A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Featured Equipment Deals

A Brief History of Photography - Part II (Video Tutorial) Read More

A Brief History of Photography - Part II (Video Tutorial)

This video explores the second half of photography's history and development from the technological advances in the late 1800s through the beginnings of digital photography at the end of the 20th...

Latest Equipment Articles

Sony a6300-First Impressions Read More

Sony a6300-First Impressions

When Sony's invitation to spend a couple of days shooting with the new a6300 in Miami arrived via email, I didn't have to think twice before sending my RSVP. Announced in February and shipping this...

Shooting in the snow

Christin Buehrer , Jan 29, 2009; 06:24 p.m.

Hello all,

I was wondering if you all you lovely people could help me with a few things,

1. I’m going to be taking a trip to Canada soon and I would like to take some snow pictures with a Holga Camera and was wondering if there were any tricks that I should know about exposures

2. I just shot a roll of Kodak T-max 400 speed film in the snow, and bracketed at +1 and all my negatives turned out really dark, you could still see the image it was just really dark (bad exposure most likely) I didn't know if anyone could tell me what I did wrong and also any tips on printing with my dark negatives

Thank you everyone!


Lex Jenkins , Jan 29, 2009; 06:36 p.m.

Regarding your first question...

Snow scenes in daylight are typically around EV 14-16. Since the Holga is limited in exposure settings to a shutter speed of 1/125 second and f/8 or f/11 (going by manufacturer specs, I don't own a Holga), you'll need to choose a film to suit the conditions. The Holga is modeled after the simple camera designs of decades ago when film speeds were typically much slower.

An ISO 400 film is too fast for those conditions - bright daylight reflected from snow with a camera having limited exposure options. Your photos will be overexposed. The negatives will appear "too dark."

For those conditions with a Holga choose an ISO 100 or slower film. Kodak T-Max 100, Ilford FP4+ or Pan F+ (ISO 50). I'd choose Ilford FP4+ for its flexibility. While nominally an ISO 125 film, it delivers good results from ISO 50-250 with careful processing.

Robert Cossar , Jan 29, 2009; 08:26 p.m.

While I agree with Lex, I must add that my Lomo Fisheye2 functions best with 800 film.....certainly it overexposes snow, but the results are printable. I have no information on the actual lens/shutter values though......Enjoy...Bob

Evan Goulet , Jan 30, 2009; 09:41 a.m.

Christin, when I have had my Holga out in the snow, I have typically followed these guides for devlopment:
Daylight - Process for ISO 50 - typically I am pulling ISO 100 speed film 1-stop.
Overcast - Process for ISO 250 - 400 - typically using an ISO 400 film.
I guess I don't understand your "bracketed at +1" comment, as the Holga (without ND filters) doesn't really give you the ability to bracket. The aperture is actually the same on both settings.

Christin Buehrer , Jan 30, 2009; 10:07 a.m.

I should have been more specific I didn’t shoot my last roll (the one I bracketed +1 with) on a holga, it was just with a 35mm

Thanks for all the tips, there going to be really helpful

Lex Jenkins , Jan 30, 2009; 05:07 p.m.

If you develop your own film, or can provide instructions to the lab, try to avoid over-development. Snow scenes in daylight will be very contrasty. With b&w film this typically calls for slightly less development, anywhere from 10%-25% less than nominal depending on film, developer and technique.

John Romano , Jan 31, 2009; 12:49 p.m.

Try a light or medium yellow filter over the lens.

Mark Balcom-Wolf , Feb 02, 2009; 12:09 p.m.

I shot a test roll when I got my Holga to see how fast or slow mine was as I heard they can vary from camera to camera. I use 100 ASA film in bright sunlight (or 400 ASA with an orange filter in front of the lens) and 400 for bright overcast. I develop in hc 110 at 68 degrees F, but add one minute to my normal development time as negatives can be a little flat otherwise. So normal or slightly less development might be the way to go for (contrasty) snow scenes. Also, shadows in snow are filled with blue skylight; orange or red filters may provide more texture and detail in snow covered surfaces.

Back to top

Notify me of Responses