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Photo Tip 5: Metering on Snow

By Jim Zuckerman - Tennessee

When shooting on snow, there are two ways to ...

Photo Tip 5 : When shooting on snow, there are two ways to obtain an accurate light reading that can be relied upon without the need for bracketing. First, you can take a reflected light reading (i.e. the meter in your camera or a hand held reflected light meter) of a neutral toned object, like tree bark, a gray camera bag or a deep blue sky. Then, use that reading for the snowy scene. You take your camera off automatic and set it on manual mode, then set the f/stop shutter speed combination you just got.

Second, take an incident light meter reading of the scene. As long as the meter is in the same light as the scene, you'll be OK. Point the white dome of the meter toward the camera lens.

Some photography instructors teach that you read snow with your camera's meter and then open up one and a half f/stops. This doesn't work in all situations because there are so many variables. You can't tell me that a whiteout requires the same kind of compensation as patchy snow at sunset. For stress-free shooting in snow, use one of my two solutions and you'll never be insecure about snow photography again.

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To learn more, check out Jim's online photo courses at BetterPhoto.com


Jim Zuckerman left his medical studies in 1970 to turn his love of photography into a career. He has lectured and taught creative photography at many universities and private schools, including UCLA, Kent State University, the Hallmark Institute of Photography, and the Palm Beach Photographic Center. He also has led both domestic and international photo tours for 29 years to Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the American Southwest.

Zuckerman has been a contributing editor to Photographic Magazine for 32 years. His images, articles and photo features have been published in hundreds of books and magazines including several Time-Life Books, publications of the National Geographic Society, Outdoor Photographer, Omni Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Science Fiction Age, Australia's Photo World, and Greece's Opticon. He is the author of twelve books on photography.

His work has been used for packaging, advertising, and editorial layouts in thirty countries around the world. Jim's images have also appeared in calendars, posters, greeting cards, and corporate publications.

 

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