Art & Photography20th November 2014

Top Tips for Winter Pics

Snapping away during Winter is as much fun as any other time of year

by Natasha Hurst

 It's all too easy in the winter to be tempted to stay inside instead of braving the cold and often dismal dark outdoors. It might be hard to find inspiration outside once the gorgeous autumn colours have gone but there are still lots of opportunities to get great winter photos, whatever the weather. Early morning mist, moody clouds or stunning blue skies with long shadows can reward you with great photos if you spend some time outdoors with the camera.

You can take your tripod and imagination out and make use of the earlier nights for some creative long exposure shots. Especially over Christmastime you'll find outdoor markets, fairs and other activities that provide opportunities for interesting images. Keep your camera steady with a tripod or a bean bag and use a long shutter speed to capture motion such as moving lights. To avoid camera shake, use a timer or remote shutter if you have one.  It takes a bit of experimentation and practice to get it right, but you can achieve amazing results. 

Winter Nights - Top Tips

Wrap up warm and take a flask of hot drink with you - you might be standing still for a while whilst you get the shot you want.  
Cyclist's cold weather gloves are amazing - they are well insulated, waterproof and have gripper patches on the palms and fingertips which means you can operate many cameras with the gloves on.
Take someone with you for company and to stay safe, especially if you can't hear what is going on around you.

You can make use of the downsides of winter weather for interesting environmental shots, you might even get them published in the local paper.  Get in close to capture expressions and emotions if people are part of the image. Using colour can help set the scene too.  Blues are associated with cold wintery weather and the falling light at dusk.  Oranges contrast to show warmth such as from indoor lighting and fires. Keep looking out for new angles to take photos from. Reflections from puddles can create really intriguing compositions, try to look at the world differently and you will spot some interesting details that you can focus on.


Rainy Weather - Top Tips

Document how the weather changes the landscape, look for puddles and swollen rivers, trees bowing in the wind.
Protect your camera from rain by wrapping a plastic bag across the lens barrel and camera body and hold it secure with an elastic band.  Keep the lens hood on and a lens cloth handy. Always wipe the camera dry before putting it away.

We've been lucky with a long run of mild weather and the MET office do not expect us to have a white Christmas. When the frost and snow do arrive, be ready for it! You can get some gorgeous photos when it is icy outside. However, the bright white frost and snow can trick your camera into underexposing the scene, turning everything dull and grey. Many cameras have an exposure compensation setting, if you increase this to +1 it will overexpose the shot and make the snow look whiter. Find out how this works on your camera and play around with it, it is a really useful setting to learn how to use.

Snow and Ice - Top Tips

Wrap up warm and wear a solid pair of walking boots and cyclists gloves. Give the camera a chance to adjust to the temperature when you go outside. When you take the camera from cold to warm, seal it inside a plastic bag first so that the condensation forms on the bag and not the camera.

Take spare charged batteries since they run down quicker in very cold weather. Keep the batteries warm in your pockets. If there is lots of snow, overexpose your photo to prevent the snow looking grey.

And if all else fails, get creative indoors; festive lights and decorations make great colourful and abstract photos. Try taking a photo that you could use for next year's Christmas or New Year cards!



Article by Natasha Hurst

posted in Entertainment / Art & Photography

20th November 2014