From Flowers to Snow in Two Short Days

Since Music Maven got some fabulous tips on photographing her mums, I thought I’d use this time to get some  “edumacation” too!  (I’m such a follower!) 

With winter fast approaching, I need some tips.  How do you photograph snow at night?  You know, the snowy dim?  When it snows at night, there’s often a bright sheen to the surroundings…it’s not truly dark.  It seems I should be able to take photos without flash, but haven’t had any success doing so.  Here are a couple of night photos from last winter:

I was forced to use a flash…pretty, but not the natural light I wanted to capture.  I would love to have more success this winter.  Any suggestions?


11 thoughts on “From Flowers to Snow in Two Short Days

  1. Hi Kanniduba

    Don’t know your camera, but you need to over-expose somewhat. If your camera settings allow it, about +2 exposure compensation.

    If your camera doesn’t allow this, lock in settings by pressing trigger halfway while aiming at darkest area, then swing to desired area and click the rest of the way.

    Also underexposed digital pix have a lot more information in them than is first apparent. For example in messing with the upper picture there appears to be a rather large tree perhaps an elm directly behind, and a two story structure to the left. If you have Photoshop try taking the picture into Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight and start moving the sliders.

    On camera flash as you know is going to produce pretty flat results, but see what you can do with other light sources away from the camera. However capturing falling snow probably needs a flash for it to show up because the camera is focused quite a bit further away on a scenic shot.

    Fun part of this is that unlike film, immediate results are there. What a great way to experiment and learn.

    Hope that helps

  2. Just saw this, and can’t wait to play a bit with the photos. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow though, as I am just about ready to call it a day. But I’d like to say that I especially like that second photo. I would perhaps just do a little white balance adjustment, but even without it, I think it’s a beautiful shot.

  3. Hi Sherwald! I have a Nikon D40 and I’ve been playing a lot with exposure the past few months. (Had no clue there even was such a setting last winter! Yet another thing I learned from Shrew! lol) (And no, Maven, I’m not talking about the “sexy” definition of exposure. 😉 ) I will definitely try playing around with that. (You are right about the large tree and the structure…my neighbor’s house and their humongous red maple! I take so many photos in their direction, I had to assure them that I wasn’t stalking them. *tee*hee*)

    Ivory, have at it! Can’t wait to see! And Sherwald, if you’re so inclined, feel free. 🙂

    And I will apologize for this horrible photo, BUT…*this* is exactly the color the light was that night…golden. I put it here for reference only. Everything glowed with this golden light. That’s that “snowy dim” I was referring to.

  4. I don’t have any suggestions … I only started working in manual mode 6 months ago, but I have also wanted to capture that winter snow light and am looking forward to trying …soon. We usually get a bit of snow here…

    I was thinking tripod and a longer exposure (shutter speed) than I can hand hold with steadiness but will also try some over exposure.

    Let it snow!

  5. Okay, played a bit whilst fielding “to do” phone calls. Can you guess which task was more interesting? 🙂

    I still kinda like your SOOC shots there. I tried to bump up the exposure and recover some details, and here’s what I ended up with for your first photo. Then I squinted a bit, looked at it again, and in my head, I just wanted to see what it would look like as an artsy winter postcard. So I played with it some more, gave it a bluish hue, and here you go.

    The second photo I thought might be helped with just a bit of cropping. Here’s the slightly cropped version, and here’s another one that’s even more cropped.

    Sherweld and Shrew, I’m really interested in seeing what you come up with. After playing with these photos, and then looking at the originals, I’m not sure which ones I prefer. Although I will admit that I kinda like the winter postcard look. 🙂

  6. Sherweld! I really like that effect! Very nice!
    And Ivory, I like that winter postcard look the best too. You know what’s funny about that second shot? I had looked at it half a dozen times before, but the minute I opened it up a couple of days ago, I noticed that basketball hoop and the roof of the car in the shot and I hadn’t ever noticed them before. I guess I really have developed a better eye, slowly but surely. 🙂 Now I’m thinking I need to play with it a little too, and see what I can do with it. Thanks!
    Ann~I’m thinking a tripod is a good idea too. Maybe Santa will bring me one?! 😉

  7. P.S. And Sherweld…I’m very sorry I was calling you “Sherwald”…apparently my eye for detail isn’t developed *quite* enough! (I did the same thing to jenfera, calling her “janfera”…apparently I have a problem with my a’s and e’s…not good considering I’m a writing teacher!) 🙂 Forgive me.

  8. Per Sherweld, you need to spin the Exposure Compensation button up around +2.0. I’ve gotten good results from +1.3 to +2.6 depending on other lighting variables. It’ll look blown out on the LCD but will look fine on your computer.

    I believe the D40 has the Nikon Creative Lighting system. If it does and you have an SB-600 or SB-800, you can use the onboard flash to control either one of these flashes off camera. It’s a really neat built-in tool on Nikon dSLRs and you can get away from the flat flash look of a flash unit over the lens.

  9. Hi Kanniduba
    Please, think nothing of it ….. at my age, I’m just extremely pleased to still be able to answer to anything, especially a mis-read nome de plume. haha

    Best regards

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