I’ve been meaning to post a few pics of the last snow storm we had in NYC for awhile now (since early February to be exact!). With the spring finally here (yeay!), it’s now or never.
Winter (around the holidays, especially) is always a nice time to be in NYC. I’d have even called it “magical”, but Disney made sure to kill that spirit in me on my recent trip to Orlando. It always feels quite festive with tons of activity around the city: people are out and rushing around, shopping is on full blast, streets and store windows are lit up and decorated, lines are longer everywhere, kids are ice skating, etc. But the day after the big snow storm, with snow in access, sun high and temperatures mild, it seemed like all that bustling moved to Central Park. The energy was contagious. One couldn’t help but go sledding, snowball fighting, cross-country skiing (yes, in the park!) or just walking (aka treading) through snowy paths.
Shooting a snow scene, however, can be a bit of a challenge because snow is predominantly white and reflective. It helps if the sun is out and skies are blue. If you are shooting people, than colorful clothing helps enormously too by adding some contrast to otherwise monotone snow.
The main thing to worry about is your camera’s meter. It will try to average pure whites of the snow with usually a lot darker objects (tree, person, etc.), thus resulting in grey snow and underexposed subjects. So as a fix, it’s a common practice to overexpose your shot by at least one f-stop (sometimes, even more).
Another thing to consider is the white balance. Most people have their cameras set to auto white balance (AWB) by default, but if you find shots are coming out with blue-ish overcast it’s because the snow is throwing off your camera’s reading. You may want to full around with manual white balance to find a more “warmer” setting or do what I do and fix it later in Lightroom.
And lastly, I better mention the lens flare which can be more of a problem than usual with the reflective quality of snow. It’s always recommended to shoot away from the sun to avoid exposure issues; however, in a couple of pics below I intentionally caught the sun in between some tree branches (yes, I still like the “star” effect) and as a result, got a colorful “prism” effect (which I liked for its bright spots of color). But I must stress though, it might be something fun to fool around with, but not applicable in most situations.