Capture All that winter weather has to offer.
By Jon Cox
Just because youâve packed away all your summer clothes
doesnât mean your camera should be packet away too. Winter scenes
are wonderful photo opportunities if you are willing to brave the
cold. In addition to the cold there are also some other challenges
to shooting in snowy situations. You need to take special care of
your batteries, lenses, camera and even your tripod.
problem of shooting in snow is that your lens becomes fogged when
you bring your camera from a warm and cozy room outside into the
cold. To avoid this fogging problem keep your camera equipment in
its case and store it in your garage or a back porch about an hour
before you are ready to shoot. This will allow your camera and lens
to cool down slowly and reduce the possibility of fogging on your
lens. If youâre driving in the snow, try and keep the heat to a
minimum so your gear wonât get too warm.
double the batteries you think you will need when shooting in the
snow, because cold weather drastically reduces the life of your
batteries. Instead of cooling down your batteries like you do with
your camera and lens, you should keep your batteries warm to ensure
that they operate. The best way to keep your batteries warm is to
keep them in an inside pocket and allow your body heat to do all
the work. When you are ready to shoot put the batteries back in
the camera and place them back in your pocket when finished.
speaking a tripod operates fine in the cold. The problem arises
when you use a metal tripod. Even with gloves or mittens a metal
tripod will suck the heat right out of your hands. A simple solution
is to use foam pipe insulators to duck tape around the legs of your
tripod. Pipe insulators are found at most hardware stores and can
be a real lifesaver on your hands. Another solution is to use a
carbon fiber tripod, which wonât take nearly as much heat away from
need to protect your camera and lens from falling snow. The cheapest
way is to put a clear plastic bag over your gear with a hole cut
out for your lens. The see-through bag enables you to continue using
all the functions of your digital camera. Rubber bands are great
for closing the ends of the plastic bag - you can also use tape
but be careful not to get it stuck on your camera. You can also
buy digital camera raincoats from kata-bags.com and tenbagear.com.
final thing to remember is that you must be able to use your hands.
Taking your gloves on and off can become a problem and I havenât
found a pair of gloves with which I can actually shoot. I can shoot
with glove liners and thatâs fine if itâs not too cold. However,
when itâs really cold I like to use a pair of convertible mittens
overtop of the glove liners. The key to a great mitten is that the
thumb and the finger tops can open up with a Velcro opening. This
gives me access to my fingers and thumb without having to remove
Wrapping a plastic bag around my camera and lens enabled me to keep
shooting in the middle of a snowstorm. Remember if you decide to
drive in the snow fill up your gas tank, bring a snow shovel, food
and water and it doesnât hurt to throw in a sleeping bag ö you never
know where your journey may take you.
You could say I cheated or you could I was clever. I shot this while
enjoying a cup of hot chocolate at my kitchen table. I feed the
birds all winter and in the snow they come right up to the house.
I opened the window just enough to get my lens through. I then packed
a few towels around the edges to keep the cold out. With this winter
set up you can photograph all day and stay in your pajamas!
When a high-pressure cold front follows a snowstorm the temperatures
can really drop. I woke up early before the wind started howling
so I could catch snow encased subjects. Using an aluminum tripod
with foam pipe insulators wrapped around the legs, I kept my hands
warm throughout the frigid morning.
There was no chance of my lens fogging in this situation because
my equipment was the same temperature as the outside temperature.
I had hiked for about five hours to reach this clearing in hopes
of seeing Mt. Rainier. For about ten minutes the Mountain did show
its face through the passing clouds. I followed my own advice and
kept my batteries in my inside jacket pocket and when I was ready
to use them they were full of juice.
Jon Cox is the Author of the AMPHOTO book ăDigital Nature Photographyä
and a regular contributor to Digital Camera Magazine.