Winter Wonders

By Dave Ness


Winter’s weather can bring some dramatic elements to your photos. Clouds can add mood or be the main focus of a scene. A cloudy sky provides great lighting to photograph small objects with detail, such as flowers. Rainbows and lightning will brighten any photo, and wet objects, such as the Rainbow Eucalyptus bark shown here, emit much deeper colors. Snapshots of people in the rain are often thought-provoking, and snow, especially for those of us in Southern California, can really enhance a beautiful scene.

Capturing images in these lighting conditions often requires a minor bit of camera knowledge. You want to see the detail of the clouds, but you may have trouble balancing the light and dark areas of the scene. If you’re shooting with a cell phone, practice pointing the camera at light and dark areas of the scene and notice how the overall picture changes. Also look for an HDR or “Cloudy Day” shooting mode to help with proper exposure.

With most cameras, when you push the shutter button halfway down, your camera will decide how bright to make the image. If your camera is primarily pointed at something dark, then it will brighten the whole image, and vice versa. So, play around with pointing your camera at different parts of the scene pushing the shutter halfway down, and then move the camera for the composition you want before pushing the button the rest of the way down.

Many cameras today have a featured called “Exposure Compensation” that allows you to brighten or darken an image. Play around with that adjustment until you get a good balance of detail in the sky and subject. Take several pictures at different exposure levels to give yourself options for when you view them on the computer. Simple photo editing tools, such as iPhoto for Mac, Picasa for PC, and various apps for your phone or tablet, allow you to adjust the “shadows” separately from the “highlights”.

So don’t discount the effect that winter weather can add to your photographs. Grab your camera and go look for the drama! 

{Enjoy more of Dave’s Photographic Art at DaveNessPhotography.com or connect with Dave on Facebook/ViewByNess.
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