Outdoor Indiana Magazine - November/December 2008


Golf carts and ATVs, snow photography

I’ve  seen  golf carts and ATVs used for short trips to the store, etc. Is this legal? If so, how can I make sure I’m following the applicable laws if I drive my ATV on public roads?

Operation of ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) on public highways (roads) is prohibited, with exceptions. A county highway department may, within its jurisdiction, permit the operation of ATVs and snowmobiles on a county road system outside the corporate limits of a city or town if it designates the highway for that purpose.

Several counties have done so. In order for an ATV or snowmobile to be operated on such roads, the vehicle must have and display valid registration, have working headlight(s) and tail light(s), and working brakes. The operator must possess a valid driver’s license for a motor vehicle.

For a map indicating pertinent counties and additional information on ATV operation, see our web links.

Golf carts are prohibited on public streets or highways. They are not motor vehicles for the purpose of registration by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and they are not ATVs for the purpose of registration by the DNR.

My photos of snow scenes come out poorly. What should I do?

winter photographyThe problem is exposure metering. A camera’s light meter measures reflected light, and usually recommends an exposure for an average scene, sometimes called “middle gray.” As a result, reflected light meters are not good tools for determining film (or sensor) light exposure settings for photos that are supposed to be very light or very dark.

Therefore, most snow scenes shot on a camera’s automatic or recommended exposure setting will be underexposed and appear too dark. For the opposite reason, many recommended or automatic-exposure shots of sunset silhouettes will be overexposed as the camera tries to make the foreground middle gray.

Exposure compensation for snow scenes on older cameras was easy: Open the aperture one f-stop or lengthen the shutter speed to “overexpose” the scene. Or, take a meter reading off an object of average tone, like the back of your hand or a tree trunk. Make sure the light is striking that object as it does your intended subject.

On newer digital cameras, take test photos and check them on the LCD monitor, then compensate using the EV (exposure value) control. Some point-and-shoot cameras also have a snow scene button or back-light control button that can help.     

To submit a question, write Outdoor Indiana, Ask an Expert, 402 W. Washington St., Room W255B, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or e-mail OI@dnr.IN.gov.