Tips on Winter Photography

Photographing during winter can give many different conditions. Some wet and foggy, some snowy and some even stormy and snowy. Here are some tips on photographing them.

In my continued endeavor on exploring my home country Denmark, I went out on a snowy day to a landscape photography landmark called Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse. It is an old lighthouse being swallowed by a dune. A rather unique location and phenomenon.

I have been to this location plenty of times, but always during summer where the Milky Way lines up with the lighthouse. This time I visited during winter, where I had some fantastic moody, snowy and stormy conditions. I tried out several different angles while there, but it was my previsualized photo which worked out the best and it might become one of my favorite photos of 2019. A top tip I do not share in the video, but I realized too late, is to wear crampons. You will hear why in the video.

On the same day, I also visited an old mill where I share some thoughts on composition and compare two very different photos. However, I do start out in a moody minimalist scene with some dead trees.

Check out the video above where I share many small tips on photographing in these different conditions. Can you add any tips for winter photography? I would love to hear underneath here.

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14 Comments

user-156929's picture

Every time I get sick and tired of articles about cameras and lenses, you come along with an article about photography. Thanks!

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Thank you very much, Sam. I kinda feel the same. Enough about gear, let's get some photography done.

David Pavlich's picture

We have been on a streak of really cold weather. A few days ago, the wind chill was -58C. I love photography, but I'm not subjecting my camera to that....nor me. :-) But, today is Sunny with a very light breeze and by the time I get to my spot, it should be around -18C. I can handle that as long as there's no wind.

Hopefully, the wildlife will cooperate and let me get a few shots in. It's a great place called Ft. Whyte in Winnipeg. It's a privately owned conservation area.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

-58C sounds crazy! I don't think I've experienced less than -22C. That wasn't during photography though.

user-156929's picture

I was in Alaska shooting the Northern Lights, about 6 years ago, and the actual temperature was -40F (-40C). I have no idea what the Wind Chill was.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Auch! Hope you brought proper clothing!

user-156929's picture

Canada Goose Expedition coat, North Face snow pants and boots, Smart Wool socks, etc... Yep, I was warm. The biggest problem was my hands. I had really warm gloves but had to take them off, sometimes, to operate the camera. Still...

William Howell's picture

Wait, tell us how your gear held up? If you could, expound on how you coped, and what precautions you took to protect the stuff susceptible to conditions like you’re talking about.
I am trying to get my wife to go with me to one of the local parks and do a portrait with me. I want to do it right after a big snow, so it’s going to be coldish, about twenty degrees. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

user-156929's picture

Nothing special. I kept my spare batteries in my parka and swapped them out whenever they got low due to the temperature. Also, there was a yurt but I never brought in my camera to avoid condensation in the lenses. I've heard the horror stories but never experienced it myself. While there, it just happened to be during the Yukon Quest dog sled race. That year they started in Fairbanks and I was able to see, and photograph, them at one of the checkpoints along their route to Whitehorse, YT. That was VERY cool!

William Howell's picture

Duuude that does sound cool, now I have heard of the Iditarod, of course, but not the Yukon race. Never thought of it, but I bet Alaska has all kinds of regional races.
And thanks for the tip, make sure the camera and lenses are acclimated. Easy to forget that one.

user-156929's picture

I think people don't know about the Yukon Quest because it's partly in Canada, where was the Iditarod is completely in the US. They're both about 1000 miles. No other races are nearly that long as far as I know.

David Pavlich's picture

Well, I managed to last about 90 minutes or so, but this lovely lady wandered within range. :-)

William Howell's picture

So how cold was it? And did you have fun?

David Pavlich's picture

-18C and I had a great time! It was peaceful right up until about 30 kids and 3 chaperones showed up on snow shoes. I waited a while, but the deer, rabbits, and squirrels didn't come back. I finally had to surrender to the cold and headed home.