Sunday, February 09, 2014

Winter, a Challenge to both Wildlife and Wildlife Photographers

A gobbler stands on one leg while resting and warming the other
Mid-winter; a time of freezing temperatures, snow and ice makes survival in the wild a daily challenge for wildlife.   Without the cover of leafy foliage to hide behind and with the ground covered by white snow, many species of wildlife are more easily spotted now than at any other time of the year.
Adult Wild Turkey
During this past week we experienced two winter storms, first a wet snow on Monday followed by a snow and ice storm Wednesday.  Following Wednesday's snow and rain the temps dropped, turning the heavy wet snow that blanketed the ground into ice.  Neither deer nor turkeys are able to break through the resulting crust and cannot reach the food below.
A yearling buck stands with his coat fluffed to ward off the cold morning chill.

During weather like this deer spend a considerable time each day browsing.
And nibbling at dried grasses that remain uncovered.
Winter also presents its own set of challenges for the photographer.  Aside from how to keep warm enough to spend time outdoors and what we must do to keep our photographic equipment functioning, snow presents a challenge of its own when it comes to properly exposing a photo.  As anyone who has spent any time on Facebook can attest, most of the snow photo posted are exposed much too dark.  With the exception of some snow-scene photos taken in bright sunlight, the camera's built-in light meter will under-expose any photo shot on auto.  
Manual exposure, exposing strictly for the subject, or exposure comp can be used to nail down a good photo.  Since I usually shoot in aperture preferred I use the exposure comp wheel and watch the histogram to assure that my exposure is within the proper range.  I used exposure compensation of +.3 to +1 stop to nail down the exposure for photos in this post.  


Ruth Hiebert said...

As i was reading this post,it came to me that the photographer can make adjustments to get the perfect picture and layer on more clothes,but those animals and birds don't have any choice but to try to exist in the cold and snow.I am sure they are waiting for spring even more that I am.

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful photos, Coy.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Great Pictures Coy!
We feed our roes on our hunting ground. We have this year a Winter with less snow and not Cold, now is the snow gone and + degrees.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful wildlife photos.

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Beautiful photos!