1) Use fast shutter speeds to capture moving snow
Falling snow simply looks stunning and adds to any scene. However, to avoid any motion blur, make sure you set your shutter speed correctly! We recommend using a speed of 1/250, and even faster if lighting allows for it.
2) Batteries drain fast in the cold!
Try your best to keep your batteries warm when you’re in the snow as cold batteries lose their charge fairly quick! By simply putting your batteries in pockets that are inside your jacket, or even the front pocket of your pants, your body heat will keep the batteries warm enough so they don’t die out too quickly. And as always, no matter what shoot you’re doing, BRING EXTRA BATTERIES!
3) Adjust your exposure compensation higher
By simply increasing your composition exposure between +0.3EV to +0.7EV, you’ll be able to capture the pure whiteness of your scene easier! Test your shots a few times to find the right composition exposure value and make sure to look for how white the snow is. In some cases, the snow may look grey if the composition exposure is not increased enough!
4) Your Gear, Snow & Moisture
Protect your gear! When you’re outdoors, dry powdered snow won’t damage your camera, but be sure to wipe it off with your glove, sleeve or a small towel. Make sure you don’t use your hands! Your hands will melt the snow, creating a possibility of water seeping into your camera.
In general, cold weather won’t really effect your camera, but keep in mind of the change in humidity when your heading indoors. You may notice that your lens fogs up with condensation when you head inside a warm place. Although you can wipe it off your lens, condensation builds up inside your camera as well! This could potentially harm the mechanics inside your camera and lens. Best solution for this is to put your camera into a airtight bag or container before heading indoors. This will protect your camera from the change in temperature & humidity. If there’s a small build up of condensation, don’t try to wipe it as it may seep into other parts of your camera. Instead, let your camera sit on a towel and let it warm up!
5) Use a zoom lens
Even though a prime lens may get you a great shot, it doesn’t offer the flexibility you need when shooting outdoors. You may need to take a macro shot of a snowflake, then a landscape shot right after, and when you’re outdoors, we don’t recommend switching lenses and equipment too often as the inner parts of your camera, and other equipment, would be exposed to the elements.
6) Later sunrises, earlier sunsets
The Golden Hours (1 hour after sunrise & 1 hour before sunset) are the best times to shoot, especially for landscapes. Great thing about winter is that you won’t have to get up by 4am to capture the summer sunrise. Keep in mind that Golden Hours occur later in the morning and much earlier in the evening. Be sure to check your local weather report the day before to see the times for the sunrise and sunset.
7) Add contrast to your photos
With all the white from the snow, your photos may need a little kick when editing as the colours and contrast may seem dull. Simply increase and adjust your blacks, contrast, vibrance and shadows to bring life back into your photo.
8) Frozen bubbles
If it ever get REALLY cold (roughly around -25˚C), you could create some amazing frozen bubble photos. Watch the video below to see how it looks! Tools, materials & instructions are below on how to create these frozen bubbles, all thanks to Popular Science.
Tools + Materials:
- Bowl and spoon
- 200 milliliters warm water (for freezing)
- 35 ml corn syrup (for thickness)
- 35 ml dish soap (for bubble formation)
- 2 tablespoons sugar (for crystallization)
- 1 plastic straw
- Squeezable bottle (optional)
- Mix liquids and sugar in a small bowl, and store in the freezer. Lowering the mixture’s temperature will help your bubbles freeze faster when they land. After 30 minutes, take the bowl out and give its contents another stir.
- Find a cold, textured surface to stick your bubbles. Ready, aim, and fire! Blowing bubbles with a straw rather than a store-bought dipstick will create less sticky, frozen mess.
- If you really want to go for it, you can rig the straw to a squeezable bottle (see Ratzlaff’s version above). The breath you exhale will be much warmer than the ambient air inside the bottle. So this method can help keep your bubble mix cold as it floats to its final resting place.
- Be patient! “Even with the perfect formula, many bubbles will pop before you’ll have one that freezes for you,” says Ratzlaff. “The slightest breeze can pop them.”
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