Photographing Snow

When out photographing snow, the camera’s meter will play tricks on the photographer.  Typically the meter will overexpose so the snow areas, which could be a large portion of the frame, are so white that there is no detail.

photographing-snow

You can tell that the camera is doing this by turning on the histogram when previewing a photograph that was taken out in the snow.  What you will notice is a big spike on the right side of the histogram.  That means blown out highlights.

What I do, when out in this situation, is get my exposure either using the camera or a light meter.  Then, change my exposure to around two stops down.  As an example, if the meter is saying to use 1/500, then my shutter speed will be around 1/2000, in turn reducing the amount of light reaching through the camera.  This might darken the mid towns and shadows, but it’s possible to recover areas with detail and not possible to recover pure white.

The photogreaph here was taken at the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell, NJ.  After visiting the park for my first time, I knew I wanted to go back after a snow.  What you see here is the exact reason I wanted to return.

I made some minor edits in Adobe Lightroom before bringing it into onOne Software Perfect B&W for the remaining processing.  I went for a clean and modern black and white tone with enough contrast to keep the snow detail.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,

Scott

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