Do’s and don’ts
• Encourage your
subjects to dress in brightly
colored coats and hats. A
pop of color from a red
jacket or blue hat can give
a scene the punch of color
• Use a long focal
length (with the lens
zoomed out) when you
photograph falling snow.
The long lens will help
make the falling flakes
• Protect your gear
from snow by using a
camera weather cover or
even a simple plastic bag.
• Zoom in on winter
wildlife subjects like birds,
deer, squirrels, etc. In these
cases, the animal is the
prime subject and the
snowy background is
simply the environment.
Make the animal the star
by using it to fill the frame.
• Stay out too long in
the cold; take warm-up
breaks as you need them.
• Be distracted by your
camera while traversing
• Change camera
lenses while it’s snowing,
as you might allow
moisture to fall onto
the camera’s internal
electronics. Also be careful
about loose snow on your
clothing doing the same
your exposure compensation to plus 1,
or even plus 1. 5, which tells the camera
to make the image lighter than what it
thinks is correct. The result should be
proper-looking snow. If the snow in your
shot comes out too white, simply dial in a
smaller exposure compensation, such as
Cold temperatures can cause batteries
to weaken and have shorter life spans.
You’ll likely discover your battery levels
depleting much more quickly than they
normally would—or your camera may
simply refuse to turn on in the first place.
The solution? Keep the extra batteries
under your coat until you need them.
Your own body heat should keep the
spares at a functioning temperature until
it’s time to use them. Swap the batteries
as needed; you’ll discover that batteries
that seemed to be “dead” were actually
just cold, and after you warm them up
under your coat they will be ready to
Another problem can occur when
you go back inside. If a cold camera is
suddenly brought back into warm and
comparatively humid air, condensation
will quickly form all over its glass, plastic
and metal parts, similar to the way that
eyeglasses fog over under the same condi-
tions. One solution is to leave your gear
in a “midrange” location that isn’t too
cold or too warm, like a garage, until the
possibility of condensation has passed.
If that’s not an option, consider
placing your camera in a resealable
plastic bag before you bring it inside.
The plastic bag will prevent the moisture
in the warm air from reaching your
camera. Leave your gear in the bag until
it has warmed up to room temperature.
Also, avoid operating your camera
with bare hands—you’ll be too cold.
Instead, use a pair of photography gloves
that will keep your hands warm but
still provide the necessary dexterity for
controlling your camera.
Daniel Johnson ( foxhillphoto.com) is a
professional pet photographer and the author
of several animal and photography books.
Watch Daniel Johnson
tips. (See page 9