Planning a family vacation to a winter destination? How do you cherish those memories with your family? How do you capture those breath-taking views of the snow-capped landscape? Photography is one of the best ways to capture experiences and destinations you have explored.
However, taking photographs in winter destinations can prove to be a challenge. The white landscape, more often than not, offers no contrast. The radiant glare of the snow may not allow you to capture your subject vividly and your cameras and photography gear have a mind of their own in this weather.
Nothing can be more disheartening than to browse through family vacation photographs which have not captured the fun times and memorable moments. Here are some tips and tricks, to make sure you get great photographs on your next winter vacation with your family:
Prepare for the Moisture
Moisture can become your biggest challenge in the snow. As you move outdoors or indoors, your body adapts to the change in the temperature. Your camera needs to do the same. Traditionally, photographers believed that putting your camera in a plastic bag would keep it safe. That still holds true. But if you are short of plastic remember tucking it under your coat is big no. Even in freezing temperatures, you can sweat from exertion and your body moisture can ruin your gear. As you move from one temperature zone to another, condensation can form on the outside your gear and even seep in. So keep your camera in the bag for a while before taking it out to use. When you are out but not shooting, keep your lens covered. Try holding your breath when taking a picture to avoid fogging the LCD screen.
Mind the Reflection
When taking pictures in the snow, your image can be overwhelmed by the stark whiteness of the scenery. Setting your camera to RAW format gives you some space to adjust the image and effects. There is little you can do with JPEG and other image formats. Use a shutter hood to protect the lens from reflection when taking a picture. For the same reason, you should avoid using your flash – the light can bounce off the snow and over-expose your image resulting in “light-spots” on the image, which can be hard to get rid of without damaging the picture.
Adjust the Exposure
Standard settings work in most situations where your focus is on multi-coloured scenes and objects. Remember though, snow is stark white in colour and in order to compensate for the starkness, your camera may veer towards a bluish hue. Trying to adjust the hue manually may land you in the yellow spectrum zone. To avoid this, change your matrix metering and use aperture-priority mode. If you are a newbie or unsure how to use your matrix, simply set your compensation to +1 or +2.
Keep your balance
Your camera can have a difficult time focusing when everything around is white and you may end up with dull grey images where the object you were trying to focus on appears blurred. Look for contrasts like the block of brown wood just below the surface or the flash of a red coat to get a good picture. Take a few experimental photographs and adjust the settings as you go. Check your readings as you go, and tweak as you need. Remember to keep all your images until you get home and have time to take a good look before deleting the unwanted ones.
Be quick and composed
Try to compose your image quickly – identify your subject, look for contrast, and shoot with a snap. Make sure all your settings are in place in advance, to get good pictures. A dash of colour can bring the snow to life in your picture so keep your eyes peeled for tree barks, snow-laden branches, or other colourful objects. If you don’t see any, shoot in the black-and-white mode for better image quality. Make quick decisions and shoot – you can always adjust later. Lighting, weather, and other conditions can change suddenly making it difficult for you to adjust your settings. Use fast shutter speeds to avoid fogging and capture what you are aiming at in an instant. In short, speed is of great importance when shooting in the snow.
Once you are done clicking photographs, pack your gear but before you do that, don’t forget to pull your memory card out for safekeeping. Pack your gear in a bag so that the condensation that forms is on the outside of the bag instead of on your camera. If the temperature contrast is high, the moisture can seep into the mechanism, ruin your gear, and cost you an expensive trip to the service centre.
The winter destinations where Club Mahindra resorts are located offer picturesque views of the majestic Himalayas. Ask the staff at the resort for scenic trails and spots where you can capture the best photographs and experience the snowy landscape. If you are too busy having a good time to bother with camera settings, ask one the professional photographers to click photographs of memorable moments you share with your family so that you can take a snapshot of the good times back home.