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03-02-2011, 10:37 PM   #1
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Tips for shooting in snow?

Hey everyone, I'll be going skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado for a ski trip soon for spring break. I will be taking my Pentax K-X camera and gear for pictures/video. I would like some tips from you guys on shooting in snow (snowy mountain peaks) . I know the general conditions for maintaining digital cameras in cold weather. More specifically I want tips on shooting in snow for the best shots/footage. Your help will be much appreciated. Thanks!

-David

03-02-2011, 11:45 PM   #2
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I'm a new K-x owner too... using the K-x (or any camera) in the snow has proven to be very tricky for me. Because of all the white, bright snow it's hard to get a good exposure. But it's been a good learning experience. I'm a beginner so take this for what it's worth ... some guy on the Internet you've never met giving advice.

What I've tried is first setting it to "bright" scene mode (sun/snow) and watching what the camera picks when I compose. This is sort of cheating, but it helps.

What you will find is that because of all the bright snow the camera will underexpose if you let it. It will see a bunch of white and try to tone it down to gray. So adding to the EV helps. How much to add depends on the scene. I would also bracket to find out which looks best.

After that it all depends on what you're shooting. The best thing is to experiment, it's the only way to learn.
03-02-2011, 11:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by nutballa Quote
Hey everyone, I'll be going skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado for a ski trip soon for spring break. I will be taking my Pentax K-X camera and gear for pictures/video. I would like some tips from you guys on shooting in snow (snowy mountain peaks) . I know the general conditions for maintaining digital cameras in cold weather. More specifically I want tips on shooting in snow for the best shots/footage. Your help will be much appreciated. Thanks!

-David
Try asking mattb123 ---> profile page

He goes out skiing with his K-x and DA 15ltd, and posts amazing shots in the 'da 15ltd controls my mind' thread.


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03-03-2011, 12:11 AM   #4
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I found the amount of EV to add varies a lot with the lighting, and the best way to get it right was to use the histogram on the back of the camera. Take a guess at how much to add, take a shot, press playback and then press info until the histogram appears. That's with a K7 - check the manual to see how to do it with the K-x. You are expecting it to be over to the right and I found an article illustrating it:

CameraHobby - Digital Metering and Histograms

The K7 can also make over / underexposed areas blink, it's an option in the playback menu.

Remember the light will change during the day, so check the histogram from time to time or if it's obvious it changes. It will change for up to a couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset.

You are better with slightly underexposed images than overexposed ones (like with slide film) - lost detail can never be brought back - but if you wildly underexpose you are getting a pile of digital noise in the dark areas.

I also remember using a polarising filter as an ND filter years ago in Scotland, and that was using Kodachrome 64 slide film! In other words it can be very bright. Have just had a quick look and can't lay my hands on the scan right now, it would help if I could remember which year it was!

I got deep inky-blue skies as well, so you might like to think about both kinds of filter - remember that if you are having to stop right down the lens is probably losing sharpness.

03-03-2011, 12:22 AM   #5
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choose the right angle,for the snow shooting ,it is easy to be so bright
03-03-2011, 02:19 AM   #6
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The camera will try to dull down the whites to average out the exposure, so boost EV compensation to +1.0 or +1.5

A few articles may help: How to Photograph Snow 2005 KenRockwell.com, Photographing snow with a digital camera, 4 Tips How To Photograph Snow at DzineBlog.com - Design Blog & Inspiration
03-03-2011, 03:58 AM   #7
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Snow? Filthy stuff -- stay away from it. [/me looks out windows at huge drifts, sighs]

If you must ski, beware of the trees. They will try to kill you, as they killed Sonny Bono.

Better to stay inside ski lodge, shoot pictures of wounded survivors from warm comfort.

If you must shoot outside, meter manually on subjects; ignore the snow, ice, bears, etc.

[/me awaits drop-off of grandkids here while the kids go uphill to snowboard at Kirkwood]
03-03-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
The camera will try to dull down the whites to average out the exposure, so boost EV compensation to +1.0 or +1.5

A few articles may help: How to Photograph Snow 2005 KenRockwell.com, Photographing snow with a digital camera, 4 Tips How To Photograph Snow at DzineBlog.com - Design Blog & Inspiration
Great, thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
I found the amount of EV to add varies a lot with the lighting, and the best way to get it right was to use the histogram on the back of the camera. Take a guess at how much to add, take a shot, press playback and then press info until the histogram appears. That's with a K7 - check the manual to see how to do it with the K-x. You are expecting it to be over to the right and I found an article illustrating it:

CameraHobby - Digital Metering and Histograms

The K7 can also make over / underexposed areas blink, it's an option in the playback menu.

Remember the light will change during the day, so check the histogram from time to time or if it's obvious it changes. It will change for up to a couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset.

You are better with slightly underexposed images than overexposed ones (like with slide film) - lost detail can never be brought back - but if you wildly underexpose you are getting a pile of digital noise in the dark areas.

I also remember using a polarising filter as an ND filter years ago in Scotland, and that was using Kodachrome 64 slide film! In other words it can be very bright. Have just had a quick look and can't lay my hands on the scan right now, it would help if I could remember which year it was!

I got deep inky-blue skies as well, so you might like to think about both kinds of filter - remember that if you are having to stop right down the lens is probably losing sharpness.
Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Try asking mattb123 ---> profile page

He goes out skiing with his K-x and DA 15ltd, and posts amazing shots in the 'da 15ltd controls my mind' thread.



.
I'll PM him. thanks.

03-03-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Snow? Filthy stuff -- stay away from it. [/me looks out windows at huge drifts, sighs]

If you must ski, beware of the trees. They will try to kill you, as they killed Sonny Bono.

Better to stay inside ski lodge, shoot pictures of wounded survivors from warm comfort.

If you must shoot outside, meter manually on subjects; ignore the snow, ice, bears, etc.

[/me awaits drop-off of grandkids here while the kids go uphill to snowboard at Kirkwood]
"wounded survivors" "Bears" haha! I'm a good skier, plus I've skied once while holding a video camera, but not a DSLR. I'll make sure to get shots from the ski lodge and more.
03-03-2011, 01:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Snow? Filthy stuff -- stay away from it. [/me looks out windows at huge drifts, sighs]

If you must ski, beware of the trees. They will try to kill you, as they killed Sonny Bono.

Better to stay inside ski lodge, shoot pictures of wounded survivors from warm comfort...
Exactly. I don't have an issue with snow, but heights. I was perfectly happy to stand in one of the Beaver Creek parking lots and take this with the Pentax-M 135/3.5. My note says the chair lift goes to 12,840 feet, probably nice and windy up there too. Hopefully you'll have more snow; this was in early June (mud season).

03-03-2011, 02:11 PM   #11
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Incidentally, there's probably a 'snow' scene mode on your K-X, and from my experience with an old bridge camera in a snowy place, I was pretty happy to find the 'snow' mode would generally do competent things. (Very similar to any rule of thumb I might teach you, really) Which was pretty handy, really: with my K20d I can just adjust exposure directly like always (by experience) but with my little Lumix this was both more of a pain and tended to need to happen just when it'd be hardest for me to see the displays. (I'm somewhat bright-light sensitive. )

I expect it's not too difficult for them to program in well, so don't be ashamed to try the computer on that. Try learning the differences for yourself, though: try shots at different apertures/compensation numbers and all. You might be surprised at how much variation is really possible, when you see this on a screen. Our brains tend to register snow as more or less 'just white.'

(Oh, and if you have a polarizer, keep that in your pocket, if not on a lens: you'll likely find it very useful. )

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 03-03-2011 at 02:18 PM.
03-03-2011, 02:16 PM   #12
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Keep hands and batteries in warm places.
03-03-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Keep hands and batteries in warm places.
Good catch, Kerrowdown. Yes. Spare batteries in a warm pocket.
03-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #14
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Found my old polarising-filter-as-an-ND-filter photo. It looks a bit blue here, it was OK in Photoshop!


03-03-2011, 04:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
Found my old polarising-filter-as-an-ND-filter photo. It looks a bit blue here, it was OK in Photoshop!


Nice!
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