Snapping Sensational Snow Shots

I survived the Blizzard of 2010! I didn’t get a t-shirt; rather, I was gifted with roughly 14 inches of snow and 45 mph winds that created five-foot tall snowdrifts smack in front of our garage.

In my opinion, snow in excess of three inches is not pretty to look at unless you are staring at it from inside a warm house… and you have someone else shoveling it from your sidewalk.

I laughed when my mom, who called from Hawaii, asked if I had taken pictures of my daughter frolicking in the winter wonderland.


Frolic is far from what my kid did when she was forced into -35 degree wind chills once the school district exhausted its supply of snow days.

The only people who had their cameras out in the piercing cold this week were the ones who suffered damage to their vehicles and needed photo documentation to send to their insurance agency.

Still, now that we are a few days out from the avalanche of snow that smothered the entire state of Wisconsin, I can see why some people brave the elements to snap shots of the falling flakes. Winter landscapes can make for some frame worthy shots. However, if you plan to take shots shortly after the white stuff has fallen from the sky; consider these helpful tips, so your efforts are not in vain:

ISO: Fresh snowfall and bright sunlight will wreck havoc on your shots unless you lower your ISO to 50 or 100.

Open lens: To avoid having your camera turn fresh white snow into a grey mess, open your lens up one or two f-stops more than the auto setting suggests. Try f/8 aperture first and adjust accordingly if the shot doesn’t look accurate.

Increase shutter speed: If you are shooting snow scenes with little available natural light, increase your shutter speed to about 5 seconds, and reduce ISO to 200 or 400.

Use a tripod: Using a tripod will help eliminate camera shake. In addition, you can reduce the chance of snapping blurry shots by using your camera’s self timer.

Related Articles:

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Last-Minute Holiday Picture Taking Advice

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Giving the Gift of Photos this Holiday

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.