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 →
This will be the first year we get to take our Roadtrek Agile, Charley, to Yosemite in the Winter and I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about driving those icy winter roads in my multi-ton Class B. However, I think if we stick to moderately dry weather days we’ll be okay. There is certainly a lot of motivation for going, because Winter is the very best time to photograph the park.
Most of the year, the great photographs of Yosemite can only happen in the very early morning and in the late afternoon. Those are the times of day when the sunlight is soft enough to avoid overly harsh contrast. But the light in the winter is low all day long, and many days are filled with clouds and fog, both of which even out the available light. There are some days in the Winter when you can shoot all day long while you enjoy the ever-changing light on Yosemite’s huge granite cliffs.
My wife and I are lucky enough to live so close to Yosemite that we’ve been there hundreds of times. After all these trips, we’ve discovered the best places to stay, the best places to eat and most importantly, the best places to take pictures. Read on, and we’ll share some of our secrets with you.
Yosemite used to have a well-defined off season. If you headed to the park in October or April, you would have the place to yourself. That’s no longer the case. Now, just about any month can be called “crowded” in comparison to other national parks. I blame the crowds on cameras. Everyone wants to take pictures with their new digital camera, and quite frankly, there’s no better place to take pictures then in Yosemite.
However, there are far less people in the park from early October to the end of April. And that’s especially true on weekdays, or in periods of “bad” weather. Continue reading →