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Shooting In Snow

 
 
Matt Ion
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      11-20-2006
Bill Hilton wrote:
>>Jeremy wrote:
>>
>>Any tips for exposure when shooting on a snow covered mountain during the
>>daytime?
>>
>>For people shots I am thinking of using hotshoe flash, possibly with
>>positive FEC (on Canon 20D). For scenery, I am thinking of using exposure
>>bracketing and seeing what works best by looking at the histogram. However,
>>I am interesting in any tips from people that have shot these types of
>>scenes before.

>
>
> If there's a lot of white in the scene you'll typically need to
> overexpose by + 1 to + 2 stops. The exact amount will depend on which
> metering mode you use, how much snow is in the frame (ie, how much is
> white vs mid-tone) and how bright the light so you'll want to shoot a
> couple (or bracket) at first and adjust after looking at the histogram.
>
> If you shot just the snow at the normal meter reading it would come out
> gray (mid-tone). So the more snow in the frame the more you have to
> adjust the meter reading.


Actually, in such an instance, I'd probably meter my exposure (off a standard
grey card, if possible) and then set exposure manually. I found out when
shooting stock car racing that auto-exposure can be easily fooled in these kinds
of fast-changing lighting situations - white cars would look grey in too-dark
surroundings and black cars would look grey in blown-out surroundings. Metering
off the asphalt and locking that exposure worked almost universally.
 
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Dr. Joel M. Hoffman
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      11-20-2006
>Any tips for exposure when shooting on a snow covered mountain during the
>daytime?


Snow is tricky. I would say your best bet is to forget automatic.

For people, use the "sunny 16" rule (f/16 and shutter equal to ISO;
e..g, f/16 and 1/125 at ISO 100). You'll probably get slightly
overexposed shots and you'll have to compensate. Try a few shoots and
then zoom in on the preview to see if the faces are properly exposed.

Once you find the right setting, keep it.

For scenery, the automatic setting will give you grey snow. For white
snow, you need to overexpose. Again, the sunny 16 is a reasonable
place to start. Many cameras' previews will indicate areas that have
been burned white, that is, those areas that are so overexposed that
you have no detail. I would start with sunny 16 and keep letting in
more light until you reach that point. Then scale back a bit.

Bracketing is also a good idea.

-Joel

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Bill Hilton
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      11-20-2006

> Matt Ion wrote:
>
> Actually, in such an instance, I'd probably meter my exposure (off a standard
> grey card, if possible) and then set exposure manually.


This doesn't work for snow, which will overexpose if the light is
bright (it will of course give you the right exposure for mid-tones
though). This is because the brightness or contrast range of the scene
is higher than the dynamic range of the film or sensor.

That's why everyone who actually shoots in snowy conditions and wants
to keep a bit of texture or detail in the whites meters off the snow
and opens up a stop or two.

Bill

 
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Floyd L. Davidson
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      11-20-2006
"Bill Hilton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Matt Ion wrote:
>>
>> Actually, in such an instance, I'd probably meter my exposure (off a standard
>> grey card, if possible) and then set exposure manually.

>
>This doesn't work for snow, which will overexpose if the light is
>bright (it will of course give you the right exposure for mid-tones
>though). This is because the brightness or contrast range of the scene
>is higher than the dynamic range of the film or sensor.


Metering a grey card is essentially the same as using an
incident light meter. The brightness of the snow has *no*
effect.

>That's why everyone who actually shoots in snowy conditions and wants
>to keep a bit of texture or detail in the whites meters off the snow
>and opens up a stop or two.


I don't. It isn't accurate enough... But I'm not going to repeat
the proceedure that I use as I've posted it already in this thread.

--
Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
 
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lubecki@hotmail.com
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      11-20-2006
Jeremy wrote:
> Any tips for exposure when shooting on a snow covered mountain during the
> daytime?
>
> For people shots I am thinking of using hotshoe flash, possibly with
> positive FEC (on Canon 20D). For scenery, I am thinking of using exposure
> bracketing and seeing what works best by looking at the histogram. However,
> I am interesting in any tips from people that have shot these types of
> scenes before.


Well, the beauty of digital is that you can check what the photo looks
like right after you take it. So shoot manual, do a few test shots,
look at the photo and the histogram, and figure out what settings work.
Fill flash may help, but again, just test it. It shouldn't take you
more than 3 or 4 shots to get it right, and then you can use those
settings until the light changes.

-Gniewko

 
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Bill Hilton
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      11-21-2006

>> "Bill Hilton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>This (gray card metering) doesn't work for snow, which will overexpose
>> if the light is
>>bright (it will of course give you the right exposure for mid-tones
>>though). This is because the brightness or contrast range of the scene
>>is higher than the dynamic range of the film or sensor.

..
>Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
>
> Metering a grey card is essentially the same as using an
> incident light meter.


True ...

> The brightness of the snow has *no* effect.


It has no effect on the mid-tone exposure but you completely miss the
point ... re-read what I wrote about the dynamic range ... I can
explain it to you but I can't understand it for you ...

> But I'm not going to repeat the proceedure that I use as
> I've posted it already in this thread.


Yes, you repeated pretty much what others (including me) said ... watch
the histogram for blinkies or to quote exactly "use either a histogram
or (best) a "blinking overexposure" LCD display."

So try that ... meter off a gray card in bright light and shoot
well-lit snow and watch the histogram ... all those blinkies are
telling you that you just over-exposed the snow.

If you want to keep some detail in it you can either take a reading off
the snow and over-expose or, to get to the same equivalent exposure,
take a reading off a gray card (or neutral tone in the scene) and
underexpose.

Bill

 
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Floyd L. Davidson
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      11-21-2006
"Bill Hilton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> "Bill Hilton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>>
>>>This (gray card metering) doesn't work for snow, which will overexpose
>>> if the light is
>>>bright (it will of course give you the right exposure for mid-tones
>>>though). This is because the brightness or contrast range of the scene
>>>is higher than the dynamic range of the film or sensor.

>.
>>Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
> >
>> Metering a grey card is essentially the same as using an
>> incident light meter.

>
>True ...
>
>> The brightness of the snow has *no* effect.

>
>It has no effect on the mid-tone exposure but you completely miss the
>point ... re-read what I wrote about the dynamic range ... I can
>explain it to you but I can't understand it for you ...


Your explaination indicates that you don't quite understand it.

>> But I'm not going to repeat the proceedure that I use as
>> I've posted it already in this thread.

>
>Yes, you repeated pretty much what others (including me) said ... watch


It was *not* what you and others said, which is why I posted.

>the histogram for blinkies or to quote exactly "use either a histogram
>or (best) a "blinking overexposure" LCD display."


Which is the *most* accurate way to accomplish it. I would also
agree that the second most accurate way would be to use an
incident light meter (or the grey card equivalent).

>So try that ... meter off a gray card in bright light and shoot
>well-lit snow and watch the histogram ... all those blinkies are
>telling you that you just over-exposed the snow.


Then your technique is not right.

>If you want to keep some detail in it you can either take a reading off
>the snow and over-expose or, to get to the same equivalent exposure,
>take a reading off a gray card (or neutral tone in the scene) and
>underexpose.


Both require a guess on your part as to how much to adjust over
or under, and are therefore not accurate (the amount varies with
everything from the time of day to the atmospheric haze). I
would also note that if you actually do it right, you are not
over exposing in one instance and under exposing in the other:
there is a *correct* exposure, and both methods attempt to guess
at that same *correct* exposure, which is neither over or under.

What you are suggesting worked very well with film. It doesn't
work well with digital, simply because there is no toe at the
top of the density curve as there is with film, and instead over
exposed area clip.

If you want detail in the snow, use the histogram or a blinking
LCD display to set the *correct* exposure. It is easy to be
within 1/3rd of an fstop.

--
Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) (E-Mail Removed)
 
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