There are three inches on snow in Columbia, SC, and that’s enough to close the university here.
While some students are hunkering down, photographers are heading out to capture the experience. Here are tips for strong weather images.
Be prepared. Plan to stay out in the weather long enough to get images with impact. Wear boots with good traction, layers with a water-resistant shell, and cover your ears. I keep good gloves with holes in the fingers so I can handle the camera. Protect your gear from cold. Keep spare batteries and pens in your front pants pocket to prevent them from freezing. Keep your camera under your coat when not in use–the electronics can slow down in the cold. When you first step outside (or inside from the cold,) the lens may fog up. Give it time to acclimate to the temperature.
Bad weather. Don’t wait for the weather to end before you go out to take pictures. Blowing wind, driving snow, people bracing against the cold–get in the middle of it. Take photos of pristine places before they get littered with footprints. Afterward, dry your camera out by opening all the ports in a clean, warm place.
Dramatic light. Look for clouds before the storm, moonlight on the snow, wet streets lit with headlights. Take a tripod, and get out at unusual times of day.
Scenic views. Find a location that shows the immensity of the weather. Get to a top-floor window or a wide open space. Look for an iconic space like a well-known tree or building, and show us how it looks in unusual weather. Compose carefully. Show activity. Wait for people to walk by and choose a decisive moment.
People people people. Sledding, slipping or walking their dogs. Get in FRONT of them to show their faces. Be sure to get first and last names.
Most of all, have fun and be creative! The rewards are worth the effort.