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Photographing in the winter

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by luiztakei, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Dec 13, 2012
    Luiz
    Hi, I am new to photography and I was trying to get some information about taking pictures during winter but couldn't find a source that seems reliable and complete. So I would like to ask people's opinions here:

    1) For the camera itself, is it ok to go out and shoot when it is -10°C (14°F) or even -15°C (5°F)?

    2) I heard that batteries don't like the cold weather. If I only have one battery, what should I do?

    3) Is it ok to leave the camera on (sleep mode maybe) as I walk on the streets in the winter?

    4) Any other tips?


    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. clockwise

    clockwise Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Apr 23, 2012
    New York, NY
    Brian R
    Welcome to photography! It's a lot of fun, right? Here are some answers to your questions:

     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Can I start off by saying that -10°C to -15°C isn't even cold for a system camera? I wouldn't even worry about it... these aren't like point-and-shoots.

    This may be a touchy thing to say on a public forum, but in all honesty this is one place I wouldn't even trust your owner's manual. Most will give a ridiculous cold temperature limitation like 0°C or something, probably for warranty claims as there is no system camera which can't take the temperatures they list. Especially with the weather-sealed systems, which have no problems being frozen in the arctic.

    The ziploc bag suggestion to avoid condensation is always a good idea. You also won't find a better investment than a spare battery.

    And one final tip, though you didn't ask for it (as this is more the type of question I was expecting coming into this thread)... If you're photographing in snow then you'll probably need to reduce the size of your metering pattern and turn your exposure compensation up. The camera will see all the white in the image and will want to underexpose to keep all that white from being blown out and showing up as "white". Of course, what the camera doesn't know is that the snow is actually white, and you want it to show up as white, lol. So you need to overexpose according to what the camera guesses would be right, or just reduce your metering pattern small enough (center weighted works well) that you only meter off your subject rather than accounting for all the white background in your frame. Center weighted metering can also solve many other exposure problems, and is what I use for general purpose.
     
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  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    On batteries. Ned is on the money, pick up a spare. In -10C your battery life will dramatically drop. When working in sub-zero weather, I would keep spare batteries in or about my armpit (in a bag with a shoulder loop). When the working battery would die, I'd switch batteries. When the dead batteries warmed up they'd be good-to-go again. Once the working batteries died again, another switch. Sorta like Leap-Frog.

    G
     
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  5. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    These cameras do better with cold weather than I do anymore!

    Good advice from the experts so far, I think. I would just add that if you don't have a plastic bag handy, like Ned suggested, it works pretty well to just keep the camera and lens(es) in a camera bag, or even coat pocket, as you transition into/out of cold areas.
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    In fact... getting the sensor too warm can increase noise in the image. Keeping it cool and crisp is actually better for your image quality. :) To an extent, of course...
     
  7. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Dec 13, 2012
    Luiz
    Thank you all for the information!

    And, yes, photography is very fun! :)
     
  8. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Dec 13, 2012
    Luiz
    By the way, what kind of gloves (or mittens) do you use when you take pictures outdoors during winter?
     
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I have a pair of thin, silk, ski-gloveliner type gloves with rubber grippy dots. One more thing, on my first trip to the Arctic (back in the film-only days), the camera repair guys removed all the wet lubricants from the camera and lenses (grease) and replaced them with dry lubricants (graphite) with a final reminder of not to touch the viewfinder with my eye ... cuz it won't come off until Spring.
     
  10. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    I avoid shooting in cold weather (or doing anything else in cold weather :wink:) but in Detroit sometimes ya need food and have to leave the house...

    I buy a few pairs of inexpensive cotton "work gloves" such as these:

    12 Pair Brown Jersey Poly Cotton Work Glove with Knit Wrist One Dozen Pair Mens Size Large - Amazon.com

    and I cut the tips off of the thumb / forefingers :eek:. That pretty much gives me camera control when needed. NOT recommended for really cold climates (such as Gary tends to wander into...:biggrin:). But for Detroit, where it goes below 0 degrees Fahrenheit only a few days a year, I find it acceptable. And cheap :thumbup:.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  11. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Dec 13, 2012
    Luiz
    Thank you all! I feel more confident taking pictures in the winter now! :)

    And Happy New Year everyone!
     
  12. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    943
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    Manzella Silkweight...just used them today...very lightweight, but surprisingly warm.