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Most of us know that bright overcast is ideal for shooting... but we don't get those conditions as often as we'd like. So here are a few quick tips to improve your chances of getting better shots in real-world weather.
When you're shooting at the beach (with light reflecting off sand and water) or in winter (with light reflecting off snow and ice), your camera's light meter will often be fooled. Most digital camera's light meters will set the exposure as if the sand, snow or other bright surface is a medium gray tone... and your pictures will be overexposed.
You may have a couple of options here. Many cameras offer "exposure compensation." This feature lets you set the camera to expose for up to two or three stops less or more light than the meter reads. Using exposure compensation, you can tone down those bright situations for a more accurate photo.
The second option may be found in your digital camera's "scene modes." Many digital point-and-shoot cameras offer a snow scene mode, beach scene mode or similar setting that compensates for the excessive brightness of these situations.
Another common weather-related challenge is shooting in a snowstorm. Here, you need to be aware that using flash will cause all the nearby snowflakes to reflect light back into your camera's lens. Depending on how heavily the snow is falling, you could end up with shots that look like thousands of fireflies were buzzing your lens... and little else in your image.
And speaking of snow... don't forget that most batteries perform poorly in cold weather. To keep your batteries working longer, you keep your digtal camera tucked inside your coat. Your body's warmth can extend battery life on a chilly day.
Finally, beware of humidity. On very humid days, taking your camera in and out of air conditioning may result in internal condensation. It's bad enough when your lens fogs up. But when moisture condenses inside the camera, you may have to wait many hours for the situation to resolve.
Keep these tips in mind, and you'll get better results from your digital camera... no matter what the weather.