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Attention Travellers: Seasonal Photography Tutorials

October 28th, 2012 No Comments

The holiday season is round the corner and some of you will be travelling to the Mother Country or elsewhere in Europe – or even to America.  There, you’ll find radically different conditions for shooting – it’ll be winter!  Here, then, are three tutorials for effective winter photography.

Low sun, bare trees, snow and frost – winter scenes are almost nature-made silhouettes.  Accentuate the mood and effect by following the tips in How to Photograph Silhouettes This Winter.

The author provides exposure techniques that may be informative for beginners, including ‘exposure locking’ – fooling the camera into exposing (as 18 percent grey) for a very light or very dark area in your composition.  The author also assists by identifying what subjects will work best for winter silhouettes.

This article contains a really sharp example of how even a body of water can be treated in silhouette fashion, so to speak – it is in such high contrast that the crests and troughs are in near-whites and near-blacks resulting in a dramatic effect.

Another tutorial provides guidance for exactly the reverse situation: Coping with Contrast in Winter.  This how-to is really about retaining shadow detail and highlight detail in high-contrast situations.  It combines advice on capturing appealing images alongwith a few hard technical details.  

For instance, the photographer is advised to take advantage of the histogram to check that highlight detail won’t be lost.  Also, understanding issues of colour temperature will let you control just how snow looks in your photographs – do you want it to look pure white or do you want it to take on and reflect the cast of the sky or sun?

In Brilliant Prints’s Countdown: 7 Rules for Surefire Holiday Snaps we had said, “the mid-day and afternoon sun’s flat hard light makes for dull, lifeless images (try a polarizer).  Instead, take outdoor photographs in the morning and evening.  Sure, you’ll get shadows but early and late sunlight makes for better colour and finer detail.”

This advice is echoed in Working With Winter Sun: “Regardless of the time of year, the best lighting conditions for landscapes occur when the sun is low in the sky, when the shadow-forming angle of the light creates a strong sense of three-dimensional form in your pictures.”  However, they also mention, “when the sun comes out in winter it remains low in the sky for the entire day. So . . . when the sun makes an appearance it is perfect for landscapes.”

As you might guess, this how-to concentrates on getting the best out of natural lighting.  It goes beyond that to inform you of photographic conditions you can expect to find when shooting on winter mornings so that you can – like a boy scout – ‘be prepared’.

These three tutorials complement each other very well and will lift your winter photography skills to a new level.


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