The White Magical Beautiful Winter

A lot of people stay warm indoors or rather wait until summer to began go out and hunt some great shots. When actually, winter is one of the most beautiful season especially with all the snow. You can have great pictures combine with a little of creativity, winter shots actually pretty amazing! But then again, to keep you prepare (both physically and camera gears) photoshoot during winter takes a bit of preparation. Here's a few things you should keep in mind if you want to go out and take that chance of amazing winter shots.

Have warm boots, regardless. On a recent photographic excursion into the Great White I was wearing an old pair of boots that had cracked in the rubber along the side near the toes. Every step I took allowed snow into my boots, and by the time I got home I was wringing water from my sock (which was wrapped around a numb foot). Don’t over-dress. To some it may sound stupid, but anyone who has spent any time outside in cold weather will tell you the same thing. It is better to feel a slight chill while standing still rather than overheat while walking, giving the cold temperatures the opportunity to chill your sweat and possibly lower your body temperature, potentially leading to early-onset hypothermia.

Gloves should be taken with you, especially if you’re going to be out and about for an extended period or away from “civilization.” I hate the bulkiness of gloves, so I prefer to simply go without when possible. One option is to wear a thin pair of gloves (maybe with rubber gripping on the fingers) for use when photographing, and take a pair of mittens along for slipping over the gloves in between shooting. Another option is to use a pair of shooter’s gloves/mittens which allow you to pull a finger out for use on a trigger (or, in this case, shutter release).

Do not place your camera under your coat in hopes of warming it up or keeping your batteries from draining too quickly (discussed below). The warmth of your body heat and the moisture from sweat can be potentially harmful (to your camera). To be simple, keep your camera cold! However, it is crucial to keep your spare batteries warm. Batteries drain faster in colder temperatures, so it is wise to carry extras and maybe keep them in a pocket or inside your coat, closer to your body heat, until they are needed. Newer lithium ion batteries have less problems with this, but it’s still good advice, nonetheless. Nobody wants to be fumbling around in a bag for gear when they need it or dropping equipment in the snow. You also don’t want to be setting your bag down in the snow and risking any kind of water saturation. So, whether you’re using pockets, a backpack, or an actual camera bag, make sure you can reach your gear with little effort.

Never delete an image until you have had a chance to view it on a larger screen indoors. There have been many times when an image that looked like crap in the field turned out to be a wonderful image once I had a chance to fully examine it. Use your histogram to determine the exposure your camera is getting (discussed below), or simply bring along extra memory cards. I know this one is a bit difficult, but try using manual mode. Snow is bright and can be overpowering for your camera’s internal light meter. Using your camera in AUTO, or even APERTURE/SHUTTER PRIORITY mode will undoubtedly result in dark images since the camera is reading all of the bright light reflected from the snow and compensating accordingly. The best way to overcome this is by shooting in MANUAL and compensating accordingly.

Use your histogram to determine what actual exposure your camera is getting. You may also use your histogram as a guide for adjusting your settings while shooting in manual mode. Slowly warm up to room temperature along with the rest of your bag and its sundry contents. If you need to get your memory card out of the camera, be sure to do so before going inside. That way you won’t risk prematurely exposing your camera to the warm air. This goes back to whole issue of condensation forming inside your camera or lens.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to go out with your camera in the lovely winter weather!

(source: Allen Mowery (