Why is the snow blue in your winter images?

Nikon D3 in aperture priority, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 at 300mm, Aperture of f8, Shutter speed of 1/2500th of a second, Exposure compensation of plus 2/3rds of a stop.

Nikon D3 in aperture priority, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 at 300mm, Aperture of f8, Shutter speed of 1/2500th of a second, Exposure compensation of plus 2/3rds of a stop.

We have compiled a list of the TOP50 questions that we hear on our workshops. From gear, to settings, to composition, and shooting styles, we have decided to post three questions and answers a week till we get through them all.

We hope they answer some of the questions that you may have. Here is today’s question.

Question: Why is the snow in my photo blue?

Answer: As winter descends on us and we are starting to prepare for our annual snowy owl workshops, this question comes from our snowy owl workshops last year…

Blue snow happens when a camera fails to recognize what snow looks like in the shade. Digital cameras will not recognize all the colours in the spectrum like your eyes will. The camera captures the light as it shines through the oxygen inside the frozen ice crystals, thereby producing a blue colour.

To eliminate the snow, I do one of two things… In post production I adjust the blue saturation down, and voila, blue is eliminated.

In camera, I will shoot to the right, or over expose by as much as a stop and a half. This ensures I get an over exposed image and the blues are not an issue when I get the image into post editing software.

Thanks for reading,

Northof49Photography

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Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.kevinpepperphotography.com