cold weather shooting

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by krugorg, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    We had a good coat of frost on the ground this morning and so I started to think about using the E-P3 this winter. I found the following article with tips on taking your camera out in cold weather and thought I would share:

    New York Institute of Photography - Cold Weather Pictures | Winter Pics | Winter Photos | Winter Photo Tips | NYIP

    I have had my LX3 out in cold weather (around 0 deg F) for 4-5 hours at a time. I kept it under my outermost layer and never noticed any issues with battery life or camera functions. I did get a bit of fogging on the lens when I first hit the trail, though, and I didn't do the bag trick on the way back inside... I may have subjected my LX3 to some condensation abuse!

    The following LX3 image was from a snowshoe trip a couple years ago.... tortured a little in Silver Efex today.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/krugorg/6266273465/" title="Frozen Waterfall by krugorg, on Flickr">"992" height="1008" alt="Frozen Waterfall"></a>
     
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  2. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    Thanks, good read
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    In the back of my mind I've been trying to lie to myself that I plan on doing a lot of winter shooting just so I can try to justify buying a K-5. The problem is I know I'm lying to myself, so I haven't been able to justify it yet.
     
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    :rofl:

    I am feeling a bit more paranoid about bringing my E-P3 for this kind of thing, but know I will be bummed with the images if I don't. Also, the E-P3 with a small lens like the 14mm, will be super easy to manage under my coat.
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    If you're just going to kill your E-P3 in the cold, you should just give it to me. I'll send you my E-P1 to kill in the cold instead:wink:

    Seriously, though. that shot is great. If I were you, I'd just make my LX3 the designated chiller.
     
  6. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Great article...thanks for posting.

    I'll be doing 6 weeks of shooting in Canada over January/February and a good portion of that will involve shooting at high altitude in the snow. Places like Revelstoke, Whitewater and Mount Baker in Washington State will throw some ugly conditions my way....temps below -10c and probably -30c factoring in wind chill...not to mention swirling snow when shooting not only snowscapes but snowboarding action.

    A tip to keep in mind is LENS HOOD !!!
    Keep water,snow and sleet off the front glass element of the lens. I'll be shooting with a circular polarizer and possible stacking that with an ND8 on very bright days but I don't want snow/water on them either so a hood is a must.

    I've read that your regular sandwich 'snap tight' plastic bags are fine for closing up your camera when re entering the warmer air of your house/hotel.....but I am also looking into a neoprene pouch shaped specifically for my GF1. It's sized just about right for it and the panny 14mm 2.5 which is going to be my primary lens up there....trying to find a slightly larger one to accommodate the PL 25/1.4 as well.

    I'm kinda paranoid about screwing my gear up too....I would be real upset of I fried my electronics or got heavy condensation into my lenses....especially the costly 25/1.4 !!!

    But although snowboarding is the primary reason for the trip, it's a photography safari of sorts for me too and that aspect of it is a huge factor for me.....more so than I could have even imagined 6 months ago before I said goodbye to my canon P&S and entered the mu43 world. As such, I'll take the risk and take my gear up into those conditions and places where I probably shouldn't.

    I've found some useful snow/ snowboarding photography links recently, some about protecting your great and some about making good exposures decisions. When I get home today I'll post them to this thread.

    Btw....if you have experience shooting in these conditions, please share your thoughts and opinions.

    Joe.
     
  7. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    813
    Jan 9, 2011
    Canada
    January/February can be a lot colder than -10 Celsius, you may have to prepare for temps down to -40 plus wind chill. Can depend on where you are, but I'm guessing if your boarding you will be in the Rockies. Temperatures can vary from +10 to -40 Celsius, so you may want to look into an insulated bag for your camera and equipment. I use an insulated lunch bag, or the padded goggle cases by Dakine(they also make dedicated camera bags). Use a large freezer bag for transition from indoors to outdoors or vice versa as these are a lot more durable and water proof if it gets dropped in the white stuff. Extra batteries are required especially if the mercury really takes a dive. Also, test out your gloves and make sure you can use your camera with them, or you'll have to find another set that allow for tactile motions. You think those controls buttons are small now, try using them when all your fingers are bigger than your thumbs because of your gloves.I've even used a bellaclava to protect camera and use the holes for the shutter button, lense, and screen. In regards to hoods, plastic may shatter, and metal can be nasty with bare skin, you may want to invest in a couple of the flexible rubber hoods( can be compacted, and easier to stow under your jacket).
     
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  8. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the article.

    I was actually considering buying one of these weather proof camera for my winter shooting (panasonic DMC-TS3, anybody has any experience with it or another such camera?).

    I guess I would take out my EP-3 with me using the article's advices, but only when going for casual walks, not when I go and do cross-country skiing and I sweat a lot for example, as keeping the camera close to my body and its moisture would probably yield condensation on/in it.

    For outside sports activities, with the Panasonic PZ 14-42mm, which is very compact, I guess I could keep it in a plastic bag close to me and then take it out momentarily only for taking pictures.

    I wish they had one of these sealed underwater housing for the EP-3, that would certainly do the trick.
     
  9. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Cheers Grinch. Thanks for the tips.

    The shaped neoprene gf1 pouch I found on eBay is excellent, btw, it's not gf1 specific so it should easily handle just about any mu43 camera. I will be customizing it though so that the back has an opening to access controls/LCD and the front to have an opening for lenses...both openings will be flap style with Velcro. If I can get this right, I'll have a n awesome piece of all weather clothing for my camera. I on the other hand will be fine given that all my own clothing is top of the line goretex and breathable merino layers....lol....my snowboard gear has cost me several multiples of my camera gear. !!!

    If I can protect me gear in such a way that I feel comfortable enough out there to shoot with the ease and freedom to concentrate on my shots then I'll be thrilled.

    Btw....the goggle case could be an excellent storage for lenses/filters etc. Throw it all in my Dakine Heli Pro snowboard pack with tripod and I could be set to go.

    Also, speaking of the type of weather I should expect. I've read reports recently from various Canadian meteorology agencies that suggest there are indications that BC in particular 'may' have its heaviest winter in decades with above average precipitation and below average temperatures.

    Fresh deep powder lines and my camera gear in my pack....can't wait.

    ;)
     
  10. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Even more trouble!

    So, while out and about, at night, doing the astrophorography thing, some of my misery can be shared to spare you kind folks from suffering as I did! You think it is cold during the day try slogging about at 1-3 am ...

    Moisture from ones breath gets everywhere and freezes onto most everything ... particularly viewfinders, LCD screens, etc. Anything close to ones face will get repeated application of frozen breath. Do hold your breath while bringing objects close to the face.

    Exposed metal can become dangerous at low temperatures and skin can actually freeze onto it and now you are attached to your camera - watch out for lips! A painful moment or two I wish never to repeat - funny now but at the time quite disturbing and painful. I'm sure we have all had the exceptionally cold popsicle (taken from the local ice cream truck which uses dry ice) that sticks frozen to the tongue or lips - a few seconds the body heat melts the delicious treat. When stuck to metal the situation is quite different as the high heat conductivity of metal quickly removes the heat away from the frozen parts and it takes much longer to warm the frozen bits until they can be freed from the icy grip of shame. Below -15C I think additional assistance may be required.

    General cold weather rules must be obeyed and the one that always gets me into trouble is sweating under the layers while moving about too vigorously - I am not the most patient soul. I'm always amazed at how easily a sweat comes on fiddling about the telescope at night in the freezing cold.

    Also be alert to the altitude as elevations > 6000 feet compound many problems. When near 9000 feet things are much more tricky. Above 12,000 feet things can get fatal if one is careless. Pulmonary edema (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001190/) is no joke and it was chasing me something fierce one fine evening in which I made a series of bad choices at 13,500 feet ... luckily I'm not a complete idiot and got myself to lower elevation before passing the point of no return. I was alone in a very remote local and it was touch and go for a while-not a good idea. Stupid me was more worried about getting my gear sorted out.

    As I was taught in the Boy Scouts, be prepared, and have fun.
     
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  11. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    813
    Jan 9, 2011
    Canada
    Another quick cold weather tip - Those disposable hot packs that fit in your gloves...work great if you put one in with your camera, to keep it from getting to cold. Also if your on the hill, try to avoid wearing your camera where your likely to take an impact eg falling down, as it sucks to break your mount.
     
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  12. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Excellent tips and advice lads, thanks very much.

    And Rob, glad you made it down alive...all fingers and toes intact I hope....and hope you got the shots you were after too !
     
  13. Bags & fingerless mitts.

    Found fingerless gloves with a either the flip over mitt covers or chopper mitts help keep the hands a bit warmer and allow for ok tactile feel. "Trick" learned from the Nordic ski racing years is use your arm pits to warm up or keep your finger tips warm.

    A compact option vs. the plastic baggy is some diy custom silnylon drybags. Less bulky than plastic and less stiff on those real cold days. Sew a band of Omni or Velcro along the opening to form an air & water tight roll top. If you can sew it's an inexpensive, but at times frustrating (silnylon is bit slippery) diy project. 1.1 silnylon is ~$4-8/linear yd x ~60". Have a few large bags sized to place the whole camera bag inside. Find that the gear takes a bit of time to warm up. Eventually will sew up some smaller bags sized for just camera + lens.
     
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