Winter shooting tips


TPF Noob!
Mar 21, 2007
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A couple of years ago, before I was into photography, we had some extreme temperature changes from one day to the next. This caused the river near my house to steam up, and frost everything on the shoreline. I remember the sight as spectacular. I hope to capture it this year and would like some tips. I am planning on shooting in color and in B&W. The conditions will probably be foggy with temperatures below freezing. I already have a couple of sights picked out, and have read the posts on how to protect your equipment in cold weather. A hot cup of coffee in hand is also a no brainer.

I'm planning on being on site early, but how early should I be (early for me is usually 9am, but I'm willing to be up for the sunrise)? The sun rises downstream, would it be better to shoot towards the sun or away from the sun (for foggy and clear conditions). A couple of camera settings would help a bunch. I currently don't have any filters, should I hurry up and buy some. I was planning on getting a UV and a polarized one.

As always, thanks for your help
probably shoot into the sun during fog. you get backlight instead of glare.
I know you prolly read this in the posts you were talking about, but I will repeat it anyway... Keep your batteries warm if it gets really cold. This seems like a weird tip, but cold sucks the life out of rechargeable batteries like you wouldn't believe... keep a spare in your warm pocket, and when you are not shooting keep the camera next to your body.
We can't help with settings...that will depend on the light and how you want your photos to look.

As for shooting in the cold, sabbath has good advice. Have at least two batteries and keep the spares warm...the cold will suck the life out of them.

Also, be aware of condensation. When you bring something inside, from out in the cold, (cold dry air into warm humid air)...water will form on the cold surfaces of your camera and lens...which you certainly don't want.

To avoid this, you can place your gear into a sealed plastic bag while still outside, then let it warm up before you open it. At least leave it in a zipped up camera bag and give it time to warm up.
I'm not sure if the frosting that I'm looking for would occur at really cold temperatures. I think that I would be looking at the coldest -10c. I remember that on some days when I was late for work I was already too late and the sun burnt off the fog and melted all the frost. I will definitely keep the battery warm while waiting for the proper conditions.
When done shooting I was planning on bringing the camera into the office with me and let it sit there in the ziplock in my camera bag for the day, since I won't need it.

As for the morning I was planning on letting it sit in a cool (not cold) car for bit then put it in the camera bag (closed) and make it sit outside for a while so it slowly reaches freezing. All this done with the battery in my pocket. I'll take that time to walk around and find a good spot to shoot.
Sun rise is the best time to shoot. Get there about 30 minutes before sunrise to prepare, take a few test shots and what not. You will have about a 15 minute window maximum before conditions become detrimental to your task.
For the first several shots, no don't use filters. After you have comp and exposure down, then experiment with a polarizer and maybe a cross-hatch filter. The cross will do nothing unless you capture points of light reflecting off ice crystals or water reflections. I would not bother with filters the first couple of attempts due to the short time you will have to capture your shot. Good luck, hope to see the results posted this winter.
That was awesome set up, I'm getting a good idea on our vacation. I've been practicing water reflections and close shots on rain drops. I wanna see the results of your shots and get some ideas on shooting in cold temps.
Should I be using a specific picture style or will Standard suffice.

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