Saturday, January 28, 2012

Snow Squall – D7000 and Tamron 28-75 2.8

I happened to have the D7000 with me recently when a snow squall hit rather suddenly while standing in a parking lot with the trunk opened. I took the D7000 out and shot a few images. I love the look of snow lining branches, and I like to try to capture the ambience of a snow squall.

Obviously, I shoot RAW, which means that I choose everything about the final image, and the contrast is the primary setting you need to render the snow squall as it really feels. The problem is that the image is washed out and there is no detail, so I am always tempted to add contrast and draw down the black point in order to pull out details. I did that for the first image I shot and I have to admit that, although the detail is superb, the image just looks wrong. It was much harder to see the building …

The next image is more accurate, because I was standing fairly close to the bushes and so there was less haze in the air from the heavy snow flakes.

Stepping back to frame the street as well shows better how the snow was fogging things up.

Since I was standing next to the front of the car, I simply turned around and caught the raised hatch with snow starting to pile up. heavy stuff still falling …

I love the clarity on this lens.

Sidebar: Why the 28-75 focal length? That’s not very friendly to APS-C sensors, since the EFL is actually 42-112.5mm. But in fact this is a superbly sharp lens, much like its sister lens for APS-C, the 17-50 … but not the variant with VC (vibration compensation.) This and the non-VC 17-50 are extremely sharp lenses and a pleasure to shoot. I do plan to replace this lens (or augment it) with the 17-50, which would become my walk around lens of choice.

Here’s a straight on view of the Home Depot, which forms an “L” with the Shopper’s Drug Mart, sharing a parking lot.

Turning to the right, I now face approximately west (ish) towards the town houses that adjoin this lot.

Turning 180 degrees again to face the drug mart, I capture a much better image. Or at least I produce a better image by allowing the contrast to back off a bit so that the snow dominates as it does when you are in it …

So when you process snow images, remember to recreate the fog effect of snow by backing the contrast off a bit from your normal amount.