Photographing Christmas Town on Christmas Eve

Photographing Christmas Town on Christmas Eve

Shooting winter snow is often difficult and this shoot didn’t disappoint.  The day was Christmas Eve and the time was 9pm. The snow started falling about 6pm which was the first time Prescott had snow on Christmas in many years. It really was a rare occasion so I had to attempt the shoot. I got in my car with some friends and family and headed downtown. A lot of other people had the same idea. Prescott ChristmasWhen we got down there there were a lot of people playing in the snow. It was a Prescott winter so it wasn’t terribly cold but it was snowing and it was snowing hard. I spent more time drying off my lens then I did taking photos. It was snowing so hard at times I had to wait between snow flurries to get my shots. As with most snow photos exposure is difficult. The problem is if you expose for the snow everything else goes into deep shadows and if you expose for the subjects you blow out the exposure for the snow. In the main photo here I decided to attempt HDR. This is where you take 3 photos. One is exposed for the brightest parts of the photo such as the snow and lights. The second is exposed for all the mid-tones and the third is exposed for the shadows. You then use HDR software to merge the three images together. I used Photomatix Pro for my shot.Prescott Courthouse Christmas I feel they are well priced and great quality. I don’t normally do HDR and this was probably my third photo in HDR but I wanted to try it. One it was process as an HDR image I wanted to get back some of the contrast and shadows so I dropped the black levels and increased the contrast in Lightroom. You can compare the difference between the above image done in HDR and the second image here shot as normal and in color. Another problem I often run into with shooting snow is the lack of color. The tree had color lights but that was about it. I didn’t feel it really added to the image any so I dropped the color in the HDR version of the image. In my opinion winter scenes often are great candidates for black and white photography due to the high contrast the scene naturally has.  Compare the black and white with their color counterparts to the right. The tree adds some interest but the color version of the courthouses really doesn’t add any interest. Its not a bad image but it doesn’t had much. As with all photos playing around with your composition can lead to unique views. Prescott Courthouse ChristmasPrescott Courthouse Christmas GazeboFor example I used a wide angel and shot from a very low angle to get this shot of the courthouse with the sidewalk curb to give the viewer a look they probable never saw when standing in front of the courthouse. Below are some more of my shots. I hope you enjoy.


Whiskey Row

Hassayampa Inn

Matt Halvorson

I am a photographer that covers all photography from portraits to landscape to real estate and even abstract photography.