Shooting In Snow

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jeremy, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    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.
    Jeremy, Nov 19, 2006
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. "Jeremy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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.


    With snow, the camera auto-exposure algorithm will meter for neutral gray
    and thus under-expose. You can compensate by boosting the exposure.
    Charles Schuler, Nov 19, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. 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.


    Snow is tough, and experience helps a lot. It appears you know enough
    to get it right. I would suggest shooting RAW in this situation to allow
    for some additional adjustment post exposure. Do it enough and you will get
    the "feel" for where you need be and you may decide RAW is not necessary.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia 's Muire duit
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 20, 2006
    #3
  4. Jeremy

    Bill Hilton Guest

    >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.
    Bill Hilton, Nov 20, 2006
    #4
  5. Jeremy

    JohnR66 Guest

    "Jeremy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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.
    >

    Use mirror lock-up or you may cause an avalanche : )
    John
    JohnR66, Nov 20, 2006
    #5
  6. Jeremy

    m Ransley Guest

    A polariser filter will cut down snow glare-reflections and give a bluer
    sky , if your shutter isnt real fast it will also help 1 stop to reduce
    light.
    m Ransley, Nov 20, 2006
    #6
  7. Jeremy

    Rick Sciacca Guest

    Rick Sciacca, Nov 20, 2006
    #7
  8. Jeremy

    Mark² Guest

    m Ransley wrote:
    > A polariser filter will cut down snow glare-reflections and give a
    > bluer sky , if your shutter isnt real fast it will also help 1 stop
    > to reduce light.


    Actually, you need to INCREASE exposure(!) beyond what your meter will think
    is correct.
    You DON'T want to reduce light...rather, the exact opposite.

    --
    Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by Mark² at:
    www.pbase.com/markuson
    Mark², Nov 20, 2006
    #8
  9. "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.


    Ignore the light meter, and use either a histogram or (best) a
    "blinking overexposure" LCD display.

    It doesn't make a lot of difference what the average light from
    a scene with snow in it is, set exposure to get the highlights
    just below clipping level. A light meter reading combined with
    a guess for exposure compensation is unlikely to be close, but
    use of a blinking overexposure display easily puts it within
    less than 1/3 of an fstop.

    However, people's faces may well show up basically in the shade
    (with not enough reflected light from the snow illuminating
    them, which will be far worse if the snow is all in back of
    them), which is not the best lighting if it is the people you
    want to stand out! One option is to reposition the people,
    which of course might not be at all possible. Another is to
    simply overexpose the snow, and let it blow out and lose detail,
    which may be acceptable in a few situations. But the best
    solution by far is to use a flash for fill light.

    The problems with using flash are typical. They recharge
    slowly, so you won't likely be able to fire off rapid sequences,
    and the flash will leave a reflection in the eyes and maybe
    other reflective surfaces (sunglasses are the most common
    offenders, but windows and painted surfaces are bad too).

    Fill light with flash works best for scenes where the snow is
    some distance from the subject where the light from the flash
    will not also increase the brightness of the snow. If the snow
    is relatively close, changing focal lengths to adjust the ratio
    of the camera to subject distance compared to the camera to snow
    distance can be dramatic. But for an object that is right in
    the snow, that won't work either...

    Using flash in snow country usually means bumping into the
    problem of cold batteries too. Bring enough spare batteries.
    (And if it is cold, don't throw away "dead" batteries either.
    Just save them for use in a warmer place, where the rest of the
    charge will still be available.)

    I do a significant amount of shooting in cold weather, so it was
    well worth it to locate a couple of Quantum lead-acid battery
    units. Each can power two flashes and with optical triggers I
    can actually use up to four flash units in two different
    positions. They are not as convenient as simply using alkalines
    in most circumstances. But they are much cheaper in places
    where freight costs make alkalines very expensive. And for an
    all day outing in the snow, where you might be shooting hundreds
    of shots, not having to stop and change batteries and not having
    extended charge times as they go slowly dead is well worth it.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 20, 2006
    #9
  10. Jeremy

    Matt Ion Guest

    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 it's any help, a friend who used to shoot snowboarding said they used a
    "5/50/500" rule for shooting in bright sunlight: f/5, 50 ISO, 1/500s.

    Compared to the "sunny-16" rule, that would be overexposing by about a stop...
    Matt Ion, Nov 20, 2006
    #10
  11. Jeremy

    Matt Ion Guest

    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.
    Matt Ion, Nov 20, 2006
    #11
  12. >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

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Free custom Hanukah songsheets in Hebrew and English: http://liturgy.exc.com/
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Nov 20, 2006
    #12
  13. Jeremy

    Bill Hilton Guest


    > 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
    Bill Hilton, Nov 20, 2006
    #13
  14. "Bill Hilton" <> 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)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 20, 2006
    #14
  15. Jeremy

    Guest

    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
    , Nov 20, 2006
    #15
  16. Jeremy

    Bill Hilton Guest


    >> "Bill Hilton" <> 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
    Bill Hilton, Nov 21, 2006
    #16
  17. "Bill Hilton" <> wrote:
    >>> "Bill Hilton" <> 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)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 21, 2006
    #17
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Twixer
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    6,291
    Jimchip
    Jun 29, 2003
  2. lbbs
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    569
    slumpy
    Jul 7, 2003
  3. George Orwell

    Diary of a Snow Shoveler...

    George Orwell, Dec 10, 2003, in forum: Computer Support
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    448
    TRADESMAN
    Dec 10, 2003
  4. Po
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    648
    M Mullen
    Dec 22, 2003
  5. richard
    Replies:
    10
    Views:
    549
Loading...

Share This Page