everyone, or anoyed anyone with a dumb question. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Anyway thanks in advance.

    By for now
     
  2. chris

    chris TPF Noob!

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    You would need to change the lens aperture from (for example) f5.6 to f2.8 - ie open up by two stops. Alternatively increase the shutter speed - from 1/250 sec to 1/60 for example. A third possibility would be to use 200 iso film with the camera meter set at 50 iso and use standard processing - there would be no need to use push/pull processing but if you would need to reset the meter to the correct film for shots that do not contain a lot of snow.

    Probably the best solution would be to take an incident light reading or take a reflected light reading from an 18% grey card with a meter set at the normal film speed. Both these methods should give very accurate measurements for any scene that has a predominance of light or dark tones.

    Pushing or pulling of slide film by 2 stops is fairly drastic and there will be some loss of quality; much better to use an appropriate film to start with. Also it would be cheaper, unless you do your own processing, because you would probably have to send the film to a professional or specialist lab which is usually nmore expensive than 'high street' processors and which would likely charge extra for the pushing or pulling as well.
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Hiya,

    Chris has pretty much covered it, but I'll chuck a couple of ideas into the mix.

    As you say, the camera tries to average any given scene to a mid-range exposure, possibly turning snow from white to grey. If you know the image is going to be very high-key i.e. like a picture of just a glacier and the sky, then you may indeed want to trick the camera and expose a bit more.

    There are many ways of overriding the camera which will all produce a similar effect:

    ISO goes in stops from about 25 to about 3200 normally. Each notch is usually a stop of light, so to overexpose 100 ISO by one stop, choose 50.

    Aperture goes in stops as well, so change f8 to f5.6 to overexpose by one stop by widening the aperture.

    Exposure also, change 1/125th to 1/60th to overexpose by a stop.

    There's sometimes a +/-EV dial which allows you to over or under expose in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments.

    In my personal opinion, if you're shooting slide like Velvia on a "normal" camera and you push it two stops to shoot snow, you'll blow the highlights out completely.

    My recommendation for slide/snow is to get yourself a circular polarising filter and bracket your shots by overexposing a tiny bit, not two stops, maybe one at most.

    Good luck!

    Rob
     
  4. mrboontastic

    mrboontastic TPF Noob!

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    Brilliant advice thanks guys.

    A lot of my shots are likelly to be action shots. I do normally shoot on Velvia rated 50 iso but I am worried that this will not give a fast enough shutter speed for the action shots that I would be wanting to produce.

    As you said Rob I do have a circular polariser which I can use but would this not then decrease my shutter speed even further.

    Im still a little confused, but you have both helped me out a hell of a lot so thanks. Just dont want to shoot off loads of frames on holiday and get home and all of them be grey or worse.

    Should I go for a 200 film and measure each shot seperatelly?

    Also am I right in believing that I am supposed to be letting more light into my camera to prevent under exposure.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Yes a CPF will lose you about 1.5 stops, but the benefits it'll give you in reducing the glare are more than worth it. Trust me, it's the best thing for scattered glare. You'll actually get a blue sky and clouds as well as exposing snow shadow detail.

    If you like Velvia, then you'll probably like Fuji Superia Reala 100 as well, it's reasonably similar but less saturated, particularly in the reds. This won't matter for skiing. You'll probably lose a bit of blue and gain a bit of green over Velvia, but it's not a significantly different colour balance (IMO).

    Here's another bit of blatant opinion.... *whispers* Fuji Superia 200 is crap. (Note the lack of Reala in the name).

    Reala will give you a few stops latitude over Velvia. It's way way flexible and I've never lost a film shot on it due to exposure problems.

    http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/Film35mmPrintSuperiaReala.jsp

    In my opinion it's normally damn bright when skiing, so you won't need to go for something like Sensia 400, but you might like to try ramping up Reala to 200 and even 400 and getting them to push process +1 or +2 at your local lab. It won't cost extra and they'll know what you mean. LABEL the film you've ramped up, or you'll get to the end of the hols and forget!

    Rob
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Oh, two more things: Reala is C-41 negative film, not slide, which is why it's more flexible.

    Yes more light = more exposure (preventing underexposure).
     
  7. mrboontastic

    mrboontastic TPF Noob!

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    Once again Rob thanks for all the knowledge you have thrown my way It has really helped.

    Let you know how I get on

    Thanks Again.
    James
     
  8. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Under the same lighting conditions, every shot will require the same exposure. So as long as the lighting is the same, you can take every shot with the same exposure settings (assuming you started with the right one). If you move from a sunny area to a shadowy area, you'll need to change your exposure settings.

    Dave
     

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