How to Take Better Winter Photos
In Iceland, winter means time to play and have fun. Icelanders love spending the day outdoors on a beautiful winter day and they even go swimming on a cold and windy winter day! Iceland is never dull even on a long cold winter day. There are many outdoor activities like skiing, dog sledding, skating, snowboarding and a lot more offered. In winter the landscape is breathtaking, the sky with northern lights dancing is magical, the snow itself is lovely itself. How will you really be able to capture the whole beauty of winter?
Winter photography is just a side dish for all those activities you yearn to get into. There are just a few things you must follow and simple guidelines on how to get that dramatic moment. Who wouldn’t want to capture that beautiful moment like for example you guys are hiking and then suddenly, the view of the most wonderful glaciers just there ready to be captured, or you went caving and there are just those amazing ice formation, you wouldn’t want to miss it for anything in the world. You just simply want to stop and click on that button to get every angle, every story that the dramatic view is uttering. Winter photography is different from other seasons simply because the snow will deter you by doing so, if you don’t get a bit of understanding how things work. Your effort to produce more dramatic images will simply end up with a blurred misty image.
So here are a few tips and techniques on how to make your winter photos better
1. Always carry extra freshly charged batteries with you – The batteries won’t last that long during cold climates, so first things first, charge your batteries and carry with you one or two spare batteries. There will be times that your camera and the batteries will not work because winter photography deals with cold and harsh environment. If you have small cameras like those point and shoot varieties, consider making them warm by putting them in your inside pocket, if possible take a camera jacket along. Don’t let it stay with the cold climate for too long. After your captured several breathtaking moments, put them back in your inside pocket. If you are using those large DSLR type, you might consider putting insulation in your camera bag and your batteries must be put near your body to warm them as well. Rotate the batteries as you go along so it will last.
2. The sun’s lower angle in the winter is the most dramatic sight – The professional photographers happen to shoot in early morning or late afternoon as this is the most perfect scenario for winter photography, unless you are trying to capture northern lights. The colors are more vividly dramatic and the winter photos are “warmer”. The shadows give out better winter photos too as the images are captured with lots of dimensions. During winter, the shadows are pronounced longer which means you will have longer chance of capturing perfect winter photos. The angle of the sun should be situated across your subject rather than behind or in front of it to have a better detailing of the chosen subject. It will create depth and rays which is very much nicer to look at.
3. Fill flash at people – When you’ve chosen people as your subject, you can have a better image capture if the subject is captured with fill flash. The technique above doesn’t compensate much with people as subject. The cross lighting will cover the face of your subject thus giving them a wonderful background but poor image. Almost every point and shoot cameras have this feature (small flash built-in), so they will be most likely be favorable to use in this kind of situation. Instead of choosing the automatic camera mode, you can select the force flash to operate. If you are using the DSLRs then just channel on the flash and use it. The exposure should be and still be the primarily from any light available, using the fill will eliminate the harsh shadows that will affect your subject.
4. For snow and ice scene, compensate your exposure – The “overexpose” setting will have to set by one stop meaning “f” stop to all scene that is primarily snow or ice formations or otherwise white. The industry standard means that with every exposure, camera’s meter tries to set the scene and make white as gray. The industry determined to be the subject to gray about the reflectance of 18%. Now for that normal photography at normal climate, this will work well but for snow and ice, the scenes will be more underexposed. Like they would look dirty, so the setting for Overexpose will allow the camera to make the white brighter than the usual industry of 18% gray reflectance. It will produce more white in your images.
5. Shoot the scene as you see it – Don’t hesitate to shoot that amazing sight as soon as you see it. It may change later and the quality will be poor. Remember that in Iceland, the weather changes every now and then.
6. Don’t stress the wildlife – If you are not a wildlife photographer, then don’t be a fool and get any closer to the wild animals. During winter, the animals are more likely to be scarce, so be kind and leave them alone to hunt for their food first rather than you scaring them all away or their food away.
Friendly Reminders for those who want to capture great winter photos
Don’t approach wildlife as you will only stress them.
Ask a local always if it is safe to drive or to hike on certain areas or particular areas you are interested in pointing your camera at.
Keep batteries in warm places in your pocket or with an insulation jacket.
Carry with your lens tissue or wiper. The condensation will be more likely is present during winter. So wipe those moist to achieve better winter photos.