Tips for Cold Weather Photography

By Ellen Bedrosian

We’ve had a few snowfalls already, and I hope some of you have ventured outside and braved the lower temperatures to capture some images. Is there anything more peaceful than a white blanket covering pine trees, open fields or mountains? Unfortunately for me, I’ve been sick with bronchitis and missed taking advantage of the last snowfall. But I hope to be fully recovered soon, conquer my dislike of cold weather, and try my hand at capturing some winter scenes.

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Some of our members are taking a trip out to Yellowstone this month (see inside for photo of them), but you don’t have to venture far from home to get some nice winter photos. This photo was taken at a park near my home last year, and even though it didn’t do very well in competition, I learned that I have to underexpose the image so that the whites don’t get blown out.

Just like our bodies work overtime to keep warm, so do our camera batteries. Although it’s always a good practice to bring extra batteries whenever you go out shooting, it’s especially crucial when shooting in colder temperatures since batteries tend to drain faster in the cold. You can store the extra batteries in an inside coat or pants pocket so that your body temperature keeps them warm and ready to use.

Bring plenty of Ziploc bags with you. Not only will it protect your camera from the elements in case it’s snowing, it also protects the electrical components of your camera when you bring it inside. When you bring your camera into a warm room after it’s been out in the cold, condensation will form on the body which could travel to the inside of the camera or lens, possibly affecting the electronics. If you put the camera in a sealed bag before coming inside and leave it in the bag until it comes to room temperature, condensation will collect on the bag, not your camera.

Make sure you take care of yourself too by dressing in layers and keeping your face, hands and head warm. Some photographers like to use gloves with fingertips that can be removed. Others prefer hand warmers for between-shot warm ups. Still others try to use as many presets as possible so that they don’t have to expose fingers to the cold. It’s also important if you’re shooting in zero temps to protect your face from the cold camera body. Some people have gotten skin injuries from cold cameras, so wear a face mask or be sure not to put your face right next to the camera.

Remember to look up! Without summer or fall foliage to conceal them, many birds become more visible. I saw this raptor in a park near my house, and even though it’s not a very good photo, it still was a thrill to see it.

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Enjoy your forays into the winter landscapes. Here’s an article to give you some more creative ideas for your snow photography.

Just got a photo of the gang in Yellowstone. Back row, l-r: Joe Giordano, Reggie Smith, Jeff Norton. Front row: Jerry Fornarotto, Dave Jenkins, Tibor Vari

the gang

 

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1 Comments

  1. Frank V. Ferrer

    Reply

    Interesting article. I learned some new things. Thanks for the info. By the way, the snow in the first photo looks fine to me.

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