Color & Light
Meeting Photo Challenges
Creative Image Processing
Nature & Outdoor
Creating Better Photographics
Night & Low Light Photography
Light & Exposure
Close-Up & Macro
Digital Black & White
Color & Design
Choosing & Using Lenses
Digital Photography Equipment
Shooting Snow & Ice:
There’s also the old “Sunny 16” rule: For a front-lit subject in bright sun, set the aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to the reciprocal of the film speed: with ISO 100 film (or the ISO set to 100 with a digital camera), use a shutter speed of 1/100. Of course, you can use any shutter-speed/aperture combination that results in the same exposure: 1/100 at f/16 = 1/200 at f/11 = 1/400 at f/8, etc.
But different folks have different tastes, so it’s not a bad idea to bracket exposures when shooting snow scenes. Start with the Sunny 16 exposure, or the incident reading, or a stop over the reflected-light reading, and bracket from there.
Outdoor shadows are areas lit only by blue light from the sky. This gives them
a blue cast. Normally, we don’t notice the blue cast, but when the shadows
are cast on white snow, we do—and our film certainly does. There are two
choices here: Work with the blue (it can add color to an otherwise colorless
scene), or eliminate it by placing one of the amber 81-series light-balancing
filters over the camera lens. The trick with the filter is to neutralize the
blue cast without turning the snow amber. It’s best to shoot such scenes
using print film, or digitally, so you can make corrections after-the-fact if
necessary. With slide film, what you shoot is what you get.
An all-white photo isn’t very interesting. You can add visual interest to your snow photos by positioning someone in colorful garb in the scene. This also adds human interest, generally a good thing. Try the shot both ways, with and without the person/people, and see which works best for the particular scene.
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