Snow day

It’s strange to look back over the last few months and remember this sort of snow, that arrived one weekend in January and disappeared almost as quickly.

My old Pentax that dates back to the 80s has a relatively unsophisticated metering system, so you have to think more when you use it. I take it out when I want to work a bit faster than usual – though its manual focus and you do have to compensate for tricky lighting conditions, it’s way faster than all that metering and setting up that using a Hasselblad entails.

Lately though I have been using it more and more manually. Since visiting the Lee Filters stand at this years Focus on Imaging, I’ve stolen Ron’s old ND Grad filters and have been trying them out.

I have yet to develop the film so I’m not sure yet what the results will be like but it seems logical that an ND grad allows the film to render more detail in the sky. In shots like this, a darker sky with lighter snow would be an improvement.

There will be people who’ll tell you there’s no need to bother, you can get the same results in Photoshop and Lightroom, just as darkroom experts will tell you that you can mask, dodge and burn to reveal all that detail. But honestly, when the weather is like this, I’d rather spend my time fiddling filters out on the hill rather than hunched over my enlarger or computer.

Just as long as someone remembers to pack a flask of coffee, I’d be happy to stay out there all day.



  1. They’re right, of course, that there’s no need to bother. But ‘need’ has nothing to do with it, and sometimes all that bother is the whole point.

  2. I agree with Greg. Another thing that people often forget is that most cameras tend to underexpose snow, hence the grey snow one sees so often. It’s because all the reflected light and whiteness fools the camera into thinking it needs a faster exposure. I tend to adjust the exposure by 1 or 2 stops before taking the shot. It’s another thing that can be corrected in editing digital shots but I prefer, like you, to get it right in camera.

    • You’re right, snow is tricky. I shot most of my shots that day with 1 stop compensation. Remembering to reset the camera afterwards is another matter.

      • At least I don’t have that problem. Though there have been times when I’ve shot a whole roll of film only to find it hasn’t wound on and the whole roll is blank.

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