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Posts tagged “winter

Weekly photo, 17 January 2015

This past week was quite cold here in “La Belle Province”, a true Canadian winter week 🙂

On the morning that i took the photo posted below it was -30°C (-35°C with the windchill factor), the trees along the St-Lawrence river were covered with frost. I converted the photo in B&W because i felt it was better looking like that.

Taken with my Canon 7D and 70-200mm/4 L, tripod.

 


Weekly photo, 13 December 2014

Not much time to shoot this week but got a photo on the shore of a Lake close to my work. Birds are staying later and later now, some even stay here that were flying South some years ago, warmer climate probably ?!?!

These are Great Blue Heron tracks in the snow and ice, i didn’t saw the bird unfortunately. I converted the photo in B&W and finally i like it better than the color version. Taken with my Fuji X-E1 and 18-55mm on a tripod.

 


Second outing for photographing Ducks in winter.

This time it was around -22C with winds from 40 to 60 Km/h, so the temperature with the windchill factor was around -32C. First thing, if you want to keep shooting and be comfortable enough to concentrate on your photography and not on your cold feet and fingers you need to dress for the conditions. So i was well dressed so i was able to stay out and shooting without any problems.

My goal was to show how hard it is for the Ducks to survive during winter, most of the Ducks were trying to keep their body heat by sleeping on the ice on the shore of the river. I’m always impressed that those Ducks stay here all winter in those conditions when they can flew south, peoples giving them food probably persuaded them to brave the long Canadian winter.

So, this time i finally concentrated my efforts on capturing the cold and foggy mood of that morning. The Ducks were covered with a thin layer of frost and some even had ice on their back.

A Male Mallard Duck on the ice, i wanted to show him in it’s habitat and included the frozen waterfall in the background.

Canon T3i with 70-200mm/4 L, tripod.

Bath time, a Black Duck covered with ice on it’s back, the sun hitting the fog added to the atmosphere. I let the Duck go darker in PP to keep the silouhette effect.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Male and Female Mallard Duck in the river, in PP i kept some of the blue cast in the snow to convey the coldness of the morning.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Stop it, your feathers are beautiful now !

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Frosted Ducks.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, Tripod.

When i was walking down the trail to the river in the morning i found feathers on the ground and the remaining of 2 wings, i decided to wait and go for the Ducks first and get back to photograph the feathers later. So when i finished photographing the Ducks i walked back to my truck and was looking for interesting feathers to photograph when i felt that something was looking at me. Looked up and saw a Hawk on a branch, pretty sure that it was a Cooper’s Hawk, he found a very reliable source of food for the winter !

I probably interrupted it’s hunting session. I have to admit that it’s not a very good shot but  i managed to grab some quick photos between the branches before he flew away, missed the focus on the eye and cut the tip of it’s tail.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

After 2 hours the sun was too high in the sky and the contrast was too much to make interesting photos, so i decided to end my photo session there. I wanted to take photos with my WA lens but it didn’t happened that time, maybe next week-end. I didn’t got “The Photo” of a frosted Duck i was looking for but i got some usable shots anyway and you always learn something about your craft and especially about the birds. By going often i will learn the habit of those Ducks and will eventually get better photos from that place.


Mallard Ducks in winter.

Went to a river that don’t froze during winter and  where Mallard Ducks stay all winter because peoples give them foods. They are easier to get close to photograph and the setting can be beautiful when there is fresh snow on the ground. There was around 30 of them last week-end when i went with my family, my 2 young girls love to observe the Ducks.

It was quite warm for a winter day, around -4C, it was cloudy with some periods of falling snow.  Since Ducks are easy to get close i was shooting with 2 cameras (Canon 7D and T3i), with my 400mm/5.6L and 70-200mm/4 L (with and without my TC 1.4X II attached). It was a good combination, i was able to switch rapidly between my 2 kit depending on the situation and distance of my subject.

Here is one of a female in the river.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L at 200mm, ISO 800, 1/500 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

Male taking a break in the river.

T3i, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 800, 1/320 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

The Vacuum Duck.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 163mm, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

Another female Mallard Duck.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 159mm, ISO 800, 1/800 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

7D, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 640, 1/400 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

I was there only 1 hour, my kids wanted to go back home, but this week-end i will go again on Sunday. The temperature will be around -20C in the morning so it will be good for photography, the Ducks will have frost on their feathers ! The 400mm was often too strong and the Ducks looked too tightly squeezed in the frame, will probably use more my 70-200mm this time, might even try to get a shot with my WA lens.


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:

gloves

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.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

– 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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!