Shoot Photos Like a Pro: Landscapes – Water & Snow

Water and snow shots can be a lighting nightmare--but not with these tips.

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Want your waterfall or stream photos to look silky and fluid, like the shot at right? Use a tripod and set your shutter speed between ½ second and 2 seconds. This will capture a blurred-water effect. Shoot on cloudy days or at dusk for best results; on sunny days, add a polarizer.


Challenge: Convince your camera not to turn the white to gray. Fix: Overexpose the shot, taking several photos between +1 and +2 to dial in the right exposure, or use the snow mode on a point-and-shoot. Don’t worry about balancing exposure for your snowshoeing pal: “Snow acts as a reflector, so the subject ends up a little lighter, too,” says Tyler Stableford.

PRO TIP: USE A Polarizing Filter

Digital photo-editing programs have made most lens filters obsolete—except the polarizer. This screw-on filter eliminates reflections and deepens colors. “It makes the green of the stems or the yellow of the leaves really glow and pop,” says Jon Cornforth. Attach one to the front of your lens, place yourself at a right angle to the sun (not in front of or behind it, or the polarizer won’t work), and rotate the glass element until glare, reflections, and haze diminish.

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