Shooting in Winter...what to do when it gets *really* cold?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by epp_b, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, it's that time of year again. Fortunately, it's only gone down to about -5C so far, but it will get colder. And I mean cold. -30C cold or colder. A typical mid-winter day here is anywhere between -15C and -30C, plus wind, and it gets fracking windy here in southern Manitoba.

    I've been taking along plastic zip-lock bags and sealing my equipment inside them (while I'm still out in the cold) before stepping back inside to a heated building/car/whatever and it's been working quite well to prevent condensation. I also bring a spare battery that I keep warm in my jacket pocket and swap it with the battery in the camera when I need to.

    I know there are some other folks here from around my area with similar winter conditions and I'd like to hear your experiences.

    Specifically, what other precautions can I take so that I don't damage my equipment? Can my DSLR handle it? I'm usually out for a couple of hours when I'm taking photos (you wouldn't believe how long it takes just to get dressed to go outdoors!)

    What else should I expect to happen in these winter temperatures?

    I've also been thinking about buying a manual-advance 35mm film camera so that I can advance film slowly in the bitter cold and avoid breaking from brittleness and ruining my exposures from static build-up. The n8008 advances film at 2 fps, is that too fast for when it's very cold? Is there a certain type of film I should use?
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well I was at a strobist meet last night, and we were outside in sub-32F (sub-0C) weather, and we had models in skimpy dresses and short t-shirts leaning on cars for us... lol

    Makes for interesting shots when the dresses are really thin in the right places. :lmao:

    None of the cameras (Nikon and Canon) had any issues, but it is recommended that you give them time to warm up INSIDE the bag before using them in a warm environment again.

    When it gets too cold, the only thing that will take a big hit are the batteries. Swap them out often and keep the other inside close to your skin. I have a friend who has learned to keep a battery under each arm pit. He tells me that for some strange reason his batteries all smell like deodorant! :lol:
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My biggest concerns in really cold weather are the batteries and then condensation when coming back in.

    If using a digital or modern film SLR with an LCD screen, there might be some concern about the liquid in the screen freezing up but I've never actually heard of that happening.
     
  4. matt-l

    matt-l TPF Noob!

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    Just keep doing what you are doing is the best thing to do IMO, i have similar(sometimes worse) conditions here and i do the same as you do with the bags and a battery.
     
  5. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    fun topic.

    I'm about to let somebody borrow an SLR (film or digital, haven't decided yet) to take to Alaska for a month (December). What advice (rules!) would you give them?
     
  6. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Wow, you are brave! I will barely let anyone hold my camera much less borrow it. I made that mistake with a P&S once and the girl left it on the plane.

    It is insured I hope?

    I find this a funny topic, just cause we just don't have those problems here!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Tell them how to avoid condensation...basically not bringing the camera inside out of the cold without putting it into plastic or at least in a zipped up camera bag....and let it warm up before taking it out. Condensation can form inside and outside...and water inside can easily cause a lot of problems...including corrosion that might not cause problems until down the road.

    Using silica gel wouldn't hurt either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008
  8. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I borrowed plenty of DSLR gear before I owned it. A guy even let me use his Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS for a few days. That type of thing helped me a bunch, so I might as well pass along the favor.
     
  9. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks BM, good idea.
     
  10. rubbertree

    rubbertree TPF Noob!

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    You break it, you buy it?
    hahaha, sorry!

    Anyway, I would follow all tips given here about the cold weather stuff. I just can't honestly see going out in -30C windy weather to take pictures. Of what? White?? hahahaha!
     
  11. matt-l

    matt-l TPF Noob!

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    No advice to them but to you. If this is yours. Do not lend it out. You like it the way it is, keep it like that ;) not saying they're bad people but **** happens.
     
  12. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    I dunno, it depends on what SLR you're lending out. Is it an N50, or a D3? If you know what I mean. If its a lower end SLR that you wouldn't be devastated if you lost, then I would say its OK. I lent one of my friends my Nikon N75 with a Nifty Fiftey, and so far she has preserved it well. Then again, shes not going to Alaska.
     

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