In this post, I will talk about winter landscape photography. Winter landscape photography is very similar to summer photography except that it is cold and battery life is much more limited. I always keep a spare battery inside my coat where it will stay warm. This gives me more shots than a battery kept in my car, camera bag, or in an outside pocket.
It is also important to protect your camera and lens when you bring them in from the cold. Warm moist (inside) air will condense on and in your cold camera gear when you bring it in from the outside. This will introduce moisture into areas that should never get wet. To prolong camera life, I seal the camera and lens into a gallon-sized zip-loc bag before I bring it into the house. The camera and lens stay in the bag until they reach room temperature.
I generally classify winter shooting into three types of photography – sunny day shooting, shooting under overcast skies, and the crazy business of shooting in nasty weather.
Sunny day shooting is the most logical type of IR photography. During sunny days, IR light is plentiful, shutter speeds are short, and you don’t need a tripod for most shots. Clear blue skies produce nice dark IR skies that highlight any puffy clouds that may be in the scene. Sunny conditions also produce lots of glare, especially from the snow. This is where IR photographers have an advantage over other photographers because IR photographers deal with glare from grass and other vegetation all the time. The same approaches and settings you use to deal with vegetation glare work for snow glare. Using a lens shade is very important under these conditions to reduce lens flare.
|Gallup Park, Ann Arbor Michigan - Infrared|
|Evergreen Cemetery, Alpena Michigan - Infrared|
|Curran Michigan Gully - Infrared|
|Snowmobile Path, Curran Michigan - Infrared|
Taking IR photos in nasty winter weather has many challenges - some obvious and some not. Personal safety and potential equipment damage are some of the obvious challenges and I am sure we all can come up with four or five other reasons why we shouldn't be wandering around with a camera during a winter storm. The less obvious challenges have to do with light.
We all know that the world gets darker when a thick, snow-laden cloud bank is overhead. This is a world with little contrast and no color. Only the closest objects have any hope of producing a sharp image.
|Snowstorm in Grand Rapids Michigan - Infrared|
|Iron Bridge, Grand Rapids, Michigan - Infrared|
I hope I have demonstrated that you can take interesting landscape photos in the winter and maybe next year, your IR camera will join you on some winter excursions.