Snow Encounters

 
There isn’t really a particular time or day that I prefer shooting. It largely depends on my moods, visual sense, and opportunities that present itself as I walk around. Photograph/Kamal Rana

There isn’t really a particular time or day that I prefer shooting. It largely depends on my moods, visual sense, and opportunities that present itself as I walk around. Photograph/Kamal Rana

Kamal Rana takes you through a beautiful journey via the serene snow-laden landscapes of Northern India.

My Assignment

  • Description
    To photograph areas covered with snow wherever I find them.
  • Duration
    I have been photographing snowy landscapes since 2008.
  • Notes
    I don’t dwell too deep into what I want my photographs to look like. They need to engage me enough to want to make pictures of them.

Snow is one of the most difficult subjects to shoot, especially if you are not too well versed with how your camera settings work. However, this has never stopped most of us from relentlessly photographing it. One of the reasons could be the dreamy quality that snow possesses.

My Perspective
Like a lot of people, I have always been fascinated by the ability of snow to magically transform a luscious green piece of land into a place right out of The Chronicles of Narnia book. I was also quite lucky, in fact, to grow up in a town that saw plenty of snow, and I guess the enchantment began since then.

The Process
Every year, I always make it a point to go back home to Joshimath in Uttarakhand, during the winters, and spend time skiing and photographing the area around me.

On their own, snowy landscapes can be very magnificent to look at, but they can also get monotonous. I overcome this by looking for elements like trees, fences and people.

In the beginning, it was a little difficult. The challenge was in getting the right exposure. I experimented with my camera’s exposure compensation setting to achieve the right balance.

After shooting, I converted the images to black and white. Using Photoshop, I played with the levels and curves to get the desired tone and contrast.

The thing about such landscapes is that it is quite easy to be overwhelmed by large snow-covered stretches. I suppose this is why a lot of photographers also choose to make grand landscapes of mountains and valleys. I, on the other hand, make an attempt to see and photograph the smaller and insignificant subjects that lend an ethereal quality to these landscapes.

My Equipment: For this series, I used the Canon EOS 6D and 7D cameras along with three different lenses—the Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS USM, the Tamron SP 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD and the Tamron SP AF 70–200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF).

Tips on Using Your Gear in Cold Weather

  • Prolong Your Battery’s Life: To lengthen its usability, make sure that you turn off any unrequired features in your camera like the LCD screen and flash.
  • Beware of Condensation: Place your camera in a plastic ziplock bag so that no external moisture gets inside it. Drop a few silica sachets as well, to ensure that any residual moisture inside the camera gets absorbed.
  • Carry a Rain Cover: Snow and rainfall is inevitable in colder climates. So before you head out to shoot, ensure that you always carry a rain cover to protect your camera from the hazardous elements.

— As told to Conchita Fernandes
To view more images by Kamal, you can visit www.kamalrana.com

Tags: better photography, Cold Weather, Kamal Rana, Landscapes, North India, On Assignment, photoshop, winter