How to photograph snow - which metering ?

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KariP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,030
How to photograph snow - which metering ?

I bought my first SLR (film of course) some 50+ years ago and then there were many snowy winters ... i have since then been more or less insecure how i should measure exposure when there is pure white snow on the ground and sometimes also in the trees. Shooting color slide film  was not alẃays easy .    B&W was a bit easier.

Now when i use a digital camera and usually shoot RAW  it looks like more easy . It just is not. Especially IF i try to use evaluative metering to get the exposure right the result are not perfect. Of course it is easy to adjust RAW files because there is enough DR (usually). And it is easy to adjust the exposure factor. BUT if i let the evaluative metering suggest me something new every time i push the button , the results are different from shot to shot. Evaluative metering is something that i stopped using and started using some new strategy.

Camera in manual mode and spot metering is the way to do it right . I just take a metering from bright white snow and add 2 stops (+2EV) - white will be white but NOT blown out. If white is as it should be also all other areas are right (or as much as possible) - they are existing in the same light.

Evaluative metering and adjusting exposure with every shot is one possibility, but more like guesswork . Bracketing is time consuming. Right exposure makes PP much easier.

Evaluative metering and a cloudy day - everything is quite  grey , especially white snow

This would be too difficult for evaluative metering  - i took measurement from the white snow +2EV


Cross country skiing

I did some PP with Capture One - i did not touch the exposure slider, some adjustments like adjusting blacks because it was such contrasty light.  Not great photographic art but just to remind that it is possible and easy to get the exposure right when there is bright white snow. I slowly start to understand what is the right way.  Perhaps almost everyone else knows this already - but some of us can find this useful : No evaluative metering , use M-mode + spot metering and take the right exp. values from bright white using +2EV

And go out if there is snow on the ground  

Sun was coming rom a very low angle and the colour of the sunlight was warm (slightly yellow) and because the sky was blue the shadows are blue - no reason to adjust the blueness IMO.

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I started SLR film photography in 1968. Now two systems: Fujifilm X-H1 + X-E3 and Canon FF gear 5dMkIV + R6

 KariP's gear list:KariP's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Fujifilm X-E3 Fujifilm X-H1 Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM +10 more
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