Photo Tips by Mike Rosen
IN THIS ISSUE: GET OUT IN THE SNOW (IF YOU CAN FIND IT)
Hi <<First Name>>,
My wife and I went to visit our kids over the holidays. They live in a beautiful setting near Lausanne, Switzerland, and because it's only a four hour train ride to Paris, we decided to spend a few days there as well. Not only did I have a chance to shoot pictures during a heavy snow in Verbier (a major Swiss ski town), but also some awesome night scenes of Paris lit up for the holidays.
So it occurred to me it would be fun to share tips on how to photograph both in the snow and and at night (of course, combining the two can make for some wonderful creative possibilities). In this issue I'll focus on snow and next time on night photos.
Here are a few tips on how to capture good snow images:
1. You may notice a blue color cast in many of your snow pictures, as cold and snow elicit this response from the camera's sensor. I don't like this look and normally will try to whiten up the snow and warm up the image. Because I shoot in RAW format, I keep my camera's white balance setting on "auto" and easily adjust the warmth and tint in my computer using editing software. However, if you use JPEG, you'll get truer colors by changing your camera's white balance from "auto" or "daylight" to "shade" or "cloudy" when you're going out in the snow. Check after you've taken your first few shots to see if you like them; try experimenting with different white balance settings. You'll get a more realistic and pleasant tone for your photos, such as in this warmed-up shot of Pine Creek near Maiden Rock, Wisconsin.
2. The very bright snow will often trick your camera's metering system into under-exposing the picture, leaving the rest of the image too dark. To solve this problem with a point and shoot camera, put it on "snow" mode, which will allow more light on the foregound elements. I prefer doing this manually by deliberately over-exposing from one-half to two f-stops using the +/- button (check the instruction book to learn about how to override your camera's exposure meter). This example is of a roof top in Verbier with a snowy, foggy mountain slope in the distance.
3. As usual, it's best to shoot during the "magic hours" of early morning or late afternoon when the long shadows create great patterns in the snow.
4. Try to incorporate some item with a contrasty color (like bright red) in your snow photos. If nothing is available, I often convert them to black and white during the editing process. This shot of our black standard poodle, Missi, was a good candidate for black and white conversion due to the lack of color in the scene to begin with and her strong contrast against the snow.
Here are a couple of other examples:
This image is of cross-country skiers heading up the world-famous Jungfrau in Switzerland. While under-exposure made the snow look a bit less white than it actually was, it also brought out the texture and trail patterns nicely. The miniature people provide a sense of scale, and a couple of red jackets and flag (hardly noticeable in this small size) add a little touch of color.
And while this last photo barely qualifies as a snow scene, I'm including it anyway to show off my grandson, Daniel, on a great Swiss hike we had together a few years ago.
Finally, don't forget to bring extra batteries with you, as they'll run down quickly in cold weather.
All the best,