Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting in snowy conditions on the first day, part of Travel Photography: Mountains and Snow Landscapes.
If you've watched my desert road trip course, you know that I spent a lot of time in Death Valley, and the Mohave in the Southwest. And, you know in Death Valley it can be 130 degrees, it's incredibly cry, there's no water. If you don't really do things. Exactly right you can really end up in a lot of trouble, and wow that sounds great right now. I'm out here we're in Tahoe and the top of this mountain, it's beautiful out here but some things have already gone wrong. I, I forgot all my long underwear, I've only got one pair of socks so my feet are just freezing.
And I brought these electric gloves that I use for motorcycling and they were really, really warm for about 20 minutes, and now the cold has killed the battery. So, I promise that's the last I'm going to whine about, about my ill preparedness for this kind of weather. I'm actually not doing too bad. I'm pretty warm, but it's time to now face the difficult facts of shooting. It's, there's kind of a storm blowing in. It's not snowing real hard but it's pretty constant, and it's killed visibility. So I'm about to head off into the snow.
I don't know how long I'm going to be able to last or what the conditions are going to be like. But as I just look out here right now, I immediately start thinking about some particular photographic problems that I'm going to be facing. Again, low contrast. So, right off the bat, I'm thinking about I, I don't want to fight that. I'm not going to get any big long views because visibility is low, and because contrast is so low. So I'm going to try to think in terms of finished images that are low contrast. And a low contrast image, particularly with this much gray around, is an image that's very atmospheric.
So I'm going to be trying to think in that mode as I'm walking around. The faint tree in the distance. Things like that. I'm also facing what I find to be the usual problem when shooting in a forest which is that it's a very visually busy situations. Just lots of trees, and rocks, and underbrush. And even with the snow covering up a lot of that, it's it's a very complicated composition situation. So, I'm looking for, really working hard to find simple compositions, things that are really pared down.
Single objects that I can isolate. Groups of simple objects that I can isolate. Now, I'm hobbled a little bit here in that I can't change my vantage point too much. I do not want to kneel down. I'm not going to be climbing up on stuff because it's slippery. I'm also working with the somewhat limited selection of gear. I've got two lenses with me. I got a fairly ultra wide zoom, and I've got a regular zoom. But I don't want to change lenses out here. On a digital camera I, I don't want to expose the sensor to this. It's interesting how much this actually does parallel shooting in the desert, where I would worry about changing lenses because of the blowing sand.
Here, I'm worrying about changing lenses because of blowing snow. So I've opted for my general walk around lens, which on this camera is the equivalent of like 24 to 70 mm. So that's going to give me a nice wide angle, not a lot of telephoto, but I don't need a lot of telephoto out here because I can't see very far. So I'm talking a lot right now because I'm trying to put off actually walking out into the snow. I don't think I can do it anymore. So I'm going to go off, and see what I can find.
In this course, photographer, author, and educator Ben Long takes a trip to Lake Tahoe to explore winter shooting at various times of the day. He also shows techniques for post-processing winter scenes to make them look their best.