IN THE FIELD: Serenity


A few weekends ago, mother nature created a winter wonderland during the wee hours before dawn. And I took the opportunity to step out on the deck to view the sights before breakfast.

The world around me was completely covered in white from a light snowfall. A dense fog had formed due to the warmth of the ground in the lower parts of the valley and it was heading my way. No sounds were to be heard…no traffic, no voices, no wind. Several minutes passed before I decided to get out the camera and try to capture what I was seeing.

I knew this would be an interesting exercise in exposure, due to all the reflected light and changing conditions. The sky behind me and to my right was bright, but the sun was still obscured by clouds. The scene before me and to my left was all white, foggy, and mostly monotone in color.

Because there was so much reflected light, and in order to expose for the snow and keep it reasonably white, I overexposed most of the shots from what the camera meter recommended by 1-1/3 stops. Any adjustment of more than 1-1/3 stops and the scene was overexposed. Any less than 2/3 stops overexposure, and the snow was rendering too grey and the overall scene was a bit too dark. Those darker shots are still usable but it was not the look I was going for.

Every snow scene is different. Some scenes have more contrast (dark objects vs. light objects) and some have less, as in this case. Either way, I usually start by overexposing the shot by 2/3 stops. This is because camera meters are designed to render a scene as middle grey…or about 18% reflectance. And since snow scenes can be so bright, camera meters suggest closing the aperture to reduce the amount of light that would reach the sensor.

Experimentation with various aperture settings is the key to see if the camera is rendering the snow as white, and to see if there is still detail in the snow and the darker areas. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little of both to get a satisfactory result.

I took about a dozen photos of my surroundings, turned off the camera, and went back to enjoying the ever-changing view. Then had breakfast and took the dogs for a walk so they could also enjoy the splendor of a fresh snowfall.

All in all…a nice way to start the day.

ISO 200



Cloudy White Balance

  1. March 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Beautiful! I enjoyed reading about your aperture experiments. Thank you!

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

      Thanks Lemony. It was a tricky one with all the white everywhere!

  2. March 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I hate snow but I love this shot! I totally understand the mucking about with aperture and EV πŸ™‚

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

      It sure was a pretty morning…tricky exposures though. I was looking a giant reflector LOL!

  3. March 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

    The photo is incredible, David!
    Glad to see you back blogging πŸ™‚

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Gracie, it was a sight to see for sure! It’s great to be back…I have missed you all!

  4. March 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Beautiful winterscape, David. I agree, those exposures can be difficult. πŸ™‚

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Bob, it sure was peaceful that morning. It was still quiet when we took the pups for a walk. I suppose everyone stayed home that morning. Yes, there is nothing like shooting in a giant reflector!

  5. March 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Amazing photo, David! Great photography tips, too. Glad you are posting again!

    • March 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks Karen, it’s sure been awhile since I posted anything…way to much has been going on the last few months. Glad things are calming down LOL.

  6. March 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

    WOW! I haven’t been yet in snowy days like that… In the photographs I love snow, and you almost made a great shot, but to be there and to walk… You are amazing dear David, and I am so glad too to see you back in this blogging world. Thank you, with my love, nia

  7. March 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for the kind words Nia! Walking in the snow palace was the best! It’s great to be back!!!

  8. March 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Welcome back!

    • March 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Hey thanks Cornel…it’s good to be back!!!

  9. March 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Nice to see you back and what a lovely photo. See…I can still appreciate snow even if the ground here is still covered with a couple of feet.

    • March 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Karen, you guys up north certainly got a lot more snow than we did down here in Pa. We’ve just had a bunch of small storms and squalls this year. Guess that makes up for the 56 inches we got in one week in 2011 LOL.

  10. March 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Welcome back! I like these kind of scenes overexposed because it really is closer to how we experience them in nature. I am still digging out from yesterday’s storm, we got about a foot.

    • March 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks Jane and how true that is. Almost like High Key photography! I saw the photos of the the storm in your part of the world…great shots!

      • March 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm


  11. March 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    You’ve captured the feeling of serenity perfectly. Welcome back!

    • March 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Thank you Meanderer, it was a wonderful experience and it’s great to be back!!!

  12. March 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Nice to see you again, David. “Serenity” is a great name for this peaceful image. We had snow three times here this winter, but each time it melted away very quickly.

    • March 23, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Hi Lee, it sure was beautiful. It was several hours before we heard any signs of life. It was just the coolest experience. Our snows here have been really light also…more expected Sunday though!

  13. March 24, 2013 at 8:21 am

    What a lovely photo, I almost feel as if I’m breathing in the frozen misty air. Thanks for posting this, David, and it’s so good to see you back on WordPress!

    • March 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Hi Jo, glad you liked this one…in fact it’s snowing here again this morning. This time it’s a heavy wet snow and it is expected to continue throughout the day. We took the pups for a walk and we are all a sopping wet mess LOL, but it sure is pretty out there. I’m so glad to be back on WordPress..I have missed you all!

  14. March 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I love the cold feeling of snow wafting over this landscape, a beautiful photograph. So pleased to see you back again. Hope all is well with you and yours πŸ™‚

    • March 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Thanks MB, it sure was a pretty sight. It’s been snowing like crazy since 5:30 this morning so we have the same scene again except for the fog. Sure is pretty. It’s great to be back and all is back to normal on the home front!

      • March 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

        I’m very pleased to hear that. πŸ™‚

  15. March 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    And a nice way to start blogging again, David! My serenity gave way to JOY when I saw a post from you in my inbox. The blogosphere just hasn’t been the same without you! LOVE the image. Welcome back!

    THOUGHT of you when I went on my annual outing over the weekend to buy pansies for my outdoor urns at White’s Mill here. It’s a little-bit-of-everything garden center with the feel of an old-fashioned general store. You’d LOVE it:

    • March 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Hi John!! That was such a nice thing to say and it’s great to be back. Ahhhh garden centers…there is nothing better! You would probably never get me out of the Mill. Neato place!!!

  16. March 29, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Beautiful DH! Here in Maryland we had our first real snowfall this past Monday. I took my camera outside for 5 minutes and came away with nothing!! Some shots were way too over exposed and when I tried tried to correct it by making a few adjustments the snow came out a gray color. This post has been very informative and I actually copied and pasted the text of the post into an email and sent it to myself for next year!

  17. March 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thanks MD, glad to be of help…even though the snows are probably finished this year LOL. I like your idea of e-mailing the text for yourself for next season. Great thinking!!!

  18. April 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Lovely image!
    Welcome back!

    • April 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Thanks Fergie, it’s good to be back. I am working on posting more often among all the house hunting duties.

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