Hahahaha! Do you totally love all the crazy names that news channels come up with to describe semi-regular occurrences?
This year, it’s the Arctic Blast 2008. But anyone who has lived in Portland for a while knows that we generally get hit pretty hard every two years or so. The last time I actually remember it snowing was back in 2006 when I was working out in Silverton.
So I guess it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when I woke up this morning to mounds of snow, and swirls of flakes flying in the air. Uggh! I think I’m one of the only people who could do without it.
But now that I’ve made peace with the fact that tomorrow morning will be icy and there is no way I’ll safely make the 20-mile commute to work, I suppose I’ll try to make the best of it and look at it as something…you know…beautiful.
Since this year I’ve been more into photography than in the past (you know, I’ve actually made a halfway decent attempt at learning how to work a digital SLR manually), I thought I might try my hand at some snowy photos.
Tips for Snow Shots
If you’re shooting during the day, remember that all that white can mean overexposure. Practice makes perfect, and don’t get frustrated if you have to adjust your shutter speed several times before getting it right. If it’s light outside, I’d generally recommend working with a lower ISO, which prevents graininess.
- Wear outdoor attire. This is totally ridiculous, but the only outdoors shoes I had were a pair of broken Crocs. And not the Sherpa lined ones, either. Needless to say, I was cold and wet at the end of my shoot. When I went outside later, I made sure I was wearing semi-decent shoes, a scarf, a hat, and glittens…the wind was pretty darn brutal!
Use a tripod. Sweet gods of photography, I wish I had my own. Crazy, right? Luckily, my dad had a pretty ancient one that he let me borrow. And let me tell you, it was not easy to work with. It was completely metal, and I literally had to screw the camera on to the tripod. And because it was all metal, it was difficult to adjust because it practically froze. That said, make sure you know how to use your tripod because, as my friend A. says, a tripod makes the difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Well, that, and the fact that it decreases blur if you’ve got a long exposure. Which brings me to…
- …Experiment with long exposure! How awesome is it to go shooting at night and make the sky literally illuminate with a single streetlamp? Now think about how way cool it’d be to make that same light create an ethereal sparkling quality with the snow. For my images, I used an exposure between 15 and 20 seconds. And that’s where tip No. 3 came in handy: There’s no way the images would have been so sharp without the steadiness of a tripod.
- Have fun! Do I even need to explain?