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Tips for Winter Photography

Winter is a magical time at our Mammoth Mountain vacation rentals. The snowy backdrop is beautiful, but the winter weather can also make it tricky to take photos. Whether you want to take photos from our Mammoth condo rentals or while you’re out on the slopes, you can use these tips for winter photography to take the best photos during your stay.

mammoth lakes california

Photos with a Snowy Background

Taking photos with a snowy background can be challenging, but it’s worth spending the extra time to get your settings right. 

Because you’ll be shooting in wet weather, it’s important to not only protect yourself but also to protect your gear. Your gear list should include:

  • Waterproof boots
  • Fingerless mittens (so you can easily make camera adjustments)
  • Hand warmers
  • Spare batteries
  • Cloths to clean fog from your lenses
  • Lens hood
  • UV or clear filter
  • Polarizing filter

The UV or clear filter will protect the front element of your lens from moisture. The polarizing filter and lens hood will also help ensure your shots are properly exposed.

One of the biggest issues with snow is the white, reflective surface it creates. A lens hood can prevent lens flare, while the polarizing filter can remove the glare from the snow while darkening a bright sky and improving saturation.

If you’re shooting while it’s snowing, it’s important to have your lens cap on hand to protect the lens from snowflakes in between shots.

With this in mind, here are four tips for taking photos in snowy backgrounds.

Shoot in Raw Format

Finding the right exposure and color temperature can be tricky when you’re shooting a snowy backdrop. Shooting in raw format will allow you to easily adjust your settings in post-processing. If you set your recording format to JPEG, you will be more limited in the adjustments you can make.

woman in a white jacket laughing

Overexpose

The snow’s bright and reflective surface makes it more challenging to choose the right exposure. Consider overexposing to compensate for the metering system on your camera. 

If you feel comfortable adjusting your camera’s settings, you may want to do matrix metering while shooting in aperture priority mode. If you don’t feel comfortable going this route, you can use your exposure compensation dial to make some adjustments. Try adding one-third or two-thirds compensation to allow more light into the frame. This will prevent gray exposures and keep the snow looking white. 

Make Use of the Histogram

Your camera should have a histogram readout on its LCD display. Make use of it to get an accurate reading of your scene and help prevent over- or under-exposure.

Focus on Your Composition

To avoid taking washed-out photos, break up the white snowy landscape through contrast or a bright color. Tree trunks can serve as a contrast against the white landscape, or a bright blue sky can break things up. Even a red scarf or other bright-colored pieces of clothing can bring your picture to life and add interest.  

person taking photos with a tripod

How to Take Winter Action Pics

Winter in Sierra Megeve is the perfect opportunity to take action photos. From skiing to snowboarding and snowmobiling, there are plenty of opportunities to take photos of winter action. 

To capture a moment and avoid blurry images, choose a fast shutter speed. A speed of 1/1000th may be necessary to capture birds in motion, but for slow-moving subjects, you can usually get away with a shutter speed of 1/200th or 1/100th. Keep in mind that at faster shutter speeds, the sensor doesn’t have the opportunity to gather a lot of light so photos will be darker as a result. You may need to adjust your aperture and ISO to brighten the image. 

On the other hand, you may want to purposely create motion blur to make your subject look like it’s in motion. In this case, you would want to use slower shutter speed and a tripod to avoid unnecessarily blurring other areas of the photo. Whether you want to capture the action on the slopes or the beauty of the mountains, these tips will help you take the best winter photos no matter the weather!

Plan Your Visit

When visiting the ski lodges of Mammoth and our Mammoth lodging, don’t forget to pack your camera and all of the gear you need to take unforgettable winter photos!

Contact

826 Lakeview Blvd
Mammoth Lakes,
California USA 93546
Local:(760) 934-7525
Fax:(760) 934-6501

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