Shooting in the Snow

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Renegrenade, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Renegrenade

    Renegrenade TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I'd like to ask a bit of advice. I'm going to be going for a week-long trip to somewhere where it's going to snow a LOT, and be very cold - we're talking -20C or thereabouts. I am in the fortunate enough position to own some nice equipment, and I want to be taking some good shots in snowy conditions where most everything is white.

    I'm somewhat new to metering and while I've been messing with a lot of the functions of my camera in Program or Manual, I haven't actually toyed with metering at all to date - which I'm guessing is somewhat required if I'm going to be shooting in the snow.

    So I'm looking for any helpful general advice regarding the above, and also any tips from people who enjoy shooting in these kind of conditions with these kind of colours!

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. WimFoto

    WimFoto TPF Noob!

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    if it's going to be that cold you want to keep your battery's warm(take extra's if you can't recharge them). even the one in your camera should be kept warm inside your gloves or pant pocket.

    as far as metering, try a program mode first if you don't like the result try different settings in manual mode. and keep track of your data so you can compare later.

    where are you going?
     
  3. BuS_RiDeR

    BuS_RiDeR No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Going from extreme cold to room temp can cause condensation inside your camera. Having a way to protect from this will help you... Some people suggest a large zip lock bag (put your camera in it to prevent condensation). I havent tried it yet... But I've heard that it works well.

    As for metering... Snowscapes generally OVEREXPOSE so you'll want to adjust for that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  4. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    Well, if you are shooting a bright white, snowy scene, your cameras light meter will pretty much freak out, and turn everything gray.

    To avoid this, I would recommend using the spot meter, and then pointing and metering off a bright portion of the snow. Then recomposing your shot, and adjust your exposure (you should be in manual mode, shooting raw BTW) and overexpose it 1.5 to 2 stops for a sunny day, and .5 to 1 on a cloudy day.


    That should get you real close, if not spot on. Then make any small adjustments later in PS.
     
  5. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't remember exact quote but to paraphrase it, you OVER the whites and your UNDER the darks :D
     
  6. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera automatically wants to make a scene full of snow rather grey. Personally, I generally let it so it keeps the details in the snow, but make sure I shoot in RAW and adjust brightness and curves in post to get the exposure I want... I prefer it that way to trying to get subjects right and blowing out the snow.
     
  7. freybear3

    freybear3 TPF Noob!

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    use a ziplock bag with rice in it.
     
  8. Renegrenade

    Renegrenade TPF Noob!

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    Thick question time - is this the same as pointing my camera at a bright portion of snow, holding down the shutter slightly to focus, and then bringing it back around to where I want to shoot and depressing the rest of the way / taking the photo?

    Or is there another process I need to follow once my camera is pointing at the bit of snow I wish to meter off?

    I suspect the above is either a very normal or ridiculously stupid question (I have no faith in that it may be something in-between), so if the latter I apologise in advance :p
     
  9. FlickerLight

    FlickerLight TPF Noob!

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    You should check and see if your camera has a spot mode, but otherwise, yes.
     
  10. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    :lol:

    Well your camera has a through the lens reflective light meter... Meaning when you point the camera at something it is judging the light reflecting off your scene, looking for neutral gray, or 18% reflectance... Anything over and it tells you to tone it down, anything less and it tells you to turn it up.

    I wrote up a thread about this very subject you can read here:
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...tering-white-balance-jpeg-vs-raw-formats.html

    But to give you a quick answer... The idea behind it is you point the camera at the source you want to meter off, then you adjust your aperture and shutter speed until your light meter indicator tells you it's balanced, and then you recompose and shoot without changing the settings.
     
  11. Renegrenade

    Renegrenade TPF Noob!

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    Funnily enough, I read something similar to this just yesterday on this website: Understanding Digital Camera Histograms: Luminance and Color (note: not this exact page, that was one of about six pages I read - but the pages on this website) - and actually understand exposure and metering a lot better. What I couldn't figure out is the jargon!

    You see, when someone says "meter for this surface" I keep thinking there must be some metering function somewhere which allows you to 'lock' onto something, and then you can go around shooting whatever you like - like there's a button to "set" it! Obviously, with what you describe above (zoom in on one bit, go to full manual and correctly expose, use those settings once zoomed out) it's not some sort of "setting" function rather than simply adjusting so that the brightest part of your image isn't overexposed, yes? :)

    Assuming the above paragraph makes some sense in the real world, I then have another question - if I'm using a wide angle (or any non-zoom) lens to take a shot, how do I meter that when I can't zoom in on one patch to adjust my exposure then zoom out again?
     
  12. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    There is a lock that will lock onto the an exposure settings, and allow you to recompose your shot without changing anything.... the AE-L button (not familiar with Canon but I assume to have something along those lines). This is useful when you are shooting in an Automatic mode because without using that, when you recompose your shot and if the lighting is different, it will automatically change.
    But in Manual mode it doesnt matter because everything is done manually. You meter off a spot, then you adjust, and then you can point the camera anywhere and your settings will stay the same.
    As for zooming in, you really don't have to. You just have to select a portion of the scene to meter off (like the bright blue sky on a sunny day, or the bright green of the foliage on a cloudy day)...So as you scan the scene, dont necessarily pick a portion of the snow that the sun is blowing out, or a dark portion, pick something you want to base your exposure off of and then recompose and see take a shot, maybe one stop up, and one stop below, to see what you like best, and what best fits your vision. Then you can leave those settings alone and shoot away for a consistent series of shots.
     

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