Lovely, isn’t it?
Well, this got me thinking that it is that time of year to protect our gear from the eventual invasion of Jack Frost (actually, Connie Condensation, but we’ll get to that in a little bit).
So after a little search, I came across an article on Adorama’s Site by Bob Atkins from January of this year, which talks about “keeping your camera gear running smoothly when the weather outside is frightful.” You can read the full article through the link, but I will highlight some key areas:
While Shooting Outside~
Avoid Cold Soaking your camera:
What is cold soaking? Glad you asked. Basically, it is having a camera outside exposed so long that all the parts of the camera cool down to the same temperature it is outside (ambient temperature). How to do this?
1. When not shooting, place your camera in your camera bag. Even just a few degrees can help save on wear and tear. If you have a point-n-shoot then your pocket will do.
2. DO NOT put your camera under you coat! This humid environment is the worst possible place for the sensitive electronics as well as the glass in the lenses.
If you shoot film be aware that film becomes brittle in cold temperatures, so take extra care when loading a new roll. Additionally, the dryness of the air can cause static electricity with friction actions say like rewinding a finished roll, which may leave marks on your film.
Memory cards – are usually safe
LCDs – may gray out (loose contrast) or slow down but should be fine when warmed up.
Plastic Bodies – May become brittle so no butter fingers or forcing or “SNAP” it will break
Metal – Remember that scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie’s friend licks the metal pole?
Okay…you have the idea. Now most cameras today are plastic coated but those tripod legs are not…and if you are like me you will spill your coffee and the touch your tripod, so it is best to have some sort of glove bearier. But we all know that even the best gloves are hard to work with so… Try silk glove liners. Lightweight, affordable and warm.
Battery Power, Po-wer, P-o-wer, P-o-w-er – Low temps can zap a battery’s zing, so plan for it. Bring 2 or 3 batteries with you. Or try wrapping a hand warmer on the outside of the camera body where the battery is housed (usually it is housed inside the camera grip…Convenient, isn’t it?) Infact, bring some extras for your tootsies and fingers! I will only give my hand in marriage to Jack Frost.
Yes, I am yelling; but this is the most important part about protecting your gear.
When you come inside…you expose you sensitive equipment (camera and lenses) to extremes…you go from dry cold (ahhh dry air) to warm wet (eek, evil wet air).
Doubt it? Take a glass and place it in your freezer for an hour or two, then put it on your counter and watch what happens…Just like a frosty mug of beer condensation builds up…now imagine that frosty mug is your $700.00 70-300 mm lens. YIKES!
But don’t worry there is such an easy trick to prevent this.
Believe it or not… FREEZER ZIPLock Baggies…Before you go inside, just put all your gear in a few freezer storage bags and seal it up. The science behind this is that the dry air stays in the bag with your stuff while it warms up, yet the plastic keeps the moisture out, letting the condensation collect on the bag rather than your gear.
I have not yet tried this, but if anyone has, please comment to let us know if this really works. Or if you have any other advice on shooting in the cold please let us know.
Anyway, I hope this information has been helpful. Stay warm and happy!