Earthbound Light - Nature Photography from the Pacific Northwest and beyond by Bob Johnson
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Photo Tip of the Week

It's Winter!

Having just returned from spending Christmas in Yosemite National Park, I thought it would be appropriate to pass on a few helpful hints for shooting in cold weather:

  • Remember that snow is white and that your camera's meter will try to render it as medium gray unless you compensate.
  • Use lithium batteries. They'll last a lot longer than alkaline. Your flash will recycle much faster too with lithium batteries.
  • If it's below freezing, resist the temptation to blow dust off your lens. Your breath will freeze on the glass — definitely not fun.
  • Most modern cameras are reasonably snow resistant, but if it's snowing hard, you might use something to shield your gear while shooting. An ordinary umbrella works well but does take a hand to hold. You can also buy commercial rain hoods for your camera and lens (Kirk and LL Rue carry good ones made by A. Laird for instance). A cheaper solution is to drape a plastic bag over the camera. You can safely fold the bag so it ends a bit short of the end of the lens hood.
  • Cary a towel to dry off your equipment just in case.
  • Watch out for snow getting in your camera bag. The darned stuff is everywhere.
  • Invest in some gloves without fingertips. They let you to manipulate the camera controls without freezing your hands.
  • If you can afford it, get a carbon-fiber tripod. They don't conduct cold nearly as much as aluminum ones do. If you do have an aluminum tripod, wrap the outer leg segments with pipe insulation.
  • Be careful walking on ice so you don't slip and fall. "Black ice" can be dangerous. I'm speaking from experience here, if you know what I mean.

Date posted: December 30, 2001


Copyright © 2001 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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It's Winter ... Again!
Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Gloom of Night

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