Winter Landscape Photography Tips

Photography is challenging, and chasing the light in winter can put photographers in tricky situations. Here are a few ideas for Winter Landscapes:

  • When shooting in cold or below-freezing weather, it is critical to have a fully charged set of batteries and plenty of extra batteries.  Cold temperatures will quickly drain batteries.  Between shots, try to keep your gear close to your body to help warm it up.   
  • In wet conditions such as snow and sleet, try not to change your lenses often.  You don’t  want to get moisture or condensation inside the camera body.  Its great to have two cameras with various prime lenses, or use a multi purpose zoom lens.  If you must change lenses, keep the camera body facing downward.  
  • Eventhough my pro cameras & lenses are moisture resistant, a rain guard helps to add an extra layer of protection for my gear.  I keep one handy.
  • Bring gloves & be familiar with a style of gloves that works best for you allowing enough movement to handle the control buttons, while keeping your hands warm in-between shots.  Using a shutter release helps when wearing gloves.  
  • Bring a lens cleaning cloth. Your lens may fog or get damp.
  • Weatherproof Memory Card holders can be useful.  Especially for those who take a ton of photos and carry them around in pockets.
  • Bring a quality tripod & shutter release.  Use mirror lock up so you can drag the shutter a bit for those stunning sunrise/sunset shots.
  • Keep an eye on the weather before & during your photo travels.  COLD FRONTS / STORMS often produce stunning sunrises & sunsets.  But don’t put yourself in harms way.
  • For night photography & star trails, keep an eye on the moon phase and cloud conditions for best photo opportunities.  Pick your location during the daylight, and know where you will be setting up for your night photos. This helps prevent stumbling around in the dark.
  • Bring an extra flashlight/batteries so you won’t drain your cell phone battery.
  • Snow is extremely bright and can easily trick your camera’s built-in light meter.  Keep an eye on your camera’s histogram chart for blown out highlights & hot spots. Use a grey card/white balance card to help get a proper exposure and/or white balance reading.  You might have to use your camera’s exposure compensation scale to adjust, or you may prefer to shoot in manual mode.
  • I always shoot landscapes in RAW for best exposure flexibility, and try to get the best exposures in camera.

    If your exploring high country backroads, BLM, National Forest roads, etc., just keep in mind that some roads may have very few condition hazard signs – or none at all.  Some roads could easily become impassible, or are 4×4 high clearance only.

    Its better to explore with a friend, or family member. Always take extra blankets, emergency water & food. Mother Nature can be fierce, & can throw curve balls at us, so be prepared.

    GO & have fun!

KWeigand, M. Photog.

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