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cold weather shooting help

Discussion in 'Wanderlust and Travel' started by socrdude, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. socrdude


    Jun 5, 2009
    some buddies and I are heading up to Yellow Knife to shoot the Aurora in March.
    the temps will be very cold.
    any tips on camera Usage, fogging, gear in and out of vehicle (Fogging up, icing) Batteries etc.
    Seems the temps can easily be below -0-

    any tips are very much welcome.
  2. Make sure your batteries are fully charged they will deplete quickly in cold weather. I always keep a spare or two in a warm inside pocket on my clothing. Dress in layers, bamboo clothing eg socks will draw moisture away from your body better than cotton. Don't change lens outdoors! When coming inside into a warmed area from outside in subzero temps you will get condensation - give the gear time to rest and I found it helpful to encase my camera and lens in a large ziplock bag before bringing into the house. I have been outdoors often
    shooting photos -20- 30 centigrade. Be aware of the effects of windchill on your body especially on exposed areas -so check local forecast. I wear mini gloves inside of warmer gloves so when I want to take a photo the outer pair come off while I'm shooting. Hope this helps.
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  3. socrdude


    Jun 5, 2009
    great advise.. thanks...
  4. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    In February we went to Iceland. I worried that I'd freeze! LOL!

    Wear layers, including a waterproof external layer. A coat with a hood seals off the neck area. NO cotton. And remember that when sitting in a vehicle for a while, going in to eat, etc....you could get uncomfortably warm if you can't peel a layer or so.

    I found Vallarret, a Norwegian company that makes photo gloves specifically for cold weather. I bought hubby and I each a pair. Loved them. The fold back thumb and finger feature is great. One can wear a liner inside if necessary.

    Put your camera gear in a plastic bag before returning it to a warmer environment to prevent condensation/moisture in the gear. Keep spare batteries inside your coat so they can stay warm near your body. Don't exhale onto the back of the camera (I wasn't very good at that one!) to prevent fog/ice on prism/LCD. Wrap tripod legs. I've been very happy with LensCoat products.

    If it is extremely cold use hand and foot warmers. I put them in my pockets. The HotHands brands seemed to have the best/longest ratings by users.

  5. Cotton kills....

    No alcohol in the cold.

    All good advice.

    You can also try heated gloves/vest. Near infrared types of particularly good I'm told.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  6. If you are only shooting landscape lenses it is fairly easy to protect your gear. Simplest solution is a dry sack like used for rafting/kayaking. I can easily fit a full frame body w/70-200 lens attached into a 10L(liter) dry bag. They can be had for $15 on Amazon. If you're going to be getting in/out of a car several times then the camera should go in/out of the bag outside in the cold. Trap as little air as possible in the bag before closing it. The bag should be closed/sealed when it is empty too, even if you will be leaving it in the car. When you're done for the day take the cards and battery out of the camera and put them in a pocket before putting the camera in the bag. Then leave the camera in the sealed bag for several hours at room temperature before opening the bag. By having removed the battery and cards you can recharge and download without having to take the camera out.

    My hands are particularly sensitive to cold and even at modestly cold temperatures(i.e. positive teens/twenties F) they become useless after just a few minutes. But heavy gloves don't lend themselves to shooting and light ones don't do much good in real cold. I've found a formula that has worked well for me in some fairly extreme conditions with wind chill way below zero (F). While walking, setting up tripod, etc, I wear light gloves inside heavy mittens with a hand warmer packet inside the mitten. When ready to shoot I take off the mittens and transfer the hand warmers into my coat pockets and put the mittens away. Then hands stay in pockets with the hand warmers until needed to shoot. The light gloves provide adequate protection for a couple of minutes at a time then hands back in pockets. If there is a lot of action to keep up with it is a gradually losing battle but typically a slow spell gives time to warm back up.

    The newest thing in gloves/mittens it to put handwarmer pockets on the back of the hand. The theory is that there are a lot of blood vessels on the back of the hands and by heating there your hands stay warmer. Nice theory but in my experience doesn't work in execution. For one thing most of the heat from the packet just goes outward rather than inward. Plus there's just no substitute for putting the heat right on your fingers when they are cold. The above theory might be optimal for survival but IMO is stinks if you actually need to use your hands. I've also used the mittens with the fold back ends that expose the fingers for shooting and put a heat pack in the end of the mitten. That worked OK too but hands in/out of pockets is just simpler. Nothing flapping around in the wind, etc.
  7. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    I've seen electric blankets for lens...

    Not kidding
  8. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    I've spent lots of time in cold places. I've also hung out of airplane windows, flying along at 130MPH in very cold weather. I have found insulated neoprene gloves to work well, and they work for me shooting a camera without taking them off. Here's one source: https://www.amazon.com/Glacier-Glov...&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Kenai+insulated+gloves
    I also recommend a small flashlight, or headlamp (my preference) to be able to see the settings on your camera.
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