The Day After
After weeks of basking in beautiful fall conditions thanks to a high pressure system parked over-top of southern Alberta, it was a given that it wouldn't stay that way for ever.
Well low and behold, about a week ago this system begin to decay, and as this high-pressure ridge slumped southward towards southern Alberta along with a system moving up from the southwestern Pacific, this system was pushing moisture off of the Pacific that turned to snow as it made its way across southern Alberta.
When it was all said and done, the result was varying amounts of snow dumped on the landscape, with anywhere from 10 to 40cm of snow on the ground depending on the location.
Less that 24 hours later, I was out of the house and headed out to the grasslands to go and play in all that freshly dumped snow.
Of course I also planned on taking advantage of the fact that fresh snow meant easy tracking when it came to stalking covey's of Grey Partridge who bury themselves in the snow to remove themselves from the harsh conditions above the snow.
Its heart stopping action when you walk in on their location, and the covey explodes from the snow as they depart for a new location.
With the morning over too quickly, and time to head home, as I drove I was already planning my next outing that allows me to get out and explore the snow covered grasslands of southeastern Alberta.
TECHNICAL NOTES.....Snow may be the ultimate light source when it comes to outdoor portrait photography, and it is no accident that I placed myself beside this snow-covered boulder when I set up to shoot this photograph.
With the sun 90 degrees to my left, and the potential for deep shadows on the right side of my body hiding detail, I positioned myself to allow the snow covering the boulder to act as a fill-light illuminating these shadowy areas.
If your not familiar with the challenges of shooting photographs in a snow covered landscape, be aware that if you leave it up to the light meter in your camera, your photographs will be grossly underexposed.
I shot this photograph with my camera set in manual mode, and set the exposure 1 1/2 stops over to make sure the snow remained white and not some muddy rendition of white.
Of course this creates a new problem; "Blown Highlights." Most cameras today are capable of telling you when the highlights will be blown out, and with the "Warning Blinky's" flashing upon shooting the photograph, you can take the steps required to retain the detail in those areas of the image indicated by the flashing blinky's.
Another method is the one I use with my cameras, having the histogram always visible on the LCD, as this will allow you to review and check on what area of the image has the potential for blown highlights (over or under exposed), allowing you to make the necessary adjustments.
Sure you can upload your jpeg files to your computer and with editing software you can fix most anything for viewing on the worldwide net, however with just a few basic edits made, the original 5 meg jpeg (average sized file) now becomes a 10 meg+ jpeg loaded with artifacts ruining the photograph for print publications (Editors will reject it).
Shooting in raw helps to alleviate the problem of challenging images requiring editing, as the raw file can then be edited on the computer, with a jpeg generated preserving the original raw file.
Although my pocket camera shoots raw files, and I normally shoot in raw, this photograph was shot as a jpeg and uploaded as seen here without any edits being made to the photograph.
So the bottom line is.....either shoot in raw, or get it right from the get-go if you are shooting jpegs!
How my pocket camera was set up to shoot this image......
Expand the photo for a closer look.....