Winter Photography

Winter photography provides a great opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. Ok, so the vibrant autumn colours have all but gone now and the cold dark nights are really beginning to close in. Don't be afraid of the dark though, it's time to purchase a few inexpensive props, wrap up warm and head outside. 

A Frosted Beech

A Frdsted Post

A frosted beech
A frosted post
You will need to get up early in the morning if you want to capture the sometimes stunning winter frosts before they spoil.
Of course winter photography can often mean snow photography whether at home in the UK or on holiday abroad. Many photographers get caught out when taking pictures in the snow and end up with photos that are rather dull and under exposed. This is usually because the photographer has tried to let the camera do the working out and shot their photos in automatic mode. This can often be corrected by changing your white balence setting as below.

Exposure compensation

If your camera has a scene setting on its mode dial use this to scroll through the scene settings and select the snow scene setting. If yur camera does not hace a snow scene setting then you need to manualy change the white balance on your camera this will also have a positive effect on your snow scene photo. Change the white balance from automatic to the "flash" setting. The camera will then compensate for the slightly blue light that you tend to get with snow scenes.

After dark winter photography

With bonfire night, an abundance of outdoor christmas lights and of course not to forget the  elusive father christmas himself, there is a lot to inspire your imagination and get your clicking finger working overtime after dark in the winter.
You can also have some great creative fun after dark, as we did,  with just a few cheap LED lights and a couple of laser pens. However, a good tripod  always helps when taking pictures in the dark or in low light situations. It will hold the camera steady during the longer exposure times required so it is advisable to purchase one if your budget will allow.

Good Preperation

Preporation is key with nightime photography. The first thing you need to do is set your camera up properly for night time shooting. For example, many cameras now have a fireworks mode if you are going to a bonfire party try this setting.
 
For a bit of true night time creativity though you need to change the shutter speed and iso settings on your camera. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to take night time shots in automatic mode. 
 
Tru to replicate our bit of night time fun by Placing your camera into shutter priority mode "S" on your mode dial. Then slow your shutter right down to 20 seconds then change your ISO setting to around 320. The ISO setting will allow your camera to see in the dark and the long exposure will capture motion. Set your cameras timer function to five or ten seconds to allow you time to get yourself positioned in front of your camera.
 
Set your camera up on a tripod in a dark place or improvise with a sturdy post or fence if you don't have a tripod. If you are going to draw with a laser pen set your camera facing a wall or something else that the laser will show up against and draw with the laser at a constant pace.

Experimental after dark LED lights

The picture to the left was taken using the settings as shown above and was created by swinging a glow stick around on a piece of string. If the ISO settings were set a little lower to say 250 maybe or even 200 the trees and sky would probably no longer be visible. The trick is to take a couple of photos and slightly change the settings then take a couple more photos and change the settings again until you get the desired effect. You can get a great dome effect if you attach an LED light to a bicycle wheel with a makeshift axle attached to its center and roll it around in a circle. Be creative and have fun trying out your own winter photography ideas.
LED after dark fun