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Complete Guide to Winter Photography

Here, Arctic Terns fly in front of icebergs in Iceland's Jokulsarlon Lagoon.

Winter is an amazing season for photography, especially nature photography. Conditions may be harsh, but your photos will reflect that – they’ll stand out and convey different emotions than normal. Of course, winter photography also brings with it a number of challenges. This guide covers everything you need to know.

For starters, I hope it goes without saying, but there are some safety-related challenges during winter that matter more than normal. Icy roads are dangerously slippery, and “moderate” hikes can turn into exhausting slogs before you know it. A photo is never worth that sort of danger, so keep your wits and don’t do anything stupid for a handful of pixels.

Beyond that, I’ll mention that my definition of “winter” for this article is a bit flexible. Meteorologically, it’s just the three coldest months – December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. Astronomically, it doesn’t start until the winter solstice, around December 21st. But in reality, the “winter experience” can stretch much longer depending on where you live, and the tips below still apply (aside from some of the dark sky related tips). So, let’s dive in.

Camera Equipment Challenges

It’s not easy to use a camera in the cold, and it gets even trickier the more that temperatures drop.