Keep shooting in the winter and dress for it.
Taking photos during winter is more demanding on you and your equipment, so you have to dress for the weather to keep shooting and getting the shots in the field. Having cold fingers or cold feet is not a good idea when you’re trying to concentrate to find subjects and compose your shots. I live in Canada so the major part of the year is cool or cold, i really like to take photos in cold weather, there is so much to shoot in winter.
Over the years i did learn how to stay warm and keep my cameras working in cold climate, i will share my experiences and tips in this article.
KEEPING YOURSELF WARM
Like i said earlier, if you’re fighting to keep yourself warm in the field you will not have energy to concentrate on your photography and all you will want is getting inside to warm up your feet or fingers. Dressing in layers is the best way to go, so if the conditions or your level of activity change you can add or remove layers. I prefer to use the warmest boots i can, currently i’m using rubber boots with a liner inside (they are rated for -74C) so i can get in the water if i want and still have warm feet.
Hands are more problematic because you want to keep them warm but still be able to use your camera without too much trouble. Instead of trying to explain all the gloves and mitts that i use i decided to made a video, other photographers certainly use different combinations depending on their needs:
If you are staying in the same place for a long period , like in a hide, you can use chemical warmers (hot pads) in your gloves or boots, they work quite well.
KEEPING YOUR EQUIPMENT WORKING
This is an easier thing to do, the main problem with using modern cameras in cold weather is “Batteries”. Always keep spare batteries in a warm pocket inside your jacket and switch them when the one in your camera is low and repeat again when the other one is getting low.
The thing is to keep your camera cold all the time, snow will not melt on your equipment if it’s cold. For protecting my gear when freezing rain is falling i use plastic bags when i’m not using my weather sealed lenses and camera.
When you go inside a house remove all your SD cards (or CF cards) and put them in a warm pocket inside yur jacket so you will be able to work on your photos when you go inside, i put my exposed SD cards in a ziploc bag in my pocket.
Your camera(s) and lenses should be kept in your camera bag when going inside, you can even put them in plastic bags to let them warm up slowly so that condensation don’t form inside your lenses. In all those years i’ve always kept my gear in my camera bags and never had any problem with condensation.
Tripod legs can get very cold, especially aluminium ones. My previous tripod was a Manfrotto 055 and i was using foam isolation for hot water pipe, now there is a lot of choice on the market for isolation for tripod legs in different camouflage colors.
Taken in autumn, it was around – 3C that morning, not very cold but cold enough to have frost on the ground and having to use my gloves.
Pentax K-01, Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR, ISO 320, 1/50 sec. at f/7.1, tripod.
– Never blow on the front of your lens with your mouth because your breath can froze on it instantly.
– Watch those metal lenses, my old Takumar lenses are very cold in winter, especially when you screw or unscrew that metal lens hood.
– You can change your tripod’s feet with spikes for when you’re on ice.
One last thing …………… Don’t kiss your TAKUMAR lenses !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!