EOS tutorial

Shooting winter’s arrival with your EOS DSLR

The time when winter begins to wrap its icy hands around the last of autumn’s falling leaves is a great chance to create beautiful photographs. November marks the start of seasonal celebrations and times when family and friends get together. So it’s wise to have your camera close by, ready to shoot nocturnal gatherings around bonfires or late afternoon walks in fading light.

• Capturing misty mornings
• Shooting rich autumnal colours
• Getting close-up details
• Making the most of fallen leaves
• Shooting fireworks
• Reflections
• Mix flash and ambient light
• Use exposure compensation

Capturing misty mornings

As autumn turns to winter, early mornings are great times to capture natural environments (and man-made ones) while they’re enveloped in a soft mist. And at this time of year, thanks to the later time of sunrise, capturing these ethereal sights doesn’t mean you have to get out of bed at 5am.

The latest EOS cameras include an Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) to enhance contrast, so when the low contrast scene is intentional, turn ALO off or to the low setting. Remember that mist is most likely to form near water or open ground, so try to visit nearby riverbanks or a local park to capture it in all its glory.

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Carsten Frenzl – Autumn Trees In Fog
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Shooting rich autumnal colours

At the turn of the season, leaves change colour almost every day so be ready to capture them. The very end of autumn gives rise to a vivid set of warm golds, reds and yellows.

Change your camera’s Picture Style to Landscape to maximise the saturation and impact of the colours. Photographing late autumn trees just after a rain shower will further enhance the late autumn hues. You could also choose a wider lens to get the fuller viewpoint and capture the almost bare winter trees or a barren landscape as winter fully takes hold.

Getting close-up details

Leaves falling from trees create two good photo opportunities; photos of individual leaves left on the tree and images of piles of fallen leaves. To shoot a single leaf left on the tree it is best to isolate the leaf against the sky. The colour contrast of a red or gold leaf against a bright blue sky is ideal and can look particularly striking. Zoom in tight to make the leaf look large in the frame. You could even try a macro lens to capture the veins of a leaf against the sky.

Tip: try saturating autumn colours by under-exposing your shot using a little exposure compensation; 1/3 or 2/3-stop is enough.

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Catherine – Frozen Fall
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Making the most of fallen leaves

Once autumn leaves have fallen they make a great prop for pictures of friends and family. One idea is to collect a big handful of dry leaves and take a vibrant photo of your subjects as they throw them in the air. Use a telephoto lens at a wide open aperture, and keep your ISO settings low; the Portrait mode on your EOS camera can do this automatically.

Tip: Experiment by closing the aperture to get slightly slower shutter speeds to add a little motion blur to the leaves falling. This can create a really stunning effect.

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Piotr Pawlowski – Sensitivity
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Shooting fireworks

Fireworks are often a feature of parties and celebrations in the colder darker months. Getting great shots of fireworks needs a bit of planning, but often make stunning photos.

What you’ll need: To capture the trails of fireworks you will need a long exposure, and you will need a tripod for your camera. A remote release cable is very handy too.

How to get good shots: Use Manual mode on your EOS with the shutter speed set to Bulb or the Bulb mode if the camera has it. Set the ISO to 100 and the aperture to f/8 to f/16. Frame your view of the scene so that the fireworks are kept within the frame, you will need a wide-angle lens.

Then set the lens to manual focus and focus the lens manually according to how far the fireworks are away from you, to ensure that near and far distant subjects are in focus. When the fireworks start it’s best to open the shutter just before the firework shoots up in to the sky and close the shutter when the firework has finished. Add an extra dimension to your firework shots by shooting them in context, with a crowd looking from below or in an urban sky.

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Bonfire Night
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Wet, shiny surfaces and puddles are often easy to find at this time of the year. In the evenings, or at night, these wet surfaces are a source of great reflections provided you are prepared to get down to the best view.

Live View combined with a Vari-angle screen makes it simple to catch great reflections. With the right viewpoint it’s not even necessary to find large puddles or wet surfaces. You can also combine a city or night-time scene with the reflection if you carefully position the camera. It helps to use Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) to get a good exposure (this simply means taking the same shot using several exposure settings to increase the odds that you come away with a perfectly exposed image).

Mix flash and ambient light

Lower light levels may make you want to seek out extra light for your images. Combining flash and the available ambient light will create natural looking results and is even simpler when available light is less powerful.

You can adjust the balance of the flash light and ambient light in your photos quite easily. The Exposure Compensation setting on the camera applies to the ambient light, and the separate Flash Exposure Compensation is for the light produced by your flash.

Reduce the ambient exposure compensation to darken the background and enrich the colours. Moving to off-camera flash – use the optical or radio wireless system with a Speedlite, moves the light to be side lighting or even backlighting. You can make your photos even warmer in tone by choosing the Shade or Cloudy White Balance setting on your EOS.

Exposure compensation

Cameras may sometimes underexpose misty or foggy scenes. You can make them feel lighter and more artistic with by increasing the exposure to make the tones in your picture lighter than they would normally appear. This gives a painterly look to your pictures, but pay particular attention to the camera histogram to make sure you haven’t overexposed the image too much.

Submit your shot to our Gallery

If you've felt inspired to capture autumn’s transition into winter, then upload your photos to our Gallery. It's where we showcase and share our favourite images sent in by the Canon community.