Now that the winter weather has arrived, in advance of winter I might add, landscape photographers face several challenges to successfully create eye-pleasing imagery. We still want to tell a compelling story with our work but there are some unique conditions that must be conquered. I am sure you've seen and perhaps taken a few of those dingy gray snow scenes and wondered what happened. After all, it looked okay on the camera's display in the field. Tip: Read the histogram instead.
Those automatic exposure settings can go haywire attempting to compensate for what it determines to be severe overexposure. Take a peek at your through-the-lens (TTL) exposure meter to see what the camera THINKS the settings should be and adjust if needed.
Manually correcting the EV setting by +0.5 to +1.0 usually provides the desired result. Take several shots of the scene with different settings and note which setting worked when you get the photos up on your computer. Make a note of the conditions at the time of the shoot (overcast, sunny, partly cloudy). Over time, you will know whether a correction is needed and by how much.
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Since winter colors are muted and not as prevalent as other times of the year, I depend heavily on the skies to help round out the scene. Since the days are short, you won't have to wait very long for a colorful sky this time of year. Even an overcast sky can produce elements of color as the sun rises or sets and midday shots may often reveal shafts of light beaming down through the cloud deck.
On days when the sky is completely gray, look for strong contrasting elements to include in the frame (trees, buildings, etc.) and consider a black and white conversion.
Until next time...