December 27, 2018 3 min read
Wintertime is upon us, and with it come great photography opportunities: sprawling hillsides, pristinely blanketed in fresh snow; lakes frozen over, perfectly reflecting crisp blue skies above; a lone deer, peering out from behind a leafless tree as snow gently flutters to the ground. With these opportunities come the challenges of working in very different conditions, which can affect the quality of your photos and even damage your equipment. Here are our top tips for adjusting to the winter and not only surviving the cold weather, but getting some great shots.
Keep your batteries warm. Cold weather can drain batteries quickly, even when they’re not in use. It would be a real bummer to be out in the freezing cold, bundled up and ready to shoot, only for your camera to die earlier than expected. Be sure to always carry extra batteries with you, and to store them somewhere warm if possible - for example, in a pocket closer to your body.
Keep your equipment dry. Drastic changes in temperature can damage your equipment. Specifically, going back and forth between warm and cool temperatures can lead to condensation forming in places you’d rather keep dry. Store your delicate equipment in airtight bags, so that when you bring them back inside, they warm up more slowly and without any of the outside moisture seeping in.
Use the right exposure. One of the biggest challenges when photographing in the winter is dealing with snow. While it is often the main subject of a beautiful outdoor shot, the color and glare it gives off proves tricky for cameras to deal with, leaving you with underexposed pictures. This can be offset some by adjusting your camera’s exposure. Depending on the exact conditions, this will mean increasing the exposure by about 1 stop.
Use manual focus. In addition to causing problems with exposure, snow can also make it difficult for your camera to focus. This is especially true when it’s actively falling from the sky, or even when it’s just a very cloudy or foggy day. These conditions lead to your camera being unable to find anything with enough contrast to focus on. The best way to avoid these issues is to switch to manual focus.
Dress warmly and comfortably. Amid all the talk about how to protect your equipment and how to get the best photographs, we may forget that we ultimately have to make sure that we are kept safe and comfortable in these harsh weather conditions. Be sure to dress warmly, but to remain comfortable as well. You will also need to have your hands free to actually use your camera. This may be difficult to do while wearing thick, bulky gloves. One solution, if it’s not too cold, is to have convertible fingerless gloves to allow you to free your fingers when you need to. Also, in extreme cold conditions, you may even risk getting your skin stuck to metal parts of your camera. It wouldn’t be too fun to get your face stuck while taking a picture, so we’d recommend keeping your face covered as well.
All in all, winter is an underratedly beautiful time of year. Be sure to prepare yourself and your equipment for dealing with these conditions, and you’ll be on your way towards taking full advantage of these opportunities to capture some amazing pictures.