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Mountain Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography - Shooting in Snow

A guide to landscape photography

Landscape photography Stob Ban and Crags of Sgurr an Lubhair
The Mamores from Aonach Mor
Landscape photography Alpine Feel to Aonach Beag

Shooting in snowy conditions.

As a mountain and landscape photographer I often take photographs in the snow and from the very first time in doing so, I realised it is one of the trickiest things to do. Your camera trys to compensate for the brightness and the end result can easily be underexposed images. Of course, if you are shooting in Raw you can always increase the exposure afterwards but by doing this you also increase the amount of noise in the shadows!

This is how I deal with landscape photography in snowy conditions.

First off, I shoot in manual mode with image quality set to max resolution in raw. I occasionally use AV mode but only if I'm in a hurry or the subject matter is changing fast. By using the manual mode I can easily select the aperture I want, then the ISO depending on the weather conditions and finally the shutter speed. I will tweak the ISO if the shutter speed drops to low.

To review images I set the camera up to display RGB & brightness histograms at the same time. This is very important and is the only real way to tell how well the shot has been exposed when it is to bright to be able to see the image clearly enough on the screen. The other setting you need to enable is Highlight Alert. This provides you with a warning when you have clipped highlights and lost image data as a result. Even in the brightest of conditions you can see this warning flash.

Now the camera's set up correctly I take a test shot using the camera's metering system as a starting point and then check the histogram. I aim to get the exposure as far right as possible on the histogram without it clipping, this helps reduce the amount of noise in the shadows. Even if you over expose it a little you can reduce the exposure in Raw and it won't increase the noise levels. Remember the highlight alert, if it is shows clipped highlights, adjust the shutter speed and re-take the shot. Keep doing this until there are no clipped highlights and the exposure is as far right as possible.

Once you get used to this system it can be very quick to use and it will help you avoid that gut wrenching feeling you get when you find all the images you have taken are underexposed. The thought of re-climbing a route several thousand feet high and hoping for the same light conditions is enough to make you sick... I know, I have done it once and never again!

The next issue with shooting in the snow is the blue tones it can produce!

Personally I don't try to remove the blue tones altogether, highlights/bright areas should be white but the shadows can be blue. I feel the blue tones in the shadows help to portray the temperature the photograph was taken in and by removing to much blue it can take some of the life out of the image. It's also important to remember that the blue you are seeing can also be the reflection from the sky and by removing it, it can make the image look just as unnatural as over saturating it would. I generally review each image on it's own merit to get the right balance and feel to each shot.

Summary

1 - Set the image quality to mas resolution in Raw mode.

2 - Make sure the review screen is set to show RGB & brightness histograms at the same time.

3 - Make sure highlight warning is set to enabled.

4 - Switch to manual mode and set the aperture you require and adjust the ISO to meeting the lighting conditions.

5 - Adjust the speed setting so the exposure is as far right on the histogram as possible without clipping.

6 - Review the image and re-take if clipping has occurred or the histogram is not far enough right.

Anyway.... that's my routine when photographing in snow, I hope it has been useful and if you have your own tips or guide that you would like to share, please complete the Article Link Form and we will add it to the pages here.

DUNCAN ANDISON © 2010 | COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Landscape Photography


Every time I venture out I look forward to the challenge of capturing the raw emotion inside when I'm faced
with the shear beauty of the world we live in. Whether it is the exposure of a steep ridge at 4000 metres, the
tranquility of large sweeping vistas or the secretive world of the local wildlife I can't help but feel lucky to be there
and my landscape photography helps me to remember those magical moments.If I can look back at a photograph of a mountain or
landscape and remember what it felt like to be there then I can say the photograph really works for me.

Mountain Photography


My wife Rebecca and I both have a deep love for the mountains and photography and spend a lot of time in Scotland,
The Lake District and The Alps. We are both keen climbers and mountain bike riders. This mixed with my background in
commercial illustration inspired me to try and capture these moments in print and to share them with you.
The complete tranquility of being sat outside in a beautiful landscape, waiting for the perfect time to take what you
hope to be the perfect landscape photograph is something very special. However, while I love Landscape Photography it will
always come second to the real thing, the mountains will always come first!



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