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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Colors Of Snow

Like a fresh white canvas, a new blanket of snow is a perfectly primed medium for painting with the subtle hues of winter

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Sidelight is your best friend for showing texture in the snow. Photographing snow-covered trees in these conditions gives them dimension, as well as colors ranging from warm where the snow is lit to cool where it's in shadow.

Dawn and sunset are the times of day when you can really start to have some fun and create interesting looks. It's at the edges of the day that the sky has a range of different colors in it. Around dawn, when you get the orange glow just before the sun pops over the horizon, most of the sky is blue and purple, and it's those cool hues that will be reflected in your snow. Wait a few minutes for the sun to actually come up, and you can create a beautiful backlit scene with richly colored snow.

Beware Of Your LCD
Your DSLR's LCD can fool you in any conditions, but be particularly wary when you're shooting in snow. Your eyes become accustomed to the bright conditions of a full-sun day, but when you look at the LCD, it can lead you to think that you're underexposed. Similarly, around the edges of the day, when you look at the LCD, it can convince you that you're overexposed. These issues are especially problematic with snow because your in-camera meter can be misled by it. Always pull up the histogram as you review images, and if possible, use a shade of some kind so you can clearly see what's happening in the frame.

When looking at the histogram, if you're trying to show the snow as bright white, a histogram that's pushed to the right is probably what you want. On the other hand, if you're shooting snow in shadow, a more normal-shaped histogram will be the proper exposure.

Because snow can be tricky, we highly recommend that you shoot RAW images and that you bracket, if possible. If nothing else, this will give you some insurance, and you can experiment with HDR, as well.


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