A recent trip to the So. Rim, Grand Canyon during a snow storm created some challenging photographic conditions so I thought I would share as it might be helpful to less experienced shooters as I once was. It was cold, snowing and wind driven conditions, making it less than ideal to create some good stock photography.
Nevertheless I was there so I was going to make the most of a 2-day stay. Knowing that the train pulls in at about 11:30AM and where I wanted to capture the shot I calculated the time needed to get there considering the conditions on the ground. The snow was deep, the trail was mostly deep powder and the wind was blowing it into my position. I found a utility pole near the spot I needed to be at and it had a small utility box mounted to it. I set myself up so that I was holding my camera directly underneath the box so I could somewhat miimize the snow dropping down onto it.
I was shooting in manual focus and pre focusd where I wanted to shoot at just in case auto focus decided to mis behave due to all the snow blowing into us. I was shooting with a 70-300mm 5.6 lens (not a fast lens) so I set the ISO at about 800 so I could shoot a faster shutter speed to minimize the lens exposure to the snow that was blowing into it. I kept my hand over the lens hood with just a sliver of a view so when the train came into position I could remove my hand and fire off 3 to 4 quick shots and cover it again.
These are the type of situations that all photographers come across in the field where you must adapt, overcome and improvise. Tough weather conditions can produce some spectacular images.
Photo credits: Lester Sarmiento.
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