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Berlin photo blues: Tips for photographers in winter months

This has been one of Berlin´s darkest winters. The local meteorological office counted only around 80 hours of sun, around half of what is normal. This is a challenge for photographers who, like me, want to go out to take photos. Whenever there is the slightest ray of sun, even if it is a blue patch in the sky, we are out there, shooting with as much light as we can.  What to do in times like these?

I had an assignment to shoot a view of “hidden Berlin”. It took me days to wait for a bit of sun and light to get the perfect picture.  In the end, ended up shooting a very warm shot with a lovely yellow sunset light. The only surprise: it was only 15.30 on a Sunday, much too early for a sunset.  I was lucky to catch that light: the sun would not shine until around 6 weeks later.

So here are a couple of tips if you are shooting out on a grey, cold and dark winter day:

  • use a lens that can capture as much light as possible: 1.4 or 1.8 would be great. I recently got a 50mm fixed length Nikon lens (1.8)  and did lots of fantastic shots with it.
  • make your tripod your best friend. Shooting in the cold can be tricky. A tripod can spare you having your hands out in the cold trying to get the perfect shot with very little light.
  • pack a disposable shower cap or any plastic bag. It can save your camera and lenses if it starts to rain.
  • even if it is grey, take advantage  of the golden hour. This is often described as the first and last hour of sunlight when the light can yield particularly interesting photographs. This is also the best time to shoot landscapes. The up side: great shots. The down side: you are to miss either breakfast or dinner. Here is how to find out what is the right time for your location: http://www.golden-hour.com

Even with dark days, Berlin offers many angles to explore with a camera. Some of these are included in the 2013 Winter Gallery. Enjoy!

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