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The unusual brightness of snowscapes can pose photographic problems. Under bright skies, the intensity of the light produces meter readings that are too high, leading to underexposure of subjects seen against the snow. This is similar to shooting backlit scenes. The meter cannot avoid overrating the importance of the super bright background, thereby underexposing the foreground (subject). In many instances this meant that you needed to manually adjust the exposure of your camera.

left: This image is typical of how many snow scenes have incorrect exposure; right: This image has the correct exposure

Fortunately, Digital IXUS and PowerShot models allow you to do so easily. Many of these cameras even offer two ways to achieve better results in the snow.  The first of these is to switch to spot metering (see your manual under "switching between the light metering modes"). This means that the light meter will only consider a very small area at the centre of the image (marked in the view finder), which you can aim at your subject (e.g. face). Press the shutter release half way, and then compose your shot. The exposure setting will not change (and nor will the focus, for that matter) as long as you keep the button half pressed.

The second, and perhaps easier method, for obtaining correct exposure in the snow is to utilise the ‘snow’ special scene mode. In this instance, simply select the ‘snow’ preset and take your photograph. The snow setting is optimised so that subjects are not underexposed, and the blueish tone that can often appear in snow photographs is eliminated.

Don’t forget – snow is wet! One of the best ways to protect your camera and keep it away from moisture is to use a Canon weatherproof case. There is a weatherproof case for almost all the PowerShot and Digital IXUS models.