Snowy Mountains Road Trip With Kids!
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Recently I took a road trip to the Snowy Mountains to get some winter content for a photography project. Violet, my 12yr old daughter, has shown some interest in photography so I asked her if she would like to join me for some fun in the snow and be my assistant for the day. And to keep me company for the big day of driving...... the goal was to get some winter images, while Violet had some fun on my old Canon.
24-70 @48mm ISO160 1/320s F7.1
Here are some helpful survival tips while photographing with kids in the snow.:
1) Book the accommodation ahead. If reception know you are driving a long distance they may just let you check in early. In our case they were very accommodating with this. We started our drive at 4am so it was lovely to check-in and be able to freshen up before heading out to shoot.
2) Pack cold weather proof clothes, I packed ski clothes and snow boots which helped as we planned on going up to the Summit of Mount Kosciusko using the walking trail but due to poor weather the trail leading up to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko was closed. We were able to get the express chair up to Eagles Nest and get some lovely snowy images. And thankfully I packed the snow gear because the weather was vastly different to the weather in the Thredbo car park.
Weather appropriate clothes allowed us to move around comfortably and stay as long as we liked.
3) Check the forecast. Nobody wants to shoot in the rain. My camera gear is weather resistant not weather proof. So be careful to make sure you dry the lens each time you jump back into the car, I set up a cleaning station on the back seat of my car so each time we got back into the car we could dry off our camera and lens. Even our breath left condensation on the back of the camera whilst shooting, so very important to dry it off as often as possible. We also had a few moments where it was sleety, trying to snow and it didn't take long for the cameras to get wet. I took my back pack and a wet weather cover so when it was too wet we placed our cameras into the backpack until the weather cleared enough to take our cameras out again. Handy tip..... place your camera into a large zip lock bag if you have a moment of wet weather to quickly cover your camera body until you can safely pack it into your backpack.
4) Snacks. Stop off at the local grocery store and stock up on all snacks food that are preteen approved. Include bananas and berries which are a good healthy option to snack on. In the cold weather you are burning more calories so you can afford to have a treat . An extra handful of M&M's won't hurt either.....I always pack a Mars Bar in my ski jacket ...back in the old ski days it was handy to have one in your pocket in case you needed a quick hit of sugar on the mountain. So, I implemented that strategy for shooting in the snow too (who doesn't love a cold mars bar in the snow, it would be like having a camp fire without the marshmallows) so make sure you have a high energy chocolate bar in one of your pockets for emergency use. And water in the car, its important to stay hydrated during the day. And always apply sunscreen in the snow. Even overcast snowy days will have those nasty UV rays bouncing off the snow and hitting your face.
5) Local Spots. Ask the receptionist for the best local spots in the area for good photography vantage points. The receptionist is almost always a local to the area and in our case she was very helpful with local spots we would have driven past and missed if not for asking. Ask for a local map they are usually free and get them to mark it on map for you.
6) Spare Socks. Make sure you pack spare socks.Our feet got wet both days as we moved through the slushy ground.
Take your time at each stop to enjoy the scenery, the Snowy Mountains are just so beautiful I found myself really loving each place we stopped,.The view vastly differenters even 5 minutes drive apart. I hate to bring it to your attention but toilets were sparse so if you see a loo take advantage when you can.
7) Pack a spare camera. I packed my beloved old Canon camera and lens for violet to use and made sure I had the large strap on it so she could wear it as a holster. This allowed her to manoeuvre around rocks and along the river bank without the worry of dropping the camera. Take a spare battery and memory cards. I did spend some time with the live view window open whilst sharing images with Violet and this drained the batteries and you will shoot way more than you planned to.
Take advantage of the low light and get some cool winter portraits of each other, have fun with it, its way cooler than a phone selfie.
If you are anything like me, I truly hate getting my photo taken so this was a fun project we both enjoyed, taking photos of each other and they turned out great. A quick lesson on how to focus the camera and then how to review the pictures for Violet and she quickly became independent with her photography, happily snapping away. She was a natural when composing the shots too....... (I set Violets camera to AV mode which allowed her to take images with out worrying about the settings and it was nice to know I had a second camera should something happen to my Nikon.
The picture above is a photo I took of Violet who was taking a photo of me. I Ioved the result of both images. I love Violet's images of me so much I have used it as my bio picture on this website. I wanted to show Violet the wealth of an image and having it as my profile picture gave her a real sense of achievement. Violet loved seeing the instant results on the back of the camera as we played with the ISO on my camera. I was shooting Manual as the weather was changing constantly it played havoc with the white balance & lighting. I moved the white balance to fluro/flash but didn't actually use a flash for best results in the snow. It was a challenge at times but we just had fun with it.
8) Call it a day early Leave earlier when shooting with kids. You want them to leave having had a fun day. I tend to keep shooting beyond what I need too, " I just need one more shot" comes to mind often but when you are travelling and sharing knowledge its way more important with kids to call it early enough while they are still having fun so the memories that they have made are joyous and lets face it we know we have already taken a billion and one images and a quick checking periodically throughout the day via the view finder tells you, you most likely got the shot.
9) Head back to the hotel. Gab a hot shower while loading your images ....I packed a laptop because I can't bear to wait to view my images. Always try and bring a portable hard drive to save your images onto. I love seeing what we captured and it was nice to have a look together at what we got. Violet mirrored me with most shots and I have to say she nailed them all on the AV setting which is P for Nikon users. She was so proud of herself that she was able to get similar and in some cases better shots than me. Confidence is Key.
10) Most important. Order room service. Make it fun. We packed noodles to keep the cost down but some hot chips and ice cream and a movie is always a good idea. Enjoy the time you have together I let my daughter pick the movie and dessert, we sat and ate ice cream while watching a movie , reviewing our images from the day. We really had a magical day and just so much fun shooting, learning a little, teaching a little, getting some Snowy Mountain fresh air, eating snow (but not the yellow snow) and most importantly, making those little moments matter. Making Memories, instilling confidence and sharing our love of photography together.... I can't help but be overjoyed, our little road trip to get content has already made it to the top of my "Best Memories list" with Violet. I got some beautiful Images for my assignment but most importantly, we made ever-lasting memories!
We took advantage of the low light to take a few portrait images. With this image I did a harsh edit to show the stark earthy elements. ,With Violets perfect skin and darling freckles, she could pull it off. I adore the natural Hues of Violet's Ski hood and the texture of her handmade Beanie against the landscape. As a Photographer and Stylist i wanted to have Violet dressed in natural hues. I'm not sure this image would have had the same feeling and connection to the earth if she was wearing a hot pink hood. So take a moment to consider the clothing when photographing.
70-200@80mm ISO 50 1/80s F9
Don't be scared to get adventurous.Get out into nature and get those beautiful earthy pictures.It's also ok to take a break from the elements. I took this image from inside my car watching the grin on Violet's face as she peered out the window. It was priceless. The weather changes very quickly on the mountain, so being prepared is really important. It was also nice to sit and admire the view from our warm car.
24-70@48mm ISO 80 1/320s F4
The Flora and Fauna was like walking in the hills of Bonny Scotland ..... Beautiful yet hardy to survive winter.
After a light sleet shower, we were gifted with this beautiful rainbow. It only lasted a few moments as Mother nature got back to her job of making her Autumn snow, Again, it's so important to be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions. Always take an all weather jacket. it can be hot and summerly one minute and cold and blustery the next.
Bonding and sharing our passion with our kids whilst on location, teaches them about the story behind an image.It also introduces them to what it takes to complete a shoot from concept all the way through to the final Edit. It really does make for ever lasting memories. Their is something very special about taking time to share your passion with your children.