Photographing Snow

Snow, it comes in all shapes, sizes, and textures.  Snow is as fine as sugar or as heavy as whipped cream.  Notice a trend toward the sweet side?  I’m a Southerner so my sweet tooth comes out naturally; which is unfortunate for my waistline but that’s another topic altogether.

Oftentimes the conditions for photographing snow can be challenging.  It’s either bitterly cold so that you’re freezing in seconds or it can be mild and you end up cold and wet.  Either way, being in the snow is exhilarating and very much worth the effort for me.  I never really know what I’m going to get and the creative opportunities are unlimited.

This first image is my whipped cream look-a-like.  The temperatures were in the twenties so the snow was fluffy but not too wet.  Being that it was so cloudy, I converted it to b/w which I liked better than the color version.  I also used HDR which I really enjoy when working with these types of images.

Whipped Cream in B/W

This next image, the temperatures were below zero, with a mean windchill so the snow was very fine, you know, like sugar.  I decided to capture the blowing snow and in this image, it looks like sand but it really is ice/snow blowing in 40 mph gusts.

Fine Sugar

If you decide to give snow a try, remember to overexpose the image 2/3 to 1 stop.  Cameras like everything to be neutral or medium gray so you want your snow to be white so the +1 on your exposure compensation setting will help get you there.  Also, bundle up, keep an extra camera battery in your pocket (to keep it warm since batteries and cold don’t play well together), and don’t stay out too long.  It’s cold out there!

Oh, another tip, if you go in to warm up, remember your camera will try to do the same and you may end up with a foggy lens; the same thing will happen to your glasses if you wear them.  I keep a plastic bag in my jacket to put over my camera before taking it inside.  This helps prevent lens fog.  Just keep the bag on the camera until it warms up to room temperature or until you go back outside for some more fun in the snow.

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