You might think two people who live in Sunny California might not know anything at all about Winter. You’d be wrong. Did you know that “Sierra Nevada” is English for “Snowy Range”? And it didn’t come by that name by accident. The Sierra Nevada range is the proud owner of several world “snow” records. Most snow in a day – 67 inches. Most snow in a single storm – 15 ½ feet. Greatest snow depth – 37 ½ feet. And being avid skiers and photographers, we’re out in the white stuff all winter long, so we’ve picked up a thing or two about shooting photographs in the snow, the rain and the cold.
The cramped closest space inside our Van-sized RV’s can make packing for winter a challenge. For clothing, I suggest using layers. Light Merino wool sweaters pack up small, resist wrinkling and are very, very warm. I like the zippered top I got from Minus 33 so much, I quickly got on line and bought another. But before you get to the sweaters, make sure to put on a warm base layer. My current favorites are the tops and bottoms in Columbia’s new Omni-Heat line. Finally, get yourself a water-proof shell. Big bulky parkas take up a lot of space in your RV and if the day warms up, you’ll start to feel like you’re wearing a sauna, not a jacket. So again, I go for small and light, from makers like Columbia or Marmot. Continue reading →
Winter is a photographer’s biggest test. And it can also be their greatest reward. If you’re up to braving the elements, you can capture some fantastic images.
Here’s a little secret about photography in the Winter. The air is clearest when it’s cold. That’s right. No murky brownish skies. No marine layer. No campfire smoke. It feels like you can see forever. And if you’re a fan of those super sharp, in focus from your feet to infinity, landscape photographs, all of that clear air will just make your day.
So, it sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just put on your waterproof boots and a parka and you’re ready to bring home the goods. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. That’s because as advanced as cameras have become, they’re nowhere near as good as the eyes in your head. The exposure meter in your camera sees snow as one great big overexposure. So when it tries to adjust for all that whiteness, the meter does what it’s supposed to do – it compensates. Unfortunately, your camera will compensate for white snow so much; you’ll end up with a dark gray photograph that will make you wish you stayed in your motorhome’s nice warm bed. Continue reading →
Yosemite Valley has fewer visitors in the off-season for two simple reasons. It can be difficult to get there, and difficult to get around once you’re there. Our favorite friend, and often our most hated foe, snow, stops most people in their tracks. It makes driving a challenge, camping a chore, and even changes the definition of “walking” from a “pleasant stroll” to a “contact sport”.
We’ve only had Charley for six months now, so we haven’t had a chance to try out our new Roadtrek Agile in the snow. I haven’t even picked up a set of chains, though I know I’ll have to soon. I’m not really in a hurry because our other vehicle, an all-wheel drive Subaru Outback, is amazing in the snow, and it’s even better when I switch out its summer shoes for a set of snow tires. Continue reading →