it looks there might be some significant snowfall in my area early next week. This is quite rare for where I live so I am a bit flummoxed about metering/ filters etc for black and white to make the negative snow tones sparkle.
"Sparkle" is difficult - especially with fresh snow. Old snow in sunlight sparkles, ne snow in overcast doesn't.
The main thing is to avoid overexposing the snow, while keeping detail in the shadows. I suggest using a relatively long-scale film which can take just about anything - "traditional grain" or chromogenic. In my experience the Delta or T-grain films just cannot handle the contrast range.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Here's the issue. If you use a built-in meter, your camera is going to try to read the entire scene as 18% gray so you get washed out whites.
There are three solutions:
Get an incident meter and hold it pointing towards the lens axis and take a reading. That will render everything in the proper place provided the light where you are doing this is the same as falling on the scene you are taking a picture of.
The other solution is to recognize that the camera's meter is doing that and open up between 2 stop and bracket around that
The last solution is to meter off a grey card. Put it down in the snow, fill the frame with they gray card and then meter. Hold the meter so its not changed, look up and recompose. Take the photo and you are set.
Use a yellow filter - K2 by the old Kodak numbering system (my filters are even older than me) - I think that's a #8 in the more modern numbering method.
It seems to me that it is the opposite of dealing with deep shadows. So metering off the snow, and closing down two stops ought to get you into the right area.
I'm assuming that you plan to use monochrome, colour stock is more demanding of acurate exposure, as I'm sure you know.
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Jeffrey - I use a spot meter and manual cameras but yours is fine advice none the less.
Juan - I'm curious to know what effect the yellow filter has on the snow?
Over the last 4 months or so, I have shot maybe 20 rolls of 120 and 35mm, all in snowy conditions. It's a condition of living where I do!!!
The simplest solution is to use an incident meter. If you haven't got a hand-held meter, use sunny-16. If you only have a built-in reflective meter, compensate at least one stop, if not two, depending upon how dark your subject is. I've used both Delta-400 and FP4+ with great success in snowy conditions.
Basically, don't trust reflective readings and you should be OK.
Hope this helps,
Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!
We have had L O T S of opportunity to "work with snow" around here. The yellow filter is a very good idea because most of the light being reflected is from the blue end so using the yellow filter is about the only way to get some texture in the snow.
So, just find a 18% gray object and spot meter that. The bark of trees can work. Even the green in trees maps to grey for most trees. Sometimes you can even use a blue sky with the right shade.
Originally Posted by Leon
With a spot meter, I think its easier--just find something that is gray and meter it. Take a few meters of different grays and then average them. Works the same as the other three methods.
Or, I just realized, bring a small gray card, put it in the same light as the subject and spot meter off that!
Last edited by Jeffrey A. Steinberg; 02-18-2005 at 10:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Open up two stops, not close down!
Originally Posted by Dave Miller
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist