Hello. We're going on a trip to Alaska in late July and want to make sure I understand how to take photos in those conditions. Visiting Kenai Penninsula, Prince William Sound, driving Glenn and Richardson Highways, seeing Wrangell-Elias National Park, Hatcher Pass and Valdez. We'll be kayaking, glacier hiking, fishing, hiking and flightseeing. Likely taking photos on many cloudy, rainy days, of glaciers, snow, sometimes glaciers or mountains against water. I have a Panasonic FZ35 and also a Panasonic ZS3. I use both cameras on the program modes which means I have some control but generally do not use the manual controls, though I play with them from time to time. Here are my questions:
1) In photographing snowy scenes, such as a hike on a glacier, my understanding is that I should overexpose the snow, which I can do using exposure compensation. So I go up to +2/3 or +1, correct? This will keep the snow white and prevent a general gray look? What if there is a person in the shot? Do I still overexpose?
2) How about just using the snow scene mode? Does this do the overexposure for me or do I still need to overexpose even using the snow mode, and if so, by the same amount? What does the snow scene mode do to the photo, what is it changing?
3) Is a circular polarizing filter useful for snow scenes? Does it make a difference if it's sunny or cloudy? What about gray or rainy days in general, use the filter or no? Ditto for using a lens hood?
Thanks very much for your answers. I'm really looking forward to this trip and want to take the best photos I can.