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Photography in the Snow


By Eric Hartwell

Snow! You either love it or hate it. But, for sure, it gives the chance for some great photographs. Wrap up warm and get those shots, but remember a simple rule.

Snow is cold and sloppy. It this wasn't bad enough for the photographer, there is one other problem to face: snow can fool your camera when exposing.

Snow is white and a blanket of snow shows the camera exposure meter a blanket of white. Consequently, the camera will average all the white it sees and attempt to produce an image that is "average" or "mid grey". This means that snow turns out not white, but some dirty, murky colour.

But how do you ensure that snow on your image is the virgin white that your eyes see? It's easy.

Because your camera sees a vision of white, it will underexpose the image leading to murky highlights and detail. You need to tell the camera to change the exposure - just dial in some overexposure. This is usually in the form of extra "stops" of exposure on your camera but you will need to refer to your camera manual to see exactly how this is done.

An overexposure setting in 1 or 1.5 stops should get your snow scene bright once more!

Eric Hartwell is an enthusiastic photographer. He owns and runs the photography resource site http://www.theshutter.co.uk and the associated discussion forums http://www.theshutter.co.uk/forums as well as the regular weblog at http://thephotographysite.blogspot.com. Anyone interested in getting involved contact him at shutter@theshutter.co.uk

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