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Do you have any tips for shooting outdoors in the winter or in a cold climate?
Photography in the winter can pose special challenges beyond the cold. The first thing to take into account is the shooting environment. Cold can actually damage a camera, so it is a good idea not to keep a camera in the car overnight. Extreme cold can damage the LCD of the camera. Stylus SW and Tough cameras are rated to 14°F. When outdoors, keep the camera in an inside pocket when you are not shooting. Cold can reduce the efficiency of batteries, so warm the camera when possible and carry a spare battery in a pocket that has contains no metal objects. As the battery in the camera becomes cold you can exchange it with the warm battery in your pocket. Be sure to turn off the camera when changing batteries. If the camera has a Power Save or Sleep mode in the menu, use it to lessen battery consumption.
Operating the camera controls in the cold while wearing gloves can be difficult. Some of the Olympus Stylus Tough Series cameras have Tap Control that performs basic functions by tapping different sides of the camera. If you don't have a Tap Control camera and plan to do a lot of shooting in the cold, you might consider buying shooting gloves that have no fingertips. These can be found at sporting goods and outdoors stores. Snow can skew exposures so that they look dark and the snow looks gray. This is because the metering systems in cameras assume a world where the average of the brightness values work out to 18% gray. When the camera encounters all of the whiteness of snow it comes up with a metering solution that underexposes the image and makes the snow gray. The solution is to use the Beach and Snow Scene mode, which will compensate for the brightness of the snow. If your camera has Exposure Compensation, try setting the value to a positive value from +1 to +2. Remember to reset the Exposure Compensation when you aren't shooting snow scenes.
If you are shooting in snow, be aware that snowflakes may land on the lens and melt, so check the lens frequently. Carry a microfiber cloth to clean the lens and wipe down the camera often. If you have an underwater housing for your camera, it is also a weatherproof housing, so use it for outdoors winter photography. If it is snowing and you are outside at night, try not to use the flash. The flash will illuminate snowflakes near the camera and they will appear as huge white blobs of light.
If you plan to shoot holiday lights, don't shoot at night. You want a little skylight so that the roof lines of the house and the trees show up in silhouette. Start shooting about ten minutes after sunset with the flash set to Off and then shoot a few shots every five minutes until there is no sky detail. You might try a few shots with the flash set to the Fill-In setting, as well.
If you are going to shoot holiday store window displays, shoot at a slight angle to the glass so the flash doesn't reflect back to the camera.
Before you go back inside from the cold, put the camera in a coat pocket and leave it there for about fifteen minutes so the camera doesn't fog up with condensation.
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