Shooting in the snow

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We have certainly been getting our share of snow so far this year!  Which is great, since we haven’t seen much snow in South Jersey for a while.  So, while it’s here, and before it’s gone, get out shooting!  Here’s a few little tips on getting out with your DSLR and getting great snow photos…

#1 – First and foremost, use some common sense – be safe.  Sure, the snow looks pretty, and yes, you might see a gorgeous snow-covered field to photograph, but pull over where it is safe to do so, be careful if you are walking along the street if it is still slippery for other vehicles, and when you do pull over make sure it’s not in a deep snowdrift where you’ll find yourself stuck!  (Other photographers can then get great photos of you trying to get unstuck!  I know, I have great pictures of a stuck Jeep – sorry Pete – trying to get unstuck!)

#2 – I always say it – get off the “P” mode with your camera!  The camera meter is set to work for a middle-of-the-road exposure.  When it sees all of that white, you guessed it – the camera is going to darken everything down by closing your aperture.  Either dial in some exposure compensation, or take control and learn to use that “M” mode!

#3 – Falling snow is beautiful, but just as damaging to your camera as rain.  Your camera in your hands is going to warm up and as the snow melts on it, you run the risk of water seeping into the camera itself.  Many cameras are weather sealed these days, but not many DSLRs are waterproof.  Keep your camera dry or consider getting it a rain cover, which you can then use in snow and rain.  I got mine at B&H Photo Video in NYC.

#4 – If it’s snowing, that usually means it’s pretty cold out there, too.  The cold has been known to drain batteries pretty quickly, so take another battery or two along with you.  Keep these batteries in an inside pocket to keep them warm.  Switch them in and out of the camera if you need to.

#5 – If you want some great snow photos, you gotta get out there first!  Take tomorrow – I plan on being out by 6am.  Why?  I try to get out before tire tracks, plows, and footprints carve up my shots.

#6 – Look for the splashes of color.  A snow covered scene will sometimes have that very monochromatic look (lots of blacks and whites.)  That splash of color will really stand out in your frame.

#7 – The great thing about snow is that it is bright – real bright!  If you take your kids sledding, dial in a nice 1/1000th shutter speed (get off that “P” mode!!!)  This will avoid any motion blur in your photos so you can catch those happy expressions.

#8 – Here’s one for you SLR shooters (yup, that would be me!)  Keep your rolls of film in the other pocket by your spare batteries.  Film gets brittle in extreme cold, and you could snap it while winding between frames.

#9 – This is the Big One.  Have some fun, shoot those photos, and get them printed!  Don’t leave them as a tiny little snapshots buried in your phone.  Put something nice up on your wall – it can be a constant reminder of your fun day in the snow, and everyone else can admire and enjoy your new piece of art.

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