You ready for snow days?

Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000

Here are just a couple tips that can help you in taking photos in snow. First you can use the scene mode of snow if it exists on your camera. Another option is the beach scene mode. Both of these will get you pretty close.

The downside to using scene mode is the camera doesn’t know if you are shooting landscape or action in the snow.

Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/800

My suggestion is the use the exposure compensation on your camera as a way to compensate for all that white snow.

This is the location of the Exposure Compensation on the Nikon D3S. You push this and spin the dial on the back of the D3S to under or over expose the photo.

Now this is in different places on each camera, so get your manual out and look for exposure compensation in the index.


Exposure Compensation Dial on Nikon P7000

Most of today’s cameras also have different metering modes. On Nikon I recommend shooting with matrix metering.

Here is what camera settings I suggest for capturing action in the snow.
  1. Matrix Metering
  2. +1 Exposure Compensation – Take test shots and see if needing more or less. Each camera responds a little differently.
  3. Auto ISO
    1. Use the camera suggested latitude ISOs for your camera. I use 100 – 104,000 for my Nikon D5, but only 200-6400 for my Fuji X-E2
    2. Minimum shutter speed of 1/2000 for my Nikon D5 and 1/500 for Fuji X-E2
  4. Aperture Priority – Choosing depth-of-field that is appropriate for the photo. 
  5. Continuous Focus – Single focus mode will lock the focus but if they are sledding to you they will not be in focus. Need to be in continuous mode to track the subjects.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000
For many of these photos I decided to shoot as fast as I could at 1/8000. It isn’t necessary to stop the motion, but I was just seeing what it looked like and really liked the results.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000

Action Shot Tips

  1. Place yourself to where the action is going. For most all these photos I captured the people at the bottom of the hill. this way I captured their expressions and not the backs of their heads.
  2. Don’t just shoot action, but reaction and things around the action.
  3. Use your motor drive to capture series of images.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000
Here I was at the top of the hill and captured the brother and sister as they came back up the hill. You can still see the excitement. I also purposely composed to show someone at the bottom of the hill or you wouldn’t know it was a hill.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 2000, ƒ/8, 1/500
For this photo I was panning with them as they got a push. The idea is to mix up as much as you can the photos so you have captured more of the memories for the years ahead to remind them how everyone was having fun together.
I think I am now ready for some snow.

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