Tricks for Winter Snow Exposure.

ml blg Dec4

Tricks for Winter Snow Exposure.

That wonderful white snow really messes with your exposure settings. Especially if you’re photographing a moving subject. As the amount of white that the sensor sees changes, so radically does your exposure.

You might be finding that a lot of your snow images are greyish and dark. So here are some ways to beat that.

First. understand how your meter works, in camera or hand held. It is really trying to convert everything into 18% grey. In the ideal situation a mix of highlights, shadows, midtones will give you a great exposure. But snow, has always been a challenge.

If you use a hand held meter setup for incident lighting you should have no problem. The meter is measuring the light falling on the subjects, not reflected light.

Generally, snow is 1.5 to 2 stops brighter than the 18% goal of medium grey. So you have to manually open up your exposure to compensate. You can do that by setting your exposure compensation dial to be 1.5 or 2 stops over-exposed. With this method you have to be aware of the changing background. As soon as something dark enters into the scene you will have exposure issues again.

Here is the trick I have learned if you don’t have a hand meter or are working quickly on the fly. If you have a large grey card, hold it out and take a manual meter reading, then set your camera. If you don’t have that use your bare hand. Most hands, fingers closed, are about 18% grey. Adjust the angle of your hand until the light that is falling on it is the same amount you see on your subject. That is now your exposure setting.

Always take a quick look at your image’s histogram, you want the exposure to be between the two extremes. Go beyond either side and detail will be clipped.

Happy sunny snow shooting!

Ml blog dec42

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