This winter take your gear (and don’t forget your gloves with free fingers) and go hunt for winter sports! Make a reservation near a mountain sky-way and make sure you have everything you need to stay warm. The fact is you can not concentrate at shooting if you freeze. Also, remember that at very low temperatures, the battery gets consumed faster and the camera may present some malfunctions.
You will need a 18-55mm lens for landscapes and a telephoto lens for zooming the people in action.
For winter sports, midday shooting is ok (the main reason is the fact that in winter the sun is not very high and will always cast enough shadows to skip the thoughts of having plane images).
1. TIP: Early morning shots and sunsets over the shiny snow are very spectacular but don’t stay outside too long at those temperatures.
Do you have any friends who practice winter sports? Invite them to go with you and promises them to print some cool photos showing the best action moments of this vacation.
2. TIP: Use your friends as models for your action shots and make sure they have a great time. This way, it will be fun and spontaneous.
If you know something about the sports you are going to capture in your pictures, then you can anticipate the moves and shoot at the exact right moment.
3. TIP: Know what to shoot by learning about winter sports.
Another fact about shooting winter sports is how to correctly expose and white balance the pictures. Most of the images will have a large amount of show (white surface) in the composition.
4. TIP: Little overexpose the image and use custom white balance. This way you can make sure that the white is not too bluish or too yellowish, and either grey.
If it is a sunny day, the shadows will have a blue tone but that is cool. Also, at this weather, blow the snow and it will look great under natural light (sometimes like some kind of fog, but even greater).
5. TIP: Capture your subjects as they raise the snow in the air. For all action shots use short exposure time (the minimum you have – like 1/2000).
However, like all rules that can be broken, shooting short is not a requirement. For example, while at sky in low light conditions (very cloudy or evening/morning), the model will leave behind him a sinuous trace if you use longer exposure.
6. TIP: For best results, keep the ISO low and use a tripod.
During summer and autumn you got used to take beautiful images of water reflections. Now its time to use the same principles for ice reflections.
7. TIP: Get down close the ice surface and capture a skater with his/hers reflection.
At the end of such exhausting action day, you and your friends can gather around a fireplace.
8. TIP: Capture this moment too without using a flash – the fire light will cast silhouettes and creates a story-telling environment.
9. TIP: Hot chocolate in the hands can make the subject of some photos with narrow DOF.
You can even step outside for a minute and take advantage of winter nights.
10. TIP: Capture the lights of the houses over the blue snow and also capture the amazing clear sky full of stars. There is no better night sky than in the winter nights over the mountains.
Note: Some of the above pictures were taken by me last winter in Baisoara Mountains, Romania.
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