Winter Photos: Snowscapes or Grayscapes?

If your shots of the recent snowstorms didn’t come out quite as well as you’d hoped, then you might want to check out Ken Rockwell’s advice for photographing snow. Actually even if you live in the kind of place that’s more likely to get sandstorms than snowstorms his tips are still worth reading. The same principles apply to sandy beaches and desert landscapes too.

Ken points out that the reason snow scenes shot on cloudy days tend to come out gray is that the camera’s light meter gets confused. It assumes you’re looking at a gray object in bright light and lowers the exposure. Instead of a nice, bright snowscape, you get a dull, ugly grayscape.

The solution, he says, is to raise the exposure level manually to compensate.

Ken Rockwell

Great advice, though let’s take it a little further. Because it might be hard to tell whether you’ve got the exposure level exactly right until you’re looking at the image on a large screen (with a hot cup of somethin’ and no desire to go back out in the snow), it makes sense to take several images at different exposure levels to make sure you get the perfect shot.

Of course, there’s no reason why you should limit this technique to sand and snow scenes. This technique should work anywhere that has a bright subject and medium light: on the sea, for example, or the side of a well-lit building.

And once you’ve used the exposure level to correct the camera’s mistakes you could try playing with it to create effects. Overexpose a picture with a beam of sunlight for example, and you should add power to the ray. It’s even more fun than building snowmen.

Photo credits: Thanks to Ken Rockwell…and his mom.

[tags]Snow, Exposure, Winter Photos, Light[/tags]

One comment for this post.

  1. Ed Johnson,Sr. Said:

    Hello Ken, I am trying to get some advice on using Adobe Lightroom 2.3 software that I have just installed. I'm under the impresion, that I would also need to have Photoshop CS4 software also installed to coincide with Lightroom 2.3 being it has the Bridge factor included. I just want to know if this is a neccessary item to be installed.I cannot get a straight answer, one way or the other.Can you help with a detailed answer to my question.?

    Thank you very much.


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