Let it snow!

It's been snowing here. Masses of it.

I love the snow, it transforms everything and, for a while, makes a new world of otherwise familiar surroundings.

It also gives lots of opportunities for photography.

Mundane scenes, such as a garden rake lying against a flight of steps, become interesting graphic compositions:

Everyday scenes, such as this Swiss postman on his rounds, take on a new dimension:

Without the snow, this scene would be boring and dull. The postman, on his delivery bike, would hardly stand out against the grey of the road and background. With the snow it becomes a tiny story.

And you can get action shots, almost isolated on white. In any event, in the snow there is lots of opportunity for getting shots with  minimal background distraction.

Just remember a few points when taking shots of snow scenes:
  • Set your exposure compensation to over-expose at between 0.7 - 1.0 stop ... possibly even more. The reason is that your camera is not very clever. It is expecting you to take photographs of scenes containing a whole range of tones from black to white, and so averages out the exposure setting. If you average out the exposure for a scene with a lot of bright tones in it, such as snow or beach, and you'll get the white coming out as a dirty grey.

  • Make sure your sensor is clean. Snow being bright, will often require small apertures and, at small apertures, every speck of dust on your sensor shows. This is made worse by the fact that snow scenes tend to have a lot of plain colours against which dust shows up.

  • When you've finished photographing snow and you go back indoors, don't be tempted to transfer all those brilliant images to your computer immediately. Keep your camera securely zipped up in its bag/case for several hours until it has warmed up to room temperature. Condensation will form on a cold camera in a warm house and, whilst condensation on the outside of the camera is pretty harmless, if moisture condenses between the lens elements, actually within the lens, you could have a big problem on your hands.

Let it snow!

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