PhotoAnalysis: Winter Landscape E-mail

IPhotograph of Winter Landscape with Snowt's winter time in some parts of the world, and among the fiew positives of this cold season is the opportunity to take pictures of landscapes filled with snow.  While this is a great way to pass the time till Spring, it poses some challenges that you won't find during spring and summer.  This photo analysis might help you avoid a couple problems....

 

Apart from the fact that its cold out there you will find that snow is a difficult subject in general due to its ability to trick your light-meter into thinking the wrong thing.  The two main things are the white balance and the exposure.  In general both these will be wrong if you just shoot in auto.

Photograph of Winter Landscape Original

You should either set the white balance manually or measure on a sunlit white patch of snow.  In this picture the white balance was measured on the hill to the left, no

t ideal since there is some shadow there, but it worked acceptably.

What didn't work was the exposure.  Snow is so reflective that it acts as a second light source, making it difficult to get the right exposure.  As you'll see by this sample, the original (one on the left) was much darker than the corrected version.  Typically you want to do this in your camera, and not in post processing.  You set your Exposure compensation to 1-2 stops of overexposure.  The corrected version of this image uses 1 stop, going higher will overexpose the clouds.

Notice also that the sun is up the the left of the camera, a really bad place for the sun to be, thank goodness for those clouds.  A lens hood helped make this shot possible, i.e. without it the sunlight would reflect of the hood and make a mess of things.

Photograph of Winter Landscape Adjusted

 

This picture was mostly about illustrating the difficulties of capturing snow and lacks a lot in compostion.  The good elements are the pthway leading in to the top right diagonal, leading the eyes into the picture, and the hill creates an ok diversion.   The main problem regarding composition here are the branches sticking out from the top right, you might also argue that the tree in the distance is more disturbing than helpful.

If anything, make sure you check all corners in your viewfinder before snapping that winter landscape, that is, after you've adjusted the exposure and white balance.

The histogram shown below is the one from the corrected photo.

 

 

Histogram of Winter Landscape Photo

 

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