Field craft: simple tips to boost your winter photography
Put in the hours
Professional photographer Lee Beel set up his camera at a local nature park before dawn on a crisp November morning. Framing the shot to contrast the frost on the foreground plants with the large area of water, the horizon was placed according to the rule of thirds rather than across the centre of the frame.
Which of these images works best is down to personal preference. While the shot with the warmer foreground has the ‘feel good’ factor and creates a more inviting image, the colder image conveys the chill of a frosty morning more effectively.
Experiment with white balance
Although for the most part when you shoot outdoors you’ll leave the white balance set to auto or daylight, great things can happen if you’re prepared to experiment with the presets…
By changing the white balance of the image to tungsten, the coldness of this frozen winter photography scene above has been emphasised.
Shield the lens
Winter is a time of low, raking sunlight. When rectangular filters (eg, Lee, Cokin, Singh-Ray) are fitted, there may not be enough space to include a lens hood in order to prevent lens flare.
Use your hand instead or, ideally, compose your picture then use your body to shade the lens once the camera is on a tripod. Expect hazy, low contrast pictures if you do neither.
Keep an eye open for situations, especially when shooting in valleys, where the background receives early or late illumination while the subject remains in shadow. Not only does this create a great juxtaposition of warm and cool tones but it also increases the sense of depth in an image.
PAGE 1: Making the most of winter light
PAGE 2: Simple tips to boost your winter photography
PAGE 3: How to photograph frost
PAGE 4: How to photograph snow
PAGE 5: Get creative with your winter photography