Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Photography in the Cold and Snow
First, make sure you are comfortable! If you are not comfortable you will not enjoy photographing. Remember photography is not a high exertion event, except when you are hiking in deep snow or just hiking to a location where you want to do the photography. So, a no-no, do not wear cotton. Cotton when it gets wet loses its heat retaining ability and also can take a long time to dry. Dress in layers, using wool, fleece or synthetic fabrics. These will keep you warm and also wick moisture away. Merino wool socks are the best and make sure your boots waterproof and the have a liner that can be removed and dried. Always wear a hat to prevent heat loss from your head. A good pair of gloves or mittens (mittens are probably better since if you put a hand warmer in it it will help keep the fingers warm) with a lighter pair of glove liners. A thermos with soup in it is better for you then coffee.
Now for your equipment, one of the biggest problems in cold weather is the battery. Batteries run down faster in the cold so always carry spare batteries and keep them in a shirt pocket or somewhere where they can stay warm. A cold battery when warmed up usually will gain back power so when you replace the battery put the old one into the pocket with a new battery was kept. Another trick is to take a hand warmer and using a rubber band hold it in place around the battery compartment.
If you are traveling by car, keep the temperature down, you do not want a hot car that when you put the camera back in it you will get condensation. Also when you return home, take your cards out of the camera in the car and if you are bring in the cameras right in place them in a plastic bag so that condensation will form on the bad and not in the camera. Just like in the rain, in snow utilize a rain cover on your camera and lens. If you do get snow on your camera do not blow it off with your breath because it'll cause the snow to melt, brush it off with a towel or a good piece of Chamois cloth. Have some micro fiber cloths to clean your lens. Also remember to not change your lens out in the cold or snow. Utilize the car or some other location where it is not snowing.
Exposure problems are common when shooting in the snow. Make sure to check your histogram often to make sure you're not spiking the whites. I leave my LCD on the blinking highlights page plus look at the histogram and use the Plus/Minus compensation button to correct the exposure.Remember your meter wants to make everything 18 gray
In the winter I am always carrying extra hand warmers in the car. I picked up a box of 24 packages on Amazon.com.
BTW the NY Port Authority is stopping the shooting of Snowy Owls and is looking at Norm Smith way of trapping them and removing the Owls. Thanks everyone who signed the petition.