Nikon D70- shooting in snow

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tom_groves, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. I am going snowboarding with my D70 very soon and I was wondering if there was any tips/
    ideas/ must-do's to enable me to get the best results?
     
  2. I would over-expose a predominantly snowy scene by one to two stops, perhaps even a bit
    more.

    As regards looking after your D70 - don't drop it in the snow, and if you're actually going
    to do some snowboarding, make sure the camera is well protected both against the snow
    and against bumps & knocks.
     
  3. Snow in general is a bit tough, Snow is white and everything else seems to be dark. I would try to get some test shots and practice with the snow. The D70 can bracket, you may want to shoot bracketed, 0 and +1 or +2. Also you have an extra batery, right? make sure the one you have is a full charge and take an extra one. I shot frost this weekend and I stopped because my batery went dead, perhaps it was time or perhaps it was the cold, either way when the batery was done, so was I.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Shooting snow scenes should not be difficult. I would set the camera to manual exposure, use the spot meter in the D70 to meter the brightest part of the scene and set that to 1.5 to 2 stops over-exposed. Exposure for the rest of the image should fall in place. If you understand how metering works, there is no need to bracket wildly. If I bracket, it is typically by 1/3 or at most 2/3 stop for some fine tuning.

    See the following article by John Shaw for more details:
    http://www.photosafaris.com/Articles/ExposingWhiteRight.asp
     
  5. Just the normal common sense things. Be sure to pack your lens hoods and c-pols. Let your gear cool down before using it so your lens dosn't fog. When you come inside let it warm up too. Keep your spare battery in an inside pocket so it dosn't freeze. Keep an absorbent cloth with you so you can wipe off your gear if it gets wet. If you see a Yeti please share your photos with the rest of us. Even if you don't se a Yeti share your photos.
     
  6. I took my D70 out on the slopes last year and had good luck with no exposure compensation and just tweaking in post. The meter's quite good about not being fooled by snow. Start with no compensation, then check your "highlights" view and walk up the compensation to a level you're comfortable with. Personally I'd only use a 1/3 or 2/3 -- you'll be shooting ISO 200, so you have a lot of lattitude to brighten in post, but if you blow the highlights (on the RAW, not the JPG), they're gone...
     
  7. Notice that the D70 by default does automatic contrast adjustment (well, at least mine does) so setting snow at a particular value relative to metered value doesn't fix its final value in the raw converted image. I've found that the best metering technique with the D70 is to let the matrix do its thing and if it fails, adjust. It rarely fails.
     
  8. Obviously if you have a predominantly snowy scene applying a +1 is probably a good idea. On slides I do a spot reading with +2 on top of the brightest part of snow within the image area, but on the D70 it's a bit more tricky.
     
  9. I don't have a D70 but my D2H meters surprisingly accurately in light that varies quickly when using with matrix metering in program mode. I just dial in a bit of exposure compensation as needed and the results are almost always usable, if not perfect. I'd be surprised if the D70 didn't handle tricky lighting just about as well.

    The rest of it is down to photo editing.
     
  10. Thank you all for being so helpfull. I knew i'd have to compensate but have only mainly worked with negative and positive film so this will be my first digital experience!aswell as the D70, ill be taking my bronica 6x6 with some B&W film. Does anyone know if the ilford infra red film(SFX)((plus filter obviously))will be any good in snow situations? and how should i meter with normal B&W film FP4 or Pan50? thank agin for the responses, very helpfull and im looking forward to posting some of the pix.
     
  11. Lex, the D70 meter is excellent but a reflected light meter does not know where to place tones. If you point the camera at a whitish building it will be gray. Now, you can adjust in Photoshop or Capture or whatever but you end up either 1) increasing contrast, or 2) amplifying noise in the shadows. I usually find the increase in contrast ok but it's not ideal.
     
  12. If you have snow AND polarised sky AND some clouds AND a bright-coloured object/person in the scene, the matrix metering of the D70 tends to be erratic: I found myself often chimping for the highlights, what is not very comfortable with gloves (I somehow manage to operate the dial/shutter, though)

    OTOH, with centre-balanced FM2n-style metering off the snow and 2stop correction I am usually fine. Actually, on a snow-tour-day, I'm use to have the two-stop correction permanently dialed in, when and got the habit to meter off the ground.

    Another thing you might want to try, is to fully-polarise, and just expose off the sky with the sun at your side. This often is also spot-on.

    I use to braket +/-0.5 stops and never failed to get well-exposed scenes.

    I advise you carry a spare battery in an internal pocket of your jacket, since excessive AF use (on a longish lens) will drain your battery pretty fast in cold temperatures. If you are on a multi-day trip, you might want to sleep with both batteries close to your body.

    Another piece of advise would be to get a circular-polariser-cum-warmer filter, which works well against the bluish cast you tend to get from the UV. Conversely, I cure it in PS. I tried to cure it on the field bracketing the white balance but eventually did not get satisfactory results, not that in my ignorance I expected to, however.
     
  13. I was practicing shooting with my D70 in snow the other day and got nothing but blue looking snow no matter what I set the camera at until I set the White balance to Auto. The meter was set on matrix and the ISO 200 and compensation to -2. Then I got the snow to look white. Has this happened to anyone else?
     
  14. Dennis, the white balance presets on dSLRs are guesstimations. Sometimes they're pretty close but other times are way off.

    For example, the "Sunlight" preset is ideal only for a particular time of day that becomes shorter in duration toward winter time. Later in the day the sun may still be shining but the color temperature has changed significantly. If you want neutral color (altho' warmer would technically be closer to what the eye sees), some adjustment will be needed.

    Fluorescent lighting is worse because there is no industry standard for this lighting. It could be greenish, bluish, yellowish, even fairly neutral, or a mixture.

    I don't know about the D70 but the D2H can be adjusted +/-3 for most presets to make things a bit cooler or warmer. This can help.

    There are quite a few advocates of the Auto White Balance approach. Pixmantec suggests this for processing RAW files in RawShooter, because their software does not completely ignore the photographer's choices in camera presets. You can click on RawShooter's auto white balance estimation and see whether you like the results. If not, you aren't stuck with it and can finesse it as desired. Other RAW converters work similarly.

    Still, I find the workflow goes more quickly and smoothly when I choose the most appropriate *non-auto* white balance during shooting. If the white balance setting tagged to the RAW file doesn't vary all over the place it's easier when batch processing later to get consistent results.
     

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