Seasonal changes are coming to the Northern countries in about 60 days or so. Each year there are a bunch of questions that come up on a regular basis regarding cold weather shooting. Although I use Canon equipment, this information applies to all brands. The information is meant for those using DSLR equipment, but much applies to P&S and sub-compact gear also. Q: Can I shoot outdoors when it is at or below freezing? A: Yes you can. Your camera will work in just about any weather your body can function in. Q: How long will my batteries last? A: Cold weather does affect the strength and useful time your batteries will function. Each camera/battery combination is diminished to some degree, depending on your shooting habits. Remember that using your LCD for review, eats up a lot of power. Turning your camera on and off frequently isn’t a good idea either. Q: Speaking of LCD’s, mine seems to dim in colder weather. Whats going on? A: The letters LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. The liquid under the screen can be be affected temporarily by extreme temperatures for longer periods of time. Dimming or even a complete loss of display is not at all uncommon. This is a temporary condition and things generally return to normal once the camera has been brought back to a more typical operating temperature. As a rule there is no permanent damage to the component. Q: Are there any special things to do when taking my camera outside to use in colder temperatures? A: There are no special precautions needed. Q: Well then, are there special things to consider and do, when coming back inside? A: You bet. This answer needs a bit of explanation first. When you bring things in from the outside, any moisture in the air will condense on the outside of the gear. Those readers who wear eyeglasses, know exactly what I’m saying. Stepping inside ‘fogs’ them up real quick. When you come inside, the moisture condenses on the outside of your camera and lens. Because your camera is chilled both inside and out, that condensation will try to form both outside and inside your camera. You may get away with just wiping off the outside surfaces of your gear for a while, but repeatedly doing this is an invitation to trouble. Moisture will penetrate wherever it can find an opening. Only the more expensive units are considered water resistant (none are truly waterproof). Q: So much for the explanation, what can I do to prevent this? A: The answer and method is simple and works very well. Here in the U.S. we have several companies that make a refrigerator/freezer polyethylene storage bag that come in several sizes. It is generically known as a "Zip-lock" bag. Some have a slider type closure (my favorite). I buy both the one gallon and two gallon sizes. If you are using larger lenses, you might need both. If you need to, separate your camera and lens (put caps on all gear) and use a bag for each unit (flash units too). Now, when you go inside, the moisture collects on the outside of the bag and not on your expensive camera and lens. This situation is the most important thing to consider when doing cold weather shooting. Be patient, it may take as much as an hour for things to normalize. Q: I don’t have access to this kind of method and I need to do post processing right away, Now what? A: Well, you just put your camera and gear back inside your backpack or bag that you brought along outside. The zippers and material of most camera bags work just fine, except it takes a lot longer to normalize. Just do not open your bag once inside the warm area, until you are sure the gear has normalized. Post processing? Simple, just remember to remove your CF card before stowing your gear in the bag. Put the CF card in your shirt pocket, it will be fine after you get back inside for a few minutes.