Be Inspired

Tips on shooting in the winter

By David Cleland

Winter is a great season for photography and it is always worth forcing yourself to think differently. In my opinion, winter landscapes can be more about the narrative of the image than the technical aspects of the shot.

David Cleland

1. Visit your Favourite Locations in the Snow

When the Snow descends, think of the already beautiful locations you know and pay them a visit. This is a photograph Hillsborough Church, Co Down transformed under a blanket of snow. It also should be noted that you don’t have to shoot with a wide-angle lens to capture landscape images as this photo was shot at around 75mm.

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2. Use the Evening or morning light.

The sun is lower in winter and can cast long shadows or create a warm winter glows (especially in the evening). This image was shot using the X20 camera on a cold day in December on Tyrella Beach, County Down. On visiting my local beach during a winter weekend I discovered a range of activities I wasn’t expecting.

My advice is to pack a camera and head for the coast on a day that it would be the last place you would think of visiting as it might amaze you what you will find.

For low light photography you might need to increase your ISO, the Fujifilm range offer a capped auto ISO mode which can be very handy for outdoor photography during the winter months.  I tend to shoot auto ISO capped at 3200.

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3.  Use Winter to create dramatic scenes

The winter season can really create as sense of drama. This old ruin in County Donegal is made even scarier by the cold winter mountains in the background and the use of long exposure photography to make the sky even more dramatic.

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4. Shoot what you would tell people

During April, Northern Ireland saw the largest snow fall in decades. Roads were closed for days and the countryside was transformed to pure white. I took this shot with the X100s to document the level of the snow against some farm fencing. It wasn’t overly interesting at the time but as we look back it is great to have photos of just how much snow had fallen.  Close up shots against the reflecting snow can be a challenge, using ‘Spot metering’ can bring the clarity and detail to your main subject.

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5. Shoot Contrasting Landscapes

It can be great to head out on a sunny day after a snowfall. This image was shot with the X100s on the Murlough Bay path (County Down).  It was sunny which created an interesting contrast against the snow-covered Mourne Mountains.

The trick is to have a camera with you on your winter adventures so you document what you discover. I tend to pack the X100s wherever we go and it is amazing just how many images I managed to capture on days when photography was the least of my objectives.

About David

David Cleland is a documentary and landscape photography from Ireland. To see more of his work you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his blog.

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