Winter Shooting Pros:
- Amazing light quality on really cold days. Your sunrise and sunset shots will be, in my opinion, more crisp, vivid and sharp;
- No bugs!
- You get very interesting results in images with blowing snow on the really cold, sunny, windy days;
- I find you can get better pictures at all times of the day in winter, as opposed to really having to hit dawn and dusk only come the long days of summer, replete with washed-out humid skies and slower, less-dramatic transitions at dawn and dusk.
- Its winter, so it can be really cold. Cold is hard on you, and on your equipment;
- Did I mention the cold? Batteries fade more quickly in the cold, and your camera is more prone to electronic hissy fits when the mercury drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Things will stop working, shutter release cables go from supple and functional to rigid and malfunctioning, auto focus on lenses quits, and your camera will freeze up from the frozen condensation formed by your breath when its painfully cold;
- I have yet to find a pair of gloves that work to keep your hands warm and allow control of camera functions.
(1). Plan your outings on winter shoots. If I have to hike a distance to get to the scene (mountain tops, etc), I'll dress in layers of Under Armor, so that I stay reasonably warm and dry on the long, active excursions. I will also use my Cotton Carrier (http://buy.cottoncarrier.com/cotton-carrier-camera-vest-p/635rtl-s.htm) on the winter treks; listen, its hard walking in snow, and even with snow shoes you're likely to fall if you're hands are always balancing a heavy DSLR. Invest in a Cotton Carrier, and you can walk hands free with your DSLR on your chest. Cotton Carrier also sell excellent little lens bags, which are perfect for day trips where you'll be humping in the snow on your snowshoes; they hold a decent sized lens, plus a bunch of filters, car keys, whatever you need on a day trip.
(2). Boots that are warm enough do not exist, not when you stop for extended periods to try and capture shots of wildlife, or take timed exposures of northern lights or sunrise/sunset shots. If you stand long enough, even the warmest boots on the planet will leave you with cold feet. So I use those air-activated hand/foot warmers on the really cold days. Worth their weight in gold.
(3). If you're not going to be active, i.e. you have all your kit in your car, and you're stopping on quiet country roads to take timed exposures at dawn, dusk or at night, you're going to get cold standing around. I overdress, wearing my "hell-froze-over-and-I'm-warm" Canada Goose parka and hat. You can always unzip and let heat out if you overdress, but if the wind's up or the temps are below 0 Fahrenheit, you can't seem to get warm when standing around doing timed exposures. I suggest you overdress.
In conclusion, winter shooting poses a lot of challenges. Its difficult to get from here to there because you have to walk through snow; its cold, and you and your equipment really don't like to be out when it gets below 0F/-32C. Everything takes longer to do, lenses frost up, electronics pack in and stop working or misbehave, and have you tried setting up a lighting scenario in snow? That all said, I love shooting in the winter. I like the cold if I'm dressed for it, I love the air quality as it relates to photos, and I love the special feel of a photo taken at dawn or dusk on a blistering cold day. It just looks so beautiful. So get out and shoot the winter! Life is short, photos last.