If the weather forecasts are true then we are due for some typical wintery weather in the coming months with  frosty mornings and possibly snow.  If you like to stay inside and keep warm then this is the ideal time to sit down and find out all about your new gadgets and start learning how to get the most from them.  Your new cameras or PC will come with a basic quick start guide and a more in-depth user guide on the CD-ROM in the box. If you find this more confusing than helpful you won’t be alone in thinking that user guides always seem to be written in a foreign language made up of jargon!    

The internet can offer a wealth of information on how to get the most out of your newest bit of technology from how to guides, newsletters, forums and members clubs to video tutorials. A good place to start is the manufacturer’s home page, check out the paperwork that came with your new camera or laptop for this. If you have a particular question then just try typing it into the Google search box and you will be presented with a range of options offering you help and advice. 

The danger is you can end up more confused than when you started. A better option can be to get help, advice
and hands on training by joining a small friendly locally based class to discover just what you can achieve in plain English with step by step guidance and notes.  
Dusk in winter on the River Yealm
If you enjoy wrapping up and getting out and about on wintery days then the coming months can offer some great photo opportunities and the chance to capture winter landscapes and don’t forget colourful night cityscapes. Remember to dress for the cold, a warm hat, fingerless gloves and suitable footwear so you can enjoy taking photos without feeling the cold.  

The best light is at the start and the end of the day when it is softer and more atmospheric. A wide angle lens, standard on compact cameras, is best for landscape photography and a tripod or monopod will ensure you images are shake free and sharp. Use a polarising filter if you can to improve contrast, add impact to sky and reduce  reflection and glare.  

Early morning frost on spruce fronds
Exposure compensation is often required when shooting bright snowy or frosty scenes so if your camera has scene modes, select the snow one for automatic compensation.   Alternatively shoot in P or AV mode and choose a narrow aperture, a high number f16 to f22, it’s important to focus correctly so the whole scene remains  in focus. Then set +⅓ to +1 stop of exposure compensation to brighten the image, but be careful not to lose detail by increasing exposure too much.  Remember to try different angles and views and don’t forget to add some  close-up shots for something special. 

Before we know it snowdrops will soon be out and the primroses are already starting to bloom.  For hands on tuition why not book a 1 to 1 session for just £40 or join one of the new year photo shoot days out.