"During the winter months, use the low sun to your advantage to create a more interesting visual impact."
Richard Peters shares his top tips for shooting Winter Wildlife:
When shooting in snow, the camera’s metering will increase the shutter speed to account for the bright lighting. This will result in an underexposed image, with grey whites. Use exposure compensation and dial in around +1 stop to obtain a more natural exposure.
During the winter months, the sun remains low in the sky all day. Use this to your advantage by looking for side lighting or silhouettes by shooting towards the sun to create a more interesting visual impact, versus standard front-lit subjects.
Mammals tend to look especially photographic in winter such as red squirrels and urban foxes, which have vibrant thick winter coats and bushy tails. It’s also a good opportunity to look for subjects that are not resident to the UK, such as Waxwings or additional numbers of wintering birds, such as Short Eared Owls.
Natural food sources can be harder to come by in the winter. By supplementing this, you can help support local wildlife whilst also providing potential photo opportunities. If you put out water, remember to check it doesn’t freeze solid, and replace it if it does.
Camera batteries are very good at holding a charge but they will drain faster in cold weather. To help combat this, keep spare batteries close to your body by placing them in the inside pockets of your jacket.
Remember to keep yourself warm and dry. Whether it’s raining, snowing or just very cold, nothing will make you want to pack up and go home faster than being uncomfortable. If it’s particularly cold and you’re stationary for long periods, use chemical hand warmers to keep you cosy and shooting for longer.
Should you be lucky enough to find yourself in falling snow, you may find autofocus struggles to lock on to your subject. In this situation, use single point focus and either use manual focus override to assist the autofocus, or switch to fully manual in particularly heavy snow.
Inspired by the natural history documentaries he watched insatiably as a child, Richard Peters has always been drawn towards wildlife photography. His passion has been rewarded with numerous awards, including twice in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year plus being named the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2015.