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Cold Weather Shooting Tips?

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #839
    millera9
    Participant

    Anyone have any?

    I’m flying to Alaska next week to help rescue a friend who thought he was gonna stay through the winter and then realized that he was:

    1.) Really freaking cold
    2.) Really lonely without friends and family
    and
    3.) Not working in the field that he originally intended.

    He has his truck up there with him so we’re going to have ourselves a little road-trip type adventure. Orrrr we’re going to freeze to death in a ditch. Either way I plan to take an assload of pictures. Anything I need to know about shooting in the bitter cold? Any camera-related supplies I absolutely must purchase before I go?

    I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologize to GalleyWench. I made fun of your cold weather in a couple of posts previously from my comparatively tropical apartment in San Diego and this his how karma repays me. So yeah, I suck *prostrates self*.

    #7859
    schnee
    Participant

    batteries (and film) in pockets until needed. Let lenses acclimate (if you take a lens from the warmth of a truck into the cold outside, it will fog).

    gloves with a finger cut out, but save that finger and use it as a removable sleeve. Protect yourself – hat, dress in layers, don’t forget good socks and boots.

    /ah, what do I know, I’m in Texas…

    #7860
    staplermofo
    Participant

    If it’s really cold, wear rubber gloves. They’ll keep your hands from drying out and will keep you warm from wind, and the extra grip is handy.

    If you crochet a lil cozy for your camera you’ll never use it because everyone just laughs at you, in a mean-spirited way.

    *runs off crying*

    #7861
    Curious
    Participant

    batteries (and film) in pockets until needed. Let lenses acclimate (if you take a lens from the warmth of a truck into the cold outside, it will fog).

    gloves with a finger cut out, but save that finger and use it as a removable sleeve. Protect yourself – hat, dress in layers, don’t forget good socks and boots.

    /ah, what do I know, I’m in Texas…

    and i’m in southeast LA but i agree with schnee. maybe not so much about the glove finger thing though. there i’d lean toward staplermofo. personally i think you can manipulate a DSLR with gloves on. the lens fogging can and will occur if the temp difference is big enough. and warm batteries and film help both of them.

    you didn’t say just where your friend is but i’m betting the roads will be bad, at least compared to what you normally see. and i don’t mean san diego but what we consider “winter” roads in the lower 48. and services will be few and far between. be careful.

    #7862
    staplermofo
    Participant

    What kind of camera will you be using anyway?

    I’m guessing a Canon A700.
    If you have lil filter-using adapter thiny that’ll really come in handy. It’s a lot safer and easier to wipe off a 52mm filter than its lens. A cheap 3rd party solution would protect your lens from fog and frost for like $25. A lil silicon caulk on the edges makes a water-tight seal (on the adapter thingy, not your camera, it comes off easily too). Just make sure you put it on in zero humidity.

    #7863
    millera9
    Participant

    Yeah, the trusty A700 is going with me because it’s all I own. I figure it’s better anyway since DSLR’s don’t fit readily into pockets.

    I went on a little spending spree at REI today and found a great pair of heavy gloves with a thin little liner. I can manipulate all the buttons on my camera through the gloves. So I think I’m covered there.

    stapler that filter idea is brilliant! I’ll hit the camera shop after Christmas and see what they’ve got. Thanks man! Also, if I knew how to crochet, I would totally crochet you a little pink case for your camera and send it to you…but alas, I do not know how to crochet…

    Curious I’ve been reading up on highway conditions and travel guides to get a feel for what I’ve managed to step into and I’m trying to look at this trip as an opportunity for adventure. There is, however, a tiny little voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you’re gonna die stupid!” Meh, I’ve ignored that voice before…

    Like I said… no matter what happens I’m going to take a bunch of pictures and if it comes down to it, the last thing I’ll do is leave a note on my camera for whoever finds it directing them to post all the pictures to farktography.net. 🙂

    #7864
    zeke
    Participant

    If it’s really cold, wear rubber gloves. They’ll keep your hands from drying out and will keep you warm from wind, and the extra grip is handy.

    On the flip side, bring corn starch powder for your boots. You want to keep your feet dry, especially if you’re tromping around in the snow. Cold+snow+wet feet == frostbite.

    #7865
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Well you’ve definitely gotten good camera/photography advice, but I definitely second the “Be Careful”. As someone who grew up in the Midwest where there are occasional blizzards, I know how dangerous it can be driving in those conditions, and like Curious said, it will probably be much worse up in Alaska and Canada. Snow isn’t so bad because there’s still some grip to it, but ice can be treacherous. Whatever you do, do *not* attempt to make sudden stops. Take your foot off the gas and coast where possible, letting the car slow on its own, and when you do need to brake, brake sloooooooooooooowly. Sometimes roads that look clear can have ice on them (called “black ice”) that you can’t see till you skid out on it. These are not the highways to drive 90 on 😉 If you happen to skid, turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid, then as the car skids back around the other side, turn the wheel back to that side and try to even things out. Pack some snacks in case you find yourselves on a long lonely stretch of road without food. Ultimately be careful, be smart, don’t die…you’re much too young for that 😉 But do bring us back some awesome pictures!

    Btw, you’ve probably already covered this, but do you have your birth certificate and/or passport? It won’t be an issue when you land in Alaska, but it will be when you cross into Canada and then back into the US.

    #7866
    millera9
    Participant

    Zeke that’s a good one, I hadn’t thought of it at all. I’ll go buy some.

    Elsinore my end of the driving doesn’t scare me at all. I grew up in an off-roading, truck-driving kind of family and I’ve got a fair amount of experience on snow and ice. It’s the whole being a passenger while someone else drives that worries me…

    I will most certainly be taking my passport with me. I had a bad experience at the Washington/Canada border once and I won’t be repeating that mistake!

    Thanks all, keep the advice coming, I need all the help I can get!

    #7867
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Elsinore my end of the driving doesn’t scare me at all. I grew up in an off-roading, truck-driving kind of family and I’ve got a fair amount of experience on snow and ice. It’s the whole being a passenger while someone else drives that worries me…

    Hmmm…then perhaps suggest gently that your driving experience would be very useful and that you’d *love* to help out in that way as much as humanly possible 😉

    Your friend is aware that he can put his car on a barge and fly south, right? 😉

    Or suggest that 😉

    One other tip I’ve seen if you’re out in the cold shooting and come into a warm house or car is to put your camera in a sealed ziplock bag until it warms up. Supposedly that helps keep condensation from forming inside your camera/lenses. I’m not sure if/why that would work, but I’ve seen it mentioned in several places.

    #7868
    millera9
    Participant

    GalleyWench. I made fun of your cold weather in a couple of posts previously from my comparatively tropical apartment in San Diego and this his how karma repays me. So yeah, I suck *prostrates self*.

    Pffft. That cold snap we had here a couple of weeks ago was unusual, but I’m assuming you’re going farther north. Are you going to drive the whole way or do a combo drive and ferry trip?

    Cool animated map, only it’s going the other way: http://www.teamd.org/rallys/2004/alcan/routeoverview.htm

    Your friend is aware that he can put his car on a barge and fly south, right? 😉

    Yeah, he’s aware. It’s just that he’s broke, and doesn’t want to pay for the ferry and plane ticket. Yeah. For the record, he’s in Whittier. Thanks for the map! One of these days, me and my Subaru are gonna do that rally! It’s good to see that all that ground can be covered in 9 days (assuming good weather).

    Elsinore I’ll be sure to pack the ziplock bags! Thanks much!

    #7869
    anneb
    Participant

    How far away from the coast are you going, i.e. what sorts of temps are you planning to run into?

    When I was out shooting nighttime (HS) football this fall, I bumped into several other photographers who had combo gloves-mittens, gloves like biking gloves, where the fingers only go up to the first knuckle, or so, and then a mitten that flapped on top of it like a hinged lid. I have been told “Hunting supply stores.” I just haven’t gotten out to really look for a pair, yet, because now it’s basketball season, and I’ve gotten distracted. One of the other photogs also recommended those insta-heat-packs for my boots. (My boots are not insulated, something that was not fun for me when field temps hovered right around freezing most of the game)

    However, in general, hunting supply or military surplus shops are going to have a lot of good warm weather gear. Shooting rifles or camera both may mean lots of staking out in the cold, and needing to have lots of finger dexterity and visibility. The same guy who recommended the hunting supply was able to keep his 10yo nice and toasty warm with him on the sidelines. Go get yourself a good pair of insulated, heavily lined boots. Warm feet make all the differenc.

    And I second what schnee said about popping the batteries out to keep them warm- when I was living in MN, I would walk around with the battery actually in my glove, right up against my hand, and I’d pop it in to shoot.

    #7870
    millera9
    Participant

    Thanks anneb!

    I went out and bought a nice pair of boots yesterday along with some real heavy socks and boot-liners. According to the forecast we shouldn’t get too far below about -10C but we’ll see how it goes. In any case I’m going to make sure the batteries are out whenever I’m not shoothing so they’ll stay warm.

    #7871
    monkeybort
    Participant

    have fun miller – sounds like a great road trip! shoot lots and drive safely and check in when you get a chance!!

    #7872
    millera9
    Participant

    Thanks very much for the help everyone! I think I’m fairly prepared. My flight leaves tomorrow way early so as soon as I eat my dinner I’m sacking out. I will check in when I can and you can damn-well bet that I’ll take a lot of photos. I’m going to send some pictures to Elsinore next week and she’s going to post them to the contest for me. Hope all’s well and have a good new-year’s eve everyone!

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