Winter photography can be treated as a part of Nature or landscape photography and also as a separate discipline. There are many people who think that all you need to take winter photographs is a nice camera, patience, the right opportunity and passion. Well! They are almost right, except that there is much more than all this put together. So, if you are thinking about becoming a photographer specializing in taking winter photographs then you need to understand some of the fundamentals.
Although, the daylight hours in winter are short, it is fun working outdoors because of the variable weather patterns. Shorter days also mean that you can indulge in night photography, which is quite challenging. The best time for taking night photographs is always around 30 minutes after sunset because all though, it may be dark but there is usually a small amount of light in the sky. Let’s proceed to look at some of the components that can enhance your winter photography skills.
Photography equipment is one of the most important components of any kind of photography and the first equipment to look at is the Camera. They can mainly be divided between two types, one is the Pro Camera, and the other is the amateur Camera. The advantage that the top range pro cameras like Canon EOS-1V, Nikon F5, Nikon D70, and D100 have is weatherproofing. These cameras have been developed to work in poor weather conditions and as a result they prove a worthy asset if you are interested in winter photography. Then there are the underwater cameras like Nikonos, which can be great if you planning to take a jump in the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea. The Nikonos can work in all bad weather conditions including rainy and stormy conditions. If you have a normal or amateur camera then you will have to make alternate arrangements to take picture of a snowfall. You will have to cover the camera and lens with a plastic bag because snow or water will damage the lens.
Another important yet small component of a camera is the batteries. Most of the time, we are so engrossed in taking pictures that we forget to remove the batteries once the camera goes into the bag. The problem is that batteries run down faster in winter or cold weather conditions. To increase the life of the batteries, you can wrap your camera in some warm clothing like jackets.
A Film roll is something you cannot do without and hence, it should always be kept inside your jacket or any other warm clothes. In cold temperatures, the film can become brittle and may be difficult to load.
Snow problem is something you will encounter in winter photography. The snow covered mountains or landscapes will invariably fool the exposure meter built in your camera because snow adds to the overall brightness in the scene. So, you will have to increase the exposure although the amount will differ according to the lighting conditions as well as the metering system on your camera.
Using flash is an important aspect of taking spectacular winter photographs. If you are trying to shoot an animal in the snow then you will have to use fill in flash in the snow. The flash will help you to maintain a natural look if kept between -2/3 to -2 stops.
Remember, photography is not something you can learn in a day or two with a tutorial. It requires practical exposure. So go out there and start shooting some real ones!