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Tips and tricks

Nature photography in winter

Photo school

In the eternal cycle of Nature winter represent the same piece of the year as other seasons. The conditions of photography cannot be called as ideal at this time, but the nature photographer, clothing appropriate to the season, can fill his or her memory cards with numerous exciting photo themes even in this harsh season.
Winter has many faces. Sometimes it shows its crystal clear, sparkling cold, freezing and sunny face and other times the cloudy, misty-foggy one, when the sky almost merge with the ground and only the colours of the close things live in their fullness, the farther themes lose in the grey.
Winter use to be blamed for the lack of colours. Resounding responses to that are the colourful sunrises, sunsets, the leaves which do not fall from certain tree species, the colourful leaves showing through the layer of ice. Trees with nice branch structure can be ideal photo themes, and when there are less colours, the different patterns created by the frost or wind can be highlighted as well. Macro-lovers can be satisfied with the abundance of ice formations and hoar-frost patterns. The winter „clothing” of the animals and their different behaviour in the season of poor nourishment also provide nice tasks for nature photographers.
Take care of your photo equipment, if you go indoors to warm up, keep your camera in the bag to avoid condensation. Count with the fact that battery performance decreases in the cold, make sure you have extra batteries kept warm in the inside pocket of your coat.
We also have other useful advices related to the individual pictures.
Photo: © Árpád Krivánszky

Canon EOS 5D Mark II EF28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 f/11 1/400 s ISO 400
Snowstorm Formations
In winter the wind can form and develop the land with no obstacles in the forestless areas. It blows off the snow from some parts of the land, making these details naked and at other part forms whimsical formations from the big mass of snow. The result is a strongly contrasted picture with black and white effect and hard, angular forms at some places, while soft ripples and a gentle transition of white on other parts. The land opens up even more if we climb up a hill.
Winter Land in Black & White
Sometimes it is worth capturing winter lands in grey-scale photos or covert them into that during processing. A picture of good composition with some rework (red filter, contrast, highlights/shadows control) presents the photographer and the viewer with a silvery-white snow surface.
The trees in the park surround the pond and reflect in the water in this picture taken in cloudy weather. If you turn the reflection upside down, then the trees which appear in modest, pastel colours, seem to grow from the white base. The water surface ripples a little in the soft wind which makes the reflection paintinglike.
Leaf Frozen into Ice
In the same period it is worth visiting smaller waters on which thin ice layer forms and inetersting ice formations can be found: bubbles coming upwards, strange figures, crystals, frozen blades of grass, colourful leaves or maybe tiny insects can decorate our photo.
Photo: © László Suhayda

Canon EOS 5D Mark II EF180mm f/3,5L Macro USM f/10 0,4 s ISO 160
Grey Heron
Birdfeeders attract birds in this season and it creates good photo opportunities, be it a small songbird fed with seeds or a bird of prey fed with meat. We can capture different species from a hide, - some of them can be seen in Hungary only in winter – and their winter behaviour can differ from those of the other seasons. Because their form groups, the chance to take a good photo increases, even a continuous shooting is possible, in different period of the day with varied light conditions. If we visit the place several times, the change in the snow-covered parts provides the opportunity to take pictures of different atmospheres.
Photography of Ice Surfaces (pair of pictures)
Picture in strong backlight are worth shooting early in the morning, at around sunrise or late afternoon at sunset, but even at these times you have to make sure that the lightest parts should not be overexposed (negative exposure correction might be needed). The thin mist helps to equalize the light. In strong light the theme can present an unfavourable atmosphere and shooting can become impossible because the contrast is too high for the image sensor.
Before sunrise and after sunset, in cloudy weather or turning away from the direction of the Sun we can take pictures of the frozen, icy-snowy surfaces with less surface sparkling and with a completely different colour scale.
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