'Pushing the limits' by Christer Lindh
Winter is on the way for many of us in the northern hemisphere. Latitude and elevation are primary factors influencing how intense winter will be in terms of snow fall amounts and sustained subzero temperatures. Of course, global weather patterns and the impacts of climate change are also factors that influence whether winter will be warmer or colder in your ‘neck of the woods” on any given year.
While many might prefer to use this time to stay cosy inside using the time to explore the new features of their favourite post processing software or planning holidays to warmer climates, there are more than a few die-hard photographers on 1x who relish this time of year for its unique photographic opportunities. With opportunities come challenges and being prepared through proper planning makes all the difference in whether your winter excursion will be a successful one.
This article is not going to cover every aspect to consider, a google search will help you fill in finer details but from experience there are some key things that warrant emphasizing if you are new to winter photography and are suddenly feeling fearless!
Camera gear selection is important but not fatal.
Having a weather-proof camera and lens is ideal although even the best equipment can get damaged under extreme conditions. Finding a way to keep your camera and lens protected can be as simple as repurposing a clear plastic shopping bag and a bit of duct tape. There are more expensive options available, I purchased a rain cover sleeve that may be a little bulky and awkward at times, it gives me some piece of mind that my investment is generally protected from precipitation.
Condensation can also be a huge problem so it’s wise not to expose your gear to sudden changes in temperature as moisture can easily find its way inside and do damage.
Place your gear inside a plastic bag while it’s still cold and then allow it to warm up slowing once you’re back at your car or house. I also save up those little silica gel packs that often come in many boxed items you purchase and keep them in my camera bag year-round. They’ll help absorb some of the moisture that might accumulate on your camera or lens.
Extra batteries are always a good idea since the extreme cold will likely affect their performance.
Store them in an inside pocket of your jacket. Avoid changing out lenses. Consider taking two cameras with different focal length lenses or consider a zoom lens to cover off a range of shooting options. Lens hoods are essential as is a supply of microfibre cleaning cloths.
There’s a saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” Good clothing, head to toe, is essential. Full stop.
I always have a few packs of disposable hand warmers in my camera bag. You’ll appreciate the shot of heat especially if you’re going to be standing around in one location for a long time. A skier’s tip is to throw in a pair of good quality yellow tinted eyeglasses too which serve two purposes. One, they’ll help you see better on flat light days or relieve glare off the snow on sunnier ones and two, because they are contrasty, they’ll help you visualize what to shoot without even putting a camera to your eye since they filter out certain light spectrums and add a “pop” to ambient light, creating contrast! Visualizing contrasty scenes is essential when surrounded by a white on grey landscape.
Wilderness excursions will dictate the measures you’ll need to take to keep yourself safe, warm and dry. Do your homework before you head out especially if you’re heading into unfamiliar territory. Check the weather forecast, winter storms can move in quickly and once the snow starts, visibility will be diminished, directional cues and tracks in the snow can literally disappear in minutes. I’ve gotten turned around in a heavy snowfall where I could’ve walked blindfolded in summer. Know whether you’ll have cell coverage in the area you plan to shoot. Leave a “flight” plan with a trusted friend and unless your instructions are to the contrary, park your car on the side of the road that you intend to hike. Rescuers will instinctively start their search in that direction. Something this simple could save your life.
Urban photo excursions are far less complicated or risky in winter. It could be as simple as a walk to the subway station or street car on a snowy day or finding a street light or a lamp post at night to light a black and white composition or silhouetted figure. Directional light and falling or blowing snow add drama and mood to an otherwise uninteresting winter urban scene.
From a shooting perspective, keep a closer eye on your histogram than you might otherwise do.
Getting a proper exposure in camera is even more important for post processing and your histogram is key to ensuring you’re not blowing out your highlights or underexposing your images.
So, if you’re up to the challenge, you can capture some of the best winter images in the worst kind of weather!
Some of the finest ones by our 1x members are in the collection below.
[… frozen in time] by Raymond Hoffmann
'Winter' by Jure Kravanja
'Snowbound' by Rolf Endermann
'Nevica 3' by Izabella Végh
'the loneliness of a cross-country skier' by Marei
'Snowfall' by Marchevca Bogdan
'Come one boys...' by Peter Svoboda MQEP
[… Diamond beach] by Raymond Hoffmann
'Deserted street' by Robert Kuavi
'Break time' by Fabiola Amidei
'Winter day' by Cristian Lee
'Winter storm' by Jon Kinney
'magical forest' by Dragisa Petrovic
'Winter storm' by Helle Lorenzen
'on my own alone' by Agniribe
'Snowstorm' by Bragi Ingibergsson - Brin
'On the hike with Charles Navillod' by Tristan Shu
'Pastoral' by Julien Oncete
'Frozen lake' by Cristian Andreescu
'Until You Wake Up' by Martin Stranka
'Snow chasing' by Shenshen Dou
'Winter colours' by Stephanie Kleimann
'In snow' by Hua Zhu
'Icy' by Larry Deng
'frame' by HAN dong hee
'Winter Storm Jonas' by Yi Liang
'Great Grey Owl Winter Portrait' by Mircea Costina
'House in White' by Frank Peters
'winter fairytale' by Taurus 13
'Winter storm' by Tapio Hyvönen
'Just a few miles ahead...' by Peter Svoboda MQEP
Fabiola Amidei PRO
Dear Kimberly and Yvette, I apologize if I only thank you now... for choosing a photo of mine. It's a great onor for me !!! And congratulations to all autors of the beautiful selected photos !!! All the best to you :-)
Takiko Hirai PRO
It was a great collection. Every photo is amazing and moving, thank you for showing me.
Bruce H Wendler PRO
Masterpieces, wonder how you keep your lens coatings from cracking. Freezing moisture can do that.
Jane Lyons PRO
What a fabulous collection. Thanks for pulling this together. It's sublime!
Rolf Lampert PRO
Thanks to all photographers showing their results here... Great Cinema... So awesome work...
Rolf Endermann PRO
Many thanks to both of you for taking the trouble to pick out some really impressive winter shots from 1x and present them here, of course it's nice to be a part of it.
Cicek Kiral CREW
I read every line carefully... Thanks for the explanation. I enjoyed it a lot and feel much more learned.
Miro Susta CREW
Fabulous winter photographs selection. Great thanks to Kimberly and Yvette for this excellent article.
Jørgen Wicklow PRO
Wonderful winter pictures, so put on the mittens and go out into nature, this magazine is full of inspiration
Great information and beautiful Winter landscapes and images collection.
Wonderful collection! Wow!
Dear Yvette and Kimberly, thank you very much for this article and these wonderful images that bring us in the best season of the year! And thank you for having chosen one of my winter photos.
Thierry Dufour PRO
Stunning images, magnificent collection, congrats !!!
Fantastic inspiring collection of wonderful wintergraphs
Shaibal Nandi PRO
Wonderful work. Congratulations 🎉
Wanghan Li PRO
Appreciate the work done Kimberly and Yvette!
Wanghan Li PRO
Thanks a lot for the well written article and the wonderful collection of the excellent winter images. Caution with inspiration! Thank you!
Izak Katz PRO
Splendid collection of winter views !! .
Yanyan Gong PRO
Thank you for this educational magazine and beautiful collection of amazing winter photos!
Larry Deng PRO
Great selections and very inspiring images. thanks Kimberly and Yvette.++
Superb pictures, thank you for sharing.
HAN dong hee PRO
Thanks a lot for this works. Great mood and winter images.
Chris Hamilton PRO
Great images and winter incentives, nice article.
Great article and very inspiring images.. thanks
Ringrazio tanto, che anche una mia fotografia e parte di questo meraviglioso articolo.
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Great to sum up the challenges and a proper planning which will make the difference in whether our winter excursions will be succesful, Kim. Beautiful choice of images. Congratulations to all the authors. Keep warm ... Yvette