"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different."
- JB Priestly
If you are a photographer or even a fan of photography and looking to start we all know that winter is its own challenge to capture. Let me share some of the best tips to maximize your experience... I actually love photography in the winter. The sunsets when it's a clear day or even partly cloudy make the most dramatic scenes set against snow, the contrast of nature against the white can be incredible... also if you are someone like me who attracts all bugs regardless of spray, you don't have to deal with them. Winter photography just takes a little bit of extra prep knowing your camera and also making sure you take care of yourself. Here are some tips:
1) Always shoot in RAW, with the different tones and reflections of the snow, the RAW format allows you to manipulate your settings and tell it what to do... it saves a tremendous headache in editing.... I learned that one a long time ago from experience.
2) Adjust the White Balance in your settings... you don't want a blue tone on your pics for the correct color balance or simply use your flash, it will help balance it out.
3) At all costs protect your camera, like me, 100% of the time if I am capturing the snow or rain, use a large Ziploc bag for a cheap hack or a rain cover that is offered online... put a whole in the Ziploc bag to slip the lens through when you need to capture. I also... since I live near the Great Salt Lake and love to photograph there in the winter, take an umbrella. I have a really large, easy to carry umbrella when walking in the windy snow or when it softly falls but is really wet.... I tend to point the umbrella towards the wind direction blocking it from my face and the camera... It helps me get the right shot sometimes when the elements are coming down.
4) We all know from experience that if we take a camera out when it is too hot and humid or too cold that it fogs up.... and that is no bueno. Take your camera out with you ahead of time, allowing for 15 - 25 minutes of time in the hot or cold settings with you. The temperature of the lens and camera will adjust with you and won't be an issue.
Also, although this may sound like common sense but just a reminder, don't leave your camera in the car during really hot or cold weather, long exposure to extreme temps starts can cause damage to your equipment... A camera is exactly like a car... it requires upkeep, love and overall maintenance. If you love it and keep it clean, it will love you with amazing images...
5) Last of all take care of yourself... It sounds simple, but planning and knowing where you are going, letting someone know when you go somewhere remote, well, it keeps you safe. I also always like to carry a winter kit in my car... with extra clothes, a blanket, extra shoes, socks, water, some snacks... anything that could happen. Even having some extra grocery bags in the car helps... you never know when you need them, especially if you are treking in the snow taking photos where no one has gone. I carry a charged external battery charger for my cell phone as well, the cold is not friendly to phones.
“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” - Ralph Hattersley