If you are planning for the first time to take pictures in a very cold environment and even in the snow, chances are you are looking for information not to damage your camera. Water, in general, can harm cameras. Especially in the mountains, water is in all its forms. The water is present in the form of snow, then liquid when it melts, but also in the form of tiny particles of water in the air. So you’re wondering: how to protect my camera from the cold and snow?
To answer this question, I am going to give your 6 simple tips you can do to take good care of your camera in these difficult weather conditions.
Equip yourself against the cold
The first thing, which may seem trivial, is to protect yourself properly. The cold, freezing your trembling fingers prevents you from triggering your photos without moving your device.
To prevent this, you must be properly equipped. It is obviously not with mittens or with ski gloves that you will be most comfortable. To maintain good dexterity, you need gloves that are easy to handle.
You can use for example silk gloves, which are usually used as ski under gloves. Although they may seem too thin, they will make all the difference with bare hands.
Special gloves for photography
Then you can also equip yourself with special gloves for photography, since they are open on the index finger and thumb. They will allow you to stay warmer than with silk gloves and will allow you even more precision in your movements and settings.
Chemical hand warmer
If you go on an expedition for a while and it is very cold, it will be very useful to have chemical hand warmers in your bag. If you are not used to skiing, you may not know what it is? I explain in a few words: they are small pockets that allow to spread heat for a while. It must be “clipped” for the chemical reaction to be working. They are placed in gloves or shoes depending on the area to be heated. The heaters are reusable, just leave them 10 minutes in boiling water to give them a new life.
For the photo in cold weather as well as for skiing, the heaters can revive your frozen fingers! I found these on Amazon who have very good consumer reviews, even if their visual is not very attractive at first glance.
Plan your photo shoot in advance
Usually, you would be tempted to walk around and discover cool places to take pictures. Except that if the cold is really chilling and you want to protect yourself and your camera, shorten your outing!
The best way to do this is to prepare well in advance. Think before you go out to the type of photos you want to make. If you plan to shoot with a model, think in advance about the photos you would like to make. What shots, what angle, what pose for the model, which frame, where, etc. These are all questions you need to ask yourself. If you can, do not hesitate to spot the places before your shooting, to save even more time.
If you know what kind of pictures to make, you can also make the main settings of your camera in advance, before going out. With which lens are you going to shoot? Aperture (Av) / Speed (Tv) priority mode or Manual mode? What depth of field? How much ISO? These are basic questions that will save you from having to make these adjustments under the snow. Once there, you will simply adjust according to the first results obtained.
Have at least one battery backup
Batteries have very low resistance in the cold, they even empty themselves with low temperatures. To avoid running out of battery, always go out with two fully charged batteries.
While the first battery is positioned inside the camera, the second battery should not be too exposed to cold, otherwise it will be empty even before you have used it. It should not be in the backpack but rather in an inside pocket of your jacket or in a pocket of your pants, where it can be kept warm. If you do not have an inside pocket or a pocket in your pants, you can also trigger a chemical hand warmer and put it in your outer jacket pocket. This will save you if you are really running out of battery.
For my Canon 700D, I bought this pack of two extra batteries on Amazon and I am very satisfied. The batteries hold good and the price is downright competitive compared to the price of the Canon brand batteries.
Protect your camera against condensation
Suddenly changing the temperature between hot and cold causes condensation. It can infiltrate into your camera and eventually damage it.
In addition to damaging the internal parts, condensation can also cause fog on your lens, making it impossible to take pictures. If this happens to you, there is not much to do except wait.
So you understand that you must protect yourself against condensation. To do this, avoid making your camera experience sudden changes in temperature. A very simple way is to put your camera in a plastic bag and in a backpack. When you will be outside, your camera will cool gradually because the backpack will act as an insulator. After waiting a few minutes (10-15 minutes), you can finally take out your camera.
During the photo shooting, avoid breathing directly on the camera, as this adds moisture and a temperature difference that can cause damage. Try not to stick too much to the camera during your shooting.
Once back from your photo shoot, do not rush to take your camera out of your bag and show your photos to the whole family! On the contrary, you will have to apply the same technique as for going out. Leave your device in your backpack for 1 to 2 hours so that its temperature rises gradually. Do not open your backpack until this time has elapsed.
Protect your camera from snow falls
If it snows, you must not only think of condensation problems, but also snow deposits on the camera. These can melt and the water can infiltrate into your camera. It is therefore important to protect it. For this, there is the “pro” solution and the “home made” solution.
The pro solution : have a protection cover
Nowadays, there are waterproof protective covers that can prevent snow or rain from seeping into your case or into the lens.
The home made solution : make a protection yourself
If your photo shoot is today or tomorrow, you certainly do not have time to buy a protective cover. So you have to find a solution to create your own protection! This was my case for example when I did a shoot in the mountains. So I used a simple garbage bag, which I opened on the bottom to leave space for the lens.
Protect your lens
Some optics are not waterproof enough for rain or snow, unless equipped with a filter on the front.
For my Tokina 11-16mm, a transparent protection filter as in the picture below can be added. It protects not only from water, but also from scratches and shocks, which can be useful for devices that are particularly exposed to it. When traveling, having your device around your neck all the time, you can quickly take a shock, and a simple accessory like this can save your camera.
Have a waterproof backpack
If you go out walking, go hiking, snowshoeing, go skiing or something else, you absolutely need a suitable bag and therefore waterproof. Do not take the risk of putting your camera in a bag that is not waterproof at all, because you may regret it in case of snow or rain.
A mountaineering backpack of this type would, for example, work very well.
I used an equivalent backpack to ski out with my camera, and I had no problem. Taking a ski trip with a camera allows access to truly wonderful and very diverse landscapes. If you have the level that allows it, I recommend you do it, even for half a day. However, do not take unnecessary risks, as a fall on your back can be fatal to your camera.
This blogpost on How to protect your camera against cold and snow is now over, I hope it will help you to prepare your photoshoot !
It was the second article in a series on the theme of the mountain. Read also: How to photograph snow and snowy landscapes? Coming soon: How to make a photo shoot under the snow with a model?
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See you soon and don’t forget !
Practice makes perfect