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Thread: Snow & SLR

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    Snow & SLR

    Noob question but can I bring my SLR to the snow to take some photos? I'll just be on a toboggan, not skiing.

    I used to take my P&S but it tend to fog up. It'll obviously happen to the SLR too eh?

    So is it advisable to bring it or should I just carry the P&S? Thanks

    ^_^

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    either/or!!

    I tend not to go anywhere without my camera.

    If you want the ability to shoot in a more relaxed style, taking time to compose a scene and setup the camera for the best possible shot, then of course the SLR will give you that ability.
    If the purpose of the snow trip is more about the snow trip and all you want are a few happy memories of it all, then a P&S is probably a better alternative!

    It's hard for an outsider to advise on which piece of gear is best for the purpose, as only you know the circumstances in which you find yourself .. such as kids to look after and other people to consider .. as well as the practicalities of carrying the necessary gear(SLR).

    Last time I went to the snow with my kids, I took all my gear(considerable), but only carried what I thought I'd want to use. All the other gear stayed in the bag, in the car.
    The conditions were close to full on blizzard! I got a few photos of my kids with faces looking as tho they'd eaten lemons for lunch!
    Too snowy, to windy, to cold(for 6 and 8yo's faces), in the end too much for them, even tho they got to play for an hour or so in the snow.
    Almost disappointing apart from the fact they saw and played in snow for the first time.
    It was close to impossible to use almost any camera in the prevailing conditions, as the lens would simply get covered by sleet ... but would I take all my gear again? .. for sure!!!
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    I'd also be asking myself "is it weatherproof". My camera is weather sealed but the lenses aren't, so I'd definitely want to take it but only if I could afford a WS lens for the job (Hey, I just found another excuse to justify my LBS ... a trip to the snow! ). I can't afford to lose a lens, or the camera, so I'd be taking any precaution I can, too. Maybe a weather cover for the combo?

    Bottom line, though, is you CANNOT go to the snow and NOT take a camera to record the scenery! There are some great, high IQ waterproof "tuff" cameras around these days. I'd buy one of them and at least be happy that I wouldn't miss any great shots. I'd also pick one that shot RAW files, too. Snow can be a bugger to expose properly and I wouldn't want my P&S making poor choices in software.

    One last point: I'm jealous that you're going to get some great photo ops instead of me, so have fun!
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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Just remember with photography in the snow that you will need to up your exposure by about 1 stop due to all the white in the photo. This is because the camera thinks it is brighter than it actually is and therefore underexposes by about that much. If you normally use "modes" like "Landscape" or "Portrait" or "Macro", then there may be a mode for "Snow" and use that. However, if you do not use "modes" and you are shooting where there is lots of snow in the photo, up the exposure by a stop:

    a) use the "Exposure Compensation" button and add 1 stop of extra exposure or there abouts, OR
    b) 1 less shutter speed, so maybe if you are using 1/125sec then go to 1/60sec or whatever, OR
    c) 1 more aperture, so if you are using f11, go to f8, OR
    d) 1 less ISO, so if you are using ISO200, go to ISO100.

    These are just guides and it depends on the shutter speed, aperture and ISO that you are using. You will need to experiment with some test shots when you get there and then check your histogram and check the general exposure.

    Have a great trip!

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    Everyone so far has missed one important point, you need to give the camera time to acclimatise to the temperature. Don't go straight from outside to inside and start shooting and vice versa. Give the camera some time to adjust to the different temperature within the camera bag so it doesn't fog up when removed.

    Otherwise I wouldn't be too worried DSLR's are pretty tough but if it's really snowing heavy and you're going to be shooting for a while in it I'd get a weather cover if your gear isn't weather proof, or just a plastic bag with a hole for the lens to poke out of. A little bit of snow on your camera isn't going to kill it though.

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    My only issue would be lugging it about when you are playing and rolling around in the snow. A P&S hurts less when you stack it

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec View Post
    Everyone so far has missed one important point, you need to give the camera time to acclimatise to the temperature. Don't go straight from outside to inside and start shooting and vice versa. Give the camera some time to adjust to the different temperature within the camera bag so it doesn't fog up when removed.

    .....
    Yeah! I've heard about this, and have experienced it only on my sunnies over the years, but never with any camera I've taken to the snow.

    On my last blizzard trip with the kids, we were snugly cocooned in my car for about an hour driving up the mountain, heater basically full bore trying to counter the sub zero temperatures, camera in the rear passengers seat.
    From there, it was straight out of the bag in the hot to warm cabin, and out into the freezing cold like the rest of us.
    Not fog, no mist, no moisture, no nuthin!
    Just three cold freezing faces(noses mainly) and the camera(D300) and lens(Tammy 17-50) were perfectly fine.

    At some point we headed for the warmth of the kiosk to get out of the cold, and again, camera and lens were fine again, even tho there was condensation all over the place within the smallish kiosk.

    I suppose it CAN happen and is something to look out for, but whether it's a massive issue is questionable.

    On a side note too: I did head back out to the snow a week or two after the trip with the kids, and roughly towards the same area(Lake Mountain, Vic) but this time on my ownsome.
    Same deal, just basically driving around on a few slushy tracks trying to avoid icy, foggy and pretty miserable conditions (again).
    Once more, no problems with camera/lens fogging up on me that time either.

    The only problem was the rate of change from OK looking weather(when I first got there) to what eventually eventuated, with miserable misty foggy and sub zero temperatures again.

    Personally I'd take both.
    If the conditions aren't especially great for some superlative photography, then all you may want to do is snap away to record some memories.

    If I get over the miserable chest infection I currently have, I'm going to try for a snow trip again soon.

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    You need to watch out for condensation when going to tropical regions too. I flew from Melbourne to Fiji, as soon as we were off the plane my glasses instantly fogged over. I didn't take my camera out until we were on the way to our accomodation though, no issues there.
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    I went a few weeks ago and the slr went from a warm car and out into the cold with no problem, I did make sure that the camera bag wasn't getting direct heat from a vent
    Canon 7d efs 15-85mm, Sigma 150-500mm. Nicon coolpix 5400


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    I ceratinly had a lot of fogging in Thailand taking the camera from an air conditioned hotel room to the warm humid conditions outside. Restricted to the viewfinder and the exposed face of the UV filter, though.

    I guess it could be a problem the other way if the humidity change is enough, but in the snow it's more likely to happen coming from outside into a warm hotel or coffee shop I guess. Humidity is pretty low in the snow.

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    I used to live in the snowies, and would take my camera skiing all the time. It should be fine, just watch out for any patches of snow melt (i.e. very watery snow), landing in this wouldn't be good. Re: fogging didn't really have a problem with this.

    Also, don't forget to adjust your white balance.

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    Update.

    So I didn't end up using my SLR. I figured, I don't need it and it'll just get in the way of my fun in the snow.

    I just used my point & shoot.

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    I would think the more likely fogging issue would be going the other way, from cold, into a warm moist air in the house/car, not the other way around.
    At most camping stores you can buy some Toastie-Toes, that are activated by exposure to air, and they produce a nice gentle warmth. A rubber band, and one of those under your lens barrel will help keep it from fogging up - works a treat for doing long exposures at night too. Just make sure it's not where it will interfere with the rotation of the focus ring etc.

    But I guess it depends how much I want to get into the play and the fun of the snow - in which case a camera I don't care much about like a cheap P&S allows me to get down and dirty having fun with the kids, or whether I want to be less involved in the fun and stand back more involved in taking the best possible pictures, in which case I'd go the DSLR.

    Either way, the heat pack would help with a P&S to keep warm and not fog up too, but you'd probably have to rubber band it to the whole camera, which might make seeing the LCD screen on the back a bit difficult.
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