Photographing Winter Landscapes

As the first snow falls we start to creep closer to winter and drift farther away from the majestic colors of fall. Winter is not a colorful as fall or spring, but it can still be majestic in its own way. We trade the busy momentum of a changing season for the tranquil quiet of sleeping nature. In this article I will share some tips to help your winter photography go a little smoother.

Dress Accordingly

First, pay attention to the weather. You never want to get caught in a dangerous winter weather situation. Dress appropriately, wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry, this includes your choice of shoes. Also layer up. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing to your activity level. Gloves are a very important item to consider, here are a variety of style options.

Equipment

Frozen trees, image taken by Travis Garwood

Photography equipment will take a few extra licks in winter time. Take an extra battery, it’s always a great idea to have a back up battery but in winter it’s especially important. Cold weather drains batteries faster. Think about storing your extra batteries in an inner pocket of your coat, the closer to your body the better so your body heat will keep them warm. If you decide to use a tripod and it gets wet, leave the legs fully extended. Closing the legs while wet can cause legs to get stuck with ice and make it difficult to use the tripod again.

Technical Issues

Pond after ice storm, image taken by Travis Garwood

Snow can trick your camera’s light meter into thinking the scene is brighter causing an underexposed image. This can be compensated by overexposing up 1 or 2 stops. Make sure you are not loosing detail in the highlight areas. If you’re unsure, bracketing is always a good option. Auto focus on your camera can have difficulty because there is not enough contrast to lock focus. If you run into this problem, it is best to switch to manual focus mode.

Go have fun and stay warm!

If you’d like some detailed photography training, Lynda.com has more than 700 photography courses you can take online for free with your library card. Here are a couple helpful booklists on photography.

View complete list

View complete list

Travis Garwood

I have always loved art and I’m a working artist. I mostly do photography and digital art but I also paint and make ceramics. I hold a fine art degree from Washburn University. I just love creating things.