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03-26-2010, 07:12 AM   #1
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Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, Canadians etc... Winter shooting experiences?

This thread is especially for those of us living in rather northerly parts of the world:

I live in northern Sweden, and I gotta say my shooting decreases dramatically during the winter months -- problem is, there's about six of them, so I would like to get more done photo-wise during November-April! Often, the light is so extremely flat and boring here, skies are grey all the time... You probably know how it is. Hard to get pictures with any life in them at all.

Winter landscapes can be really beautiful in the early winter months, but in February-April? What do you guys shoot? Is the light any prettier in the very early mornings or something? (I doubt it -- to me it looks grey and flat all day and night this time of year, or if there's sunshine it's cold and harsh against the snow) Are there any things you like to shoot that actually work well in these boring white/grey conditions? Particular techniques for shooting/developing/processing? Anything?

Please inspire me to use my cameras

03-26-2010, 07:58 AM   #2
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I shoot indoors....concerts, restaurants, museums, churches, exhibitions, indoor sport events. It's quite strange, but I am experiencing more culture in winter than summer simply because in summer I can sit in the sun enjoying life without doing anything at all. In winter I have to make an effort to avoid becoming a tv-slave.

Btw. If you live by the coast: Winter storms = Great pics

Kind regards
.lars
03-26-2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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Whatever you do, don't force yourself to shoot. It's no good.

My friend who shoots a lot of snowboarding- and skirelated stuff once said that when the weather's grey and dull he goes out to enojy the slopes/tracks. And when there's a blue sky it's time to take the moneyshots.

I'm from southern Finland and usually it's not even snowy here during the winter, just darkness, greyness and slosh everywhere. This year it's been better with the snow, but not too many sunny days and light is always the main problem. So I've been pretty much just fooling around with Photoshop and do occasional bandshoots. And helping the aforementioned friend with his snowboard-strobist stuff. Which is actually quite nice as I'm learning new stuff at the same time. And getting steadily pulled away from Pentax...

So, my advice is to enjoy doing something else and shoot when the weather's inspiring enough or there's something else that draws your interest.

I've seen quite a few 365-projets where people force themselves to shoot everyday and then eventually end up having 167 stupid macroshots and 100 ridiculously boring shots of their bored wife/kids/friends/themselves.
03-26-2010, 08:42 AM   #4
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I'm glad you brought this up. I was driving up the Malahat (a mountain pass where I live) and noticed the grey clouds weaving their way in layers through the evergreen trees and sections of the mountain. I stopped and grabbed my camera for what I would have thought would have been an unbelievable shot. I was disappointed to see that even after bracketing, I was left with a number of boring washed out shots with all of the detail from the white layers missing. Others have taken shots like these so it's clearly something I did. Someone must have a "rule of thumb" guideline to go by when shooting snow/cloud/fog?

03-26-2010, 08:43 AM   #5
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7 months of winter -> hibernate
5 months of not quite winter -> live and shoot
03-26-2010, 09:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
7 months of winter -> hibernate
5 months of not quite winter -> live and shoot
Mostly the same

I learned from winter shooting is to check my WB, and to get a warm clothes. Cause jumping a few minutes in -20C with a camera, is enough to get really cold.
03-26-2010, 12:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eugene-S Quote
Mostly the same

I learned from winter shooting is to check my WB, and to get a warm clothes. Cause jumping a few minutes in -20C with a camera, is enough to get really cold.
I have a great pair of gloves I can send you that I haven't worn since 1992.

(Sorry--couldn't resist.)

03-26-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
Someone must have a "rule of thumb" guideline to go by when shooting snow/cloud/fog?
With snow and clouds, for beginners, it is wise to bracket the exposure by up to 3 stops to make sure you get at least one frame properly exposed. Then, as experience sinks in, you'll instinctively know by how much you need to "cheat" on the lightmeter reading to get a properly exposed frame almost all the time.
03-26-2010, 08:41 PM   #9
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@SMC - Were you using a polarizer? That's one of the classic ways of pulling more detail from clouds and snow.

I now own something like ten 49mm linear and circular polarizers (I bought a couple of large lots of mixed filters recently to get a few specific specialty filters) so there's always at least one in my bag.
03-26-2010, 11:15 PM   #10
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Boreal Canada here. Before my digital days, I was shooting 35mm and 120mm square in the cold and snow. If you have the bug, you never have a lack of something to shoot regardless of the weather. One thing I would recommend for digital winter tripod work is to invest in a DC to AC inverter for your car and use the AC plug-in for your DLSR if you have one. Just about the only way to achieve really long exposures at -20C or colder without draining your camera batteries.
03-27-2010, 07:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
@SMC - Were you using a polarizer? That's one of the classic ways of pulling more detail from clouds and snow.

I now own something like ten 49mm linear and circular polarizers (I bought a couple of large lots of mixed filters recently to get a few specific specialty filters) so there's always at least one in my bag.
Thanks!.....great idea. I have a couple, but didn't have them with me. I really should carry one around with me all the time.
03-27-2010, 09:22 PM   #12
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I had similar experiences living in northern Minnesota. One thing I worked on was getting images of the Aurora Borealis. I have some slides that were quite nice and those of you living further north would have better chances of seeing the lights than I did.
03-28-2010, 12:53 PM   #13
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Well, my experience of the Michigan Upper Peninsula says the interesting light (usually at low angles early or late in daylight) can be quite fleeting much of the year. You kind of have to anticipate, try to be in a good spot at the right time, ready to shoot, (and in my case, be there while relatively-fresh.) Wherever you are, commit.

You can't dither, or it'll be past you by the time you put your filters on or whatever. (Can't say I quite worked out the rhythm of it, myself, but that's what I learned. )

Also, learn what to do with the flatter light. Cause you'll spend a lot of time in it.
03-28-2010, 01:47 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I have a great pair of gloves I can send you that I haven't worn since 1992.

(Sorry--couldn't resist.)
(*****) - something bad is written there. Really.
03-28-2010, 02:48 PM   #15
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The issue here on the “Wet coast” isn’t the cold, its rain and overcast skies. This means poor light for most of the winter months. I do some indoor macro work during this period and wait for the odd sunny day and take advantage of it.

Phil.
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