Tips For Shooting in Winter and Cold Freaking Weather

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by JoeW, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Okay, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere who don't live in Florida or California, we're starting to get freezing temps, possible snow and ice in the not too distant future. So I thought I'd start a thread for everyone to contribute tips/advice for shooting in snow, ice, and just generally freaky cold weather.

    I'll start us off. First, here's a nice article put out by the Affinity Photo folks about shooting in winter: How to shoot incredible winter photography - Affinity Spotlight

    Second, microfibre cloths are your friend. When you go from a warm card to a very cold outdoors. Or a cold outside to a warm and humid botanical center or studio, you're going to have condensation or fog on your lens. So make it a point to always carry a couple of the buggers. The last 3 shoots I've had that involved either going from warm to cold, or cold to warm, I've had other photographers nearby cursing their condensation or fogging up and I pulled out a spare microfibre cloth for them to use and then said "keep it--I've got about 50 of them" (I do) and made a new friend.


     
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  2. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you ever have the opportunity to go out on the ice for pregame festivities before a hockey game, try to not fall on your a$% in front of 6-7000 people. (I didn't.) Learn to walk on ice while carrying a camera and pray to the hockey gods (first time I did I remember thinking, please just don't let me fall out there...) because they don't roll out carpet for the photographers. I realize that's for indoor sports in the cold! but that's what I got.
     
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  3. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I may be in Calif, but it ain't warm in the SF Bay Area.
    When I shot the last football game last Fri, I was wearing thermals under my jeans, and 6 layers on top, and I was still cold. I had to go to the bathroom and warm my hands under the heated hand dryer. And it wasn't winter, yet. :(
    In the Winter sport season (starting soon), when shooting soccer at night in the wind, the ambient temp sometimes feels like it drops down into the 40s.
    One of these days I have to bring a thermometer to the field to see how cold it really is.
    But I don't know how to measure wind chill.​
     
  4. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    SPARE BATTERIES!
    They only last 1/4 as long as when warm. Keep the spares in a warm place next to your body. Replacing cold batteries with cold batteries won't help much.

    When you come cack home from being out in the cold. Leave your camera alone. Just let it warm up. The fogging lens and screen won't hurt it however rubbing the lens because you clean the fog off 100 times a year drastically increases your chance of scratching the coatings.

    Dress warmer than you think you'll need. You can always take a layer off but you can't put on what you don't have.
    HAND WARMERS! I give away at least 20 of these every year. I also have battery powered hand warmers that are on in my coat pocket.

    In short.
    The camera will be fine. Don't screw with it unless you need to.
    You on the other hand need more attention. You can't take a great shot while shivering in the cold.
     
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  5. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Long johns. Gloves with removable finger and thumb tips. Hat & scarf. Warm boots for feet. Three large zip lock bags, one for your micro fiber towels, one for transporting your camera out of the cold & into the warm. One for extra batteries. Spot meter for snow and shadow. Flash can be very helpful if there is a lot of snow reflections. You can shoot manual, meter for snow, flash for fill.

    The ziplock bag is ideal to prevent fungus in your camera and lens. It will eliminate condensation. Give it a little time to adjust to warmer temperature.
     
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  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Pretty much the same as when hunting. Dress warm with layers that can be removed or added back. Let your camera gear acclimate to extreme temperature differences. If I'm going to be sitting in a stand for a period of time I have battery powered electric socks. Walking in insulated boots causes sweat, when you sit, it can quickly cause cold feet. I also have a very small Coleman catalytic heater that will sit between my legs in a stand. It provides just enough heat (unless it's really windy) to take the chill off.
     
  7. PJM

    PJM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I ran into a similar situation at our local wildlife sanctuary. Some of their trails that cross swamps have boardwalks (not always level). I went for an early morning shoot and ran into the "bridge freezes before roadway" phenomenon. I almost ended up in the swamp.:02.47-tranquillity:
     
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  8. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    I like winter shooting as long as it's dry I can handle the cold.................
     
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  9. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought these big microfiber clothes in Home Depot for cleaning. Can they be used on lenses?
     
  10. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What about GoreTex waterproofing. Do they allow breathing in insulated boots?
     
  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I used to deer hunt, till my cold tolerance left. Nothing I found would keep my feet completely dry walking to my stand. Then between the moisture, freezing temperatures, and lack of blood flow from sitting for hours, the feet would feel like ice cubes. The battery powered socks really helped, as did the little catalytic heater, unless the wind was blowing. When you're 20' up in an open stand with the wind blowing, nothing worked. Now when I go out with the camera early it's usually at or just after daylight and I'm moving more then sitting.
     
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  12. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have added to my collection some of those inco pads you can put on the bed. Brill for sitting on, placing camera bag, kit on . Keeps you and you kit off the damp wet seat,floor, whatever. At this time leaf mulch can be messy these sheets are cheap and have lots of use in the field even to put the lackey boots on when you get home
     
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