It is best to shoot winter landscapes in early spring, when frosts and thaws, snowfalls and rains alternate. We are preparing the sled in the summer and already now we are figuring out how, what and at what settings you need to shoot.
Thaws and frosts form bizarre layers of ice on the water. Amazing ice patterns can be found even on the surfaces of puddles. But you should pay attention not only to ice-bound reservoirs. Look for icicles on rooftops, downspouts, and the edges of waterfalls.
The weather is not a hindrance: ice is a great object to work on both a cloudy day and in bright sunlight.
The main thing is to understand what and why you are shooting. Having set a specific goal, you will be able to decide on the necessary photographic equipment.
A dedicated macro lens is, of course, the best choice. But any optics with a focal length from 50 to 180 mm is also not bad. If there are no such lenses, then extension rings are the best of inexpensive solutions.
Telephoto lenses can also be used.
Always use a tripod when shooting macro. Use the remote control or self-timer to minimize vibration. Stop down (down to f/16) to increase depth of field and calculate hyperfocal distance. For better quality, set the minimum ISO value. Hold the camera parallel to the subject to avoid out of focus field of view.
On clear nights, the smallest drops of moisture freeze, creating hoarfrost — a light fluffy cover of ice crystals. Frost is especially common at ground level, but on foggy days and cold nights it covers trees that are bare in winter.
To capture the frosty nature, you need to get up early. Otherwise, you simply will not have time to capture the most spectacular shots. Although in severe frosts it can last all day.
White frost metering results in underexposure, so increase (by about 1 stop) exposure to get a nice white tone, but without blown out highlight detail in the image.
Trees or a single tree can form the basis of an expressive composition of a shot, so shoot options from different angles and points using different focal lengths of the lens.
The graphic quality of winter landscapes is well emphasized by the backlight, right down to the silhouette images. Find a compelling storyline and experiment with framing.
It is advisable to use a measurement mode and a measurement system that allows complete control of the process. It is better to use manual or AV (aperture priority) mode and, more importantly, spot or partial metering instead of matrix or center-weighted, which can introduce a completely unacceptable error in the required exposure.
Keep in mind that when spot metering snow, the camera will tend to reproduce this area as gray, so a correction must be applied to avoid underexposure. Metering on frontally lit snow always has a shift of about two steps towards the shadows. Therefore, you need to increase the exposure by two steps, evaluating the result from the histogram.
If you expose the snow using spot or partial metering and do not apply a correction, the snow will turn out dirty gray.
Raise the exposure by about two stops to get a white snow tone instead of a gray one.
Evaluate the effect of the correction on the histogram so that there is no overexposure of the scene.
Until the snow melts
A magnificent sight — a snow-covered plain sparkling in the sun. But in a photograph, it can turn into an inexpressive white cover of the landscape. Therefore, the right light is extremely important for a successful landscape shot. Low and side lighting most advantageously convey the texture of the surface and the expressive features of the landscape. But effective framing is just as important. For example, footprints in the snow can become the compositional basis of the frame, emphasizing the scale and conveying the depth of space.
To avoid smearing the falling snow, you will have to set your shutter speed to no faster than 1/500 s. A relatively slow shutter speed — 1/15 s — will allow you to get the rapid dynamics of the lines, creating the desired effect. Fluttering snowflakes will stand out better if they are shot against a dark background.
How to enhance the feeling of cold in the picture
Special image processing and the correct printing method will give the image a cooler tone. This is facilitated by a slight excess of blue tone, which in the traditional technique was achieved using light filters. In digital photography, a similar result when shooting in winter can be obtained by manually shifting the white balance to 3000 degrees Kelvin (dark blue) and up to 5000 (pale blue).
When shooting in RAW format, you can get the desired effect by converting to TIFF format and selecting the desired color temperature value. Another possibility is digital toning of the image. In Photoshop, you must first use the Desaturate option to desaturate the image (Adjust Hue / Saturation), then activate the Colorize option and select the Hue and Saturation values \u200b\u200bfor the desired effect.