I know some photographers hang their cameras up when the weather turns cold but there are lots of great images to be made even when the mercury drops. If you dress appropriately, make sure your camera is weather sealed (check your owners manual for guidelines on use) and take a few simple steps, then you will find that taking photos in the great outdoors – regardless of the cold can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Here are a few simple photography tips that will make shooting the cold weather more fun.
Fight the Battery Drain
Use Hand Warmers
Those miniature warming packs are great for keeping hands and toes from freezing and they can also be dropped into a coat pocket alongside an extra camera battery to help it hold the charge. One of the first things I noticed when I was out with the camera in the cold is that the battery would drain much faster. I now make sure I pack an extra battery (or two) and either tuck it in an inner pocket of my coat to keep it warm or drop it into a more easily accessible outside pocket along with a warming pack. Each pack only lasts a few hours but that’s usually more than enough. You can buy these pre-season in bulk or invest in the re-useable kind. I always keep a few extras packed in my camera bag during the colder months.
Warm Hands = Happy Photographer
Mitten Gloves Are The Best of Both Worlds
When it’s frosty outside, one of the hardest things to do is keep fingers warm while setting up the shot. Mittens are scientifically the best choice for warmth but they make operating camera controls near impossible. Slipping your hands in and out of mittens all the time means any heat gained is quickly lost. The best solution I have come across is a pair of mitten gloves or mittens that unzip to reveal an inner glove. Many even have extra space for you to slip a hand warmer inside and recently I found a pair that are touch screen compatible – handy for when you want to take a phone photo for Instagram or tweet out the fantastic snowy location you just discovered.
Keep the Condensation at Bay
Pack a Large Plastic Zip Bag
These things have become a staple in most homes thanks to flight security measures so no doubt you have one around. Make sure you it is big enough to fit your camera plus it’s lens in then tuck it in your camera bag before you hit the cold. Taking your camera out in the cold is fine – but when it’s time to come back inside, you will want to prevent the warm indoor air from forming condensation on your cold lens and sensor. When I am all finished my cold outdoor shoot, before I head inside, I pop the memory card out, pack the camera and lens into the plastic zip bag and tuck the whole package back in my camera bag. Then when I bring my gear back indoors, I leave the camera bag zipped shut and let all the equipment come back to room temperature. Putting the camera in the plastic zip bag helps to ensure that any condensation that might collect on the cold gear will collect on the outside of the plastic bag instead. By taking the memory card out before I come inside, I don’t have to wait until the gear warms up to download my photos.
So dig out your woolly socks, throw on the extra layers and get yourself outside…with a bit of extra care, photography can enjoyably be a four season passion.