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The Beauty of Winter Time

by  Miro Susta

In this article you will find some inspirations which shall help to capture amazing winter photographs.According to my opinion, for outdoor photographers winter is one of the best times of year to capture.

Frost will sparkle and glisten in the morning sunlight and the sun’s lower position offers excellent soft light quality throughout the day. Moreover, the atmospheric mists and a flurry of snow transforms the landscape into a magic winter wonderland.


However, winter photography can be a great challenge for the photographer. Waiting around in the cold weather, stamping the feet in the snow as the sun slowly raising or going down.



But the rewards are certainly worth it. Over the next sections I will try to show the reader how to make the most of this cold & white time of year, with inspirational images and some useful tips.

Make Optimal Use of Winter Light
To capture best light, you need to be up before sunrise or to wait until sunset.

Winter Sunrise Mood - titled “The first snow” by GENADI DOCHEV

But the winter time with the shorter days allow you to capture your early morning and early evening photos at a much more civilized hours.

Winter Afternoon - titled “Small Chapel” by Miro Susta

And there is another good news, the sun is lower during the winter months, so you can carry on photographing through entire day and still get wonderful, well lit, photos.

Winter Morning - “Untitled” by stanislav hricko

Wonderful Fresh Snow
Generally you must go out early morning after night snowfall to capture fresh, clean, footprint-free snow area. It can be just snow covered meadow and forest trees.

Walking in fresh Snow - titled “Geometry” by Attila Szabo

But virgin, new snow on the house roof may by also very beautiful. The best time is early morning after night snowfall.

Heavy Snow Load titled “Full Snow Load” by Miro Susta

Try to capture the fabulous color contrast created by white snow and clean blue sky.

Shy Winter Sun - titled “Shy sunrise” by Ciprian Miresan

Go out early to capture white snow-caked forest trees before the wind gets up.

White Forest - titled “INTO THE WOODS” by Jorge Gutierez

Frosty Mornings
Frost is heaviest early in the morning and the pre-dawn light can provide soft lighting conditions which may give the icy landscape a slightly pastel tone.

Early Morning after frosty Night - “Untitled” by Veselin Atanasov

However, usually very cold and humid night can turn a landscape into a white winter wonderland. The white ice particles on trees, grass and bushes give a surreal air to the shot. Just imagine the trees coated with white ice against blue sky, what a beautiful contrast.

White Magic after frosty Night - titled “Wonder of Nature” by Miro Susta

Get Creative
It is not necessary to just capture snow-covered landscapes or trees. Do not restrict yourself only to overall snowscape views.

Ice Pendant - titled “Pendant” by Sami Ritoniemi

Take time to look closely at details, where you may find excellent patterns like trapped bubbles in the frozen water surfaces, frost on leaves or even spiders’ webs.

“Frozen Leaf” by bertrand kulik

Snow can be also very useful for framing objects, it offers you a great contrast in combination of white with other colors, or imagine a tree shadow over white virgin snow covered field, there are many options for nice winter photo.

In the Woods - titled “Transformation” by Saskia Dingemans

Winter Mist
Aside from snow and ice, winter can also bring with it atmospheric mist particularly in valleys and around the water.

Misty Forest after cold Night - titled “morning fog” by Donald Luo

A combination of warm light, cool mist and dramatic subject will give you great, truly memorable photographic moments.

Morning Mist titled “Foggy carpet” by Peter Zajfrid

Mist simplifies the landscape and transforms otherwise mundane scenes into photogenic ones.

Do not miss the Opportunities
There are many, many excellent subjects for winter photography, just walk with open eyes and keep your camera ready. You may be rewarded with magic, sometimes unexpected winter photos.


“A Frosty Road” by Daniel F.

Useful Tips

* To capture superb winter photos in the best light, you will need to make use of (sometimes very cold) magic hours of dawn and dusk and must have appropriate equipment.

* Your camera TTL metering can be deceived by white snow, fooling it into believing the scene is brighter than it really is, causing underexposed results. Check histograms regularly and if the photo is dark apply + exposure compensation.

* Do not forget polarizing filter. It is the most useful filter type in freezing weather to reduce natural glare and reflections from white snow (and also ice).

* You must be very fast when are you taking magic photos after frosty humid night, a touch of sunlight, few degrees rise in temperature and the magic’s gone.

* Days with milky-grey skies often create the perfect light source for shooting details that would disappear in stronger lighting conditions. Make use of your micro lens and tripod for frost touched small leaves and plants photos.

* The best time for “winter mist” type of photographs is early morning, the best light will occur just after sunrise. Once the sun is high in the sky, the air moisture can quickly evaporate and the mist thins (loosing much of its original early morning white color).

* For “winter mist” photos take high view point and look for strong, recognisable subjects (trees, buildings, hills). Longer focal lens (100-400mm) suit misty conditions very well-it is foreshortening perspective and allowing to isolate the key points of interest.

* Make sure that your battery is fully charged, and ideally take a spare. If your battery running out of charge (without having a spare one) remove it and warm it in your hands, you may get few extra shots out of it.

* For condensation, keep the lens cap on when you move into cold and remove it later. Returning to the warmth, try to warm-up the camera slowly (for example keep it for around 0.5-1.0 hour in colder part of the building).

* Do not forget to take a warm clothing and some kind of warming liquid; the best is hot tea but beware of any kind of alcoholic drinks.

* Avoid touching any metal surfaces at temperatures below around minus 5 C.

Winter Mountains Beauty titled “Sv Tomaž” by milan malovrh

I wish you a very good light and many beautiful winter photos.

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Fine gallery of beautiful winter shots, Miro! Thanks for sharing this great article. Cheers, Yvette