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Thread: Cold weather photography

  1. #1
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    Cold weather photography

    Hi al,

    I'm off to New Zealand in two weeks time for three weeks. (2 of those in the south island)..

    I was reading Feral1's post before about how he was having trouble with the lens fogging up because it was so cold - is this something I should expect, and anything I can do to overcome it?

    Any other tips for cold weather photography? I'm thinking of getting one of those plastic covers too to protect from rain etc. I have never shot in really cold weather before....

    Thanks very much
    Ellen
    Pentax K10D, the newest baby
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    Whats next????

    Please CC my photos, and edit where you want! Got lots to learn so please pass on instructions....

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I've shot in the snow up in Lake Mountain, and it started snowing whilst I was up there, just not enough to see in a photo!

    Never had the lens fog up, but the viewfinder did, which makes it hard to compose.

    I think the issue is not so much the temperature, but the temperature difference, in say going from hot/warm to cold, and vice-versa. Just as you do when you get into the car on a cold day/morning and the windscreen fogs up. It's the sudden rush of temp difference and humidity that does it.

    So just be aware that you may need to acclimatise the camera if you get out of a warm car and out into the cold air.
    That's what happened to my VF, but after a few minutes it cleared. The lens was fine as far as I could see... just wished it snowed more.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    Thanks for that Arthur. I'll keep that in mind when going from a warm car to freezing outside!! brrrr........ I'm hoping there'll be lots of snow down in the south for me to photograph! cant wait - havent shot snow before.

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    Ausphotography Regular leanneqld's Avatar
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    Leanne - that was wonderful! Thanks very much for that link

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    You get around - Sydney one week, NZ the next!

    Last time we were in Christchurch it snowed - June/July from memory. (I have a stepdaughter in Christchurch - every time she talks about the weather I am glad I don't live there ) I think it snows most winters, but doesn't seem to hang round for long.

    I Can't help with tips for cold weather photography, but generally, expect it to be COLD. (Think bad Melbourne winter day. Add Ballarat weather and subtract 10 degrees.)
    Regards, Rob

    D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
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    Member SRR33's Avatar
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    I traveled Europe in winter time and trust me it gets freezing there.. I also went skiing in Austria etc etc.. My camera never fogged up.. Not that i can remember. .

    My problem was that i couldnt hold the dman thing coz it was so cold.. I was shaking..

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I think the issue is not so much the temperature, but the temperature difference, in say going from hot/warm to cold, and vice-versa. Just as you do when you get into the car on a cold day/morning and the windscreen fogs up. It's the sudden rush of temp difference and humidity that does it.

    So just be aware that you may need to acclimatise the camera if you get out of a warm car and out into the cold air.
    Colin and myself were out in the cold between 9 and 10 pm. We had walked to where we were going to do the photos, We had taken about 5 mins to get there. Took a few photos about 2 minutes each exposure.
    Then I noticed the lens fogging up. I clean it, was ok for one shot then fogged again. This started happening nearly 1/2 an hour from the start of the walk there abouts.
    Then Colins started to fog, I though at firsts it may have been the liquid I had cleaned the lens with the night before.
    But no as Colins fogged as well after awhile. I am sort of wondering as it was real dewy, if the excess moisture was a contribution.
    Still got some nice shots, and some interesting ones as well.

    Peter
    Last edited by feral1; 09-06-2009 at 11:00am.
    Any comments and critique always welcome
    Canon 400d twin lens kit & 60d : Canon 580 EX II & 430 EX II Flash | Cokin filters NDG 2,4 & 8 ND 8. + CPL | Sigma APO 150-500 OS DG | Canon 400L Canon 17-40L & 60 mm Macro.


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    Ellen, thank you for starting this thread, as we were only wondering the same thing yesterday too. Given it is almost sleeting here today, and set to get much colder, (-6 on Thursday), and the fact we are hoping to get to NZ again in September, we are keen for others to help with tis query too.
    Leanneqld's link was very helpful, and I now have something else to research further. Thank's Leanne
    Di
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    ...........................................................................................C&C is always welcome......................................................................



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    Quote Originally Posted by feral1 View Post
    Colin and myself were out in the cold between 9 and 10 pm. We had walked to where we were going to do the photos, We had taken about 5 mins to get there. Took a few photos about 2 minutes each exposure.
    Then I noticed the lens fogging up. I clean it, was ok for one shot then fogged again. This started happening nearly 1/2 an hour from the start of the walk there abouts.
    Then Colins started to fog, I though at firsts it may have been the liquid I had cleaned the lens with the night before.
    But no as Colins fogged as well after awhile. I am sort of wondering as it was real dewy, if the excess moisture was a contribution.
    Still got some nice shots, and some interesting ones as well.

    Peter

    I think the problem we had Peter was not so much the cold which a lens can cope with after acclimatising, but more because of the fog factor and dew settling on the lens glass, and my hair and glasses { and dont mention the brass monkeys problem lol lol} Odd though that mine initially was clear but eventually fogged over too, but it took a longer time than yours to get that way....now that's a mystery ?

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    Member markbufi's Avatar
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    Hi Ellen,

    I went to Canada earlier this year for a fantastic snow season full of snowboarding (can you tell I miss it?) and shot quite a few photos in the snow without too much trouble, and this was i -25 degrees at times!

    I think Arthur is spot on with this one. It seems to be a problem with a nice warm camera being exposed to the cold quickly. The lens does fog up a bit, but after you are out in snow or a while and the metal of the camera is cold, then it works a lot better.

    There is a spray that we used on our ski-goggles called Anti-Fog, which said it could be used on camera lenses, but I would probably google that first... lol.

    Cheers,
    Mark.
    Mark Bufi

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    Ausphotography Regular leanneqld's Avatar
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    Hi Ellen, you are welcome (re the link)

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    I was going to say 'get a Pentax!' but you already have that covered

    I think Arthur is spot on with the sudden change in temp causing condensation

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    I vaguely remember reading a thread somewhere on here a while ago.

    The camera was put in a plastic bag when taken outside initially? I could have read the previous link but I'm quite a busy lad today. I shall check tonight.

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    Try and keep your kit in the boot of your car if your mobile, it reduces the temperature differential from a "hot" interior cabin and then in the cold snow which equal condensation. Put a large bag of desiccant into you camera bag to absorb any moisture you might pick up. If you value your camera and are not wearing spiked shoes, get in the habit of putting your camera back in to the bag when your through shooting, hard pavements or deep wet snow is not where you want your pride and joy to land if you go t**s up
    Don’t forget to set exposure compensation to +1 to 2 stops if shooting in the snow (otherwise your white snow will become a muddy grey). Shooting while its actually snowing can be tricky, if you want to "freeze" the snow , pop-up your on-board flash but power it down, the flash freezes the movement of the closest snowflakes and the light bounces off the snow to bring it up.
    Have fun, snow is good.

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    You can get desiccant that can be put into the oven to then be re-used at a later date. There was a thread about it on the forums where someone bought some from the Pelican brand.
    please ask before PP my images

    "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans"

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    Thanks for all the tips everyone!! Hopefully I'll have some awesome cold weather shots to show off when I get back

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    I must've missed the original posting, but I think I've got some experience shooting in near-freezing to very much freezing weather .

    First things first: keep yourself warm. You won't make your best images when you're cold! Don't know how cold it is where you're going, but below -15 or so you can get frostbite when touching bare metal. Get yourself a couple of thin gloves (hunter shop!).

    Your equipment typically will fog when going inside. Just put it in a plastic bag and keep it there for half an hour or so to acclimatize. Sometimes it will fog up too if you're going outside from a warmer environment. Just put it in a sealed plastic bag before going from inside to outside or vice versa.

    Keep your batteries warm - keep some spare batteries close to your body (under a coat or so) and exchange them as soon as you notice they don't provide the juice anymore. You won't loose much power, but the batteries just cannot deliver the power.

    Keep a washleather in your bag and use it to clean filters when fogged up or otherwise wet. Washleathers also work great in rain to keep your camera dry.
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    Hi Ellen,
    I was visiting NZ last week for work and managed an afternnon at Mt Cook. It was around -3 at the time, and I had no fog problems at all.

    BTW, make sure you have your camera handy on the flight over. The view of the mountains on the flight over was fantastic, and I managed half a dozen snaps out the windows before the camera had to be turned off.

    Enjoy the holiday,
    Greg
    Bodies: Nikon D4, D300, D80
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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    It might be an idea to check what the recommended temperature exposure of the camera is for warrantee reasons too.
    I found out the hard way that the 5dmkII is not supposed to go in conditions below -4 .......which I find very ironic considering its price and supposed extra weather sealing in the advertisements.
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