Winter Photography Safety – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

I briefly discussed cold weather photography in a previous tip. Today I will expand on that a little more.

In my tip on not being a fair weather photographer I talked about keeping spare batteries inside your coat to keep them warm. I also suggested that you do not take your camera out of your bag for several hours so that the camera can become acclimatized to the warm temperatures. As the warm, moist air condenses on your cold equipment, the condensation formed on the camera could cause potential problems including shorting of the electrical circuits. Keeping the camera in the bag will allow the condensation to form on the exterior of the bag rather than than your expensive equipment. Some people even recommend putting the entire camera bag in a large, plastic bag to help prevent damage due to condensation.

Something else to consider when shooting in cold weather though is personal protection. With freezing temperatures comes possibility of frost bite. Proper protection for your body is a must. I like to layer my clothing, and wear a lot of it, to be sure that I will stay warm. When shooting in cold temperatures, I wear thermal long johns to keep my legs warm with my regular heavy pants I use for photography and will layer an extra pair of winter, lined and windproof snow pants which are great for lying in the snow for low level views of the winter surroundings or just keeping me warm in below freezing temperatures..

For my body, I wear a moisture wicking layer first such as those used in many popular sporting clothing lines to draw moisture away from my body, followed by multiple layers of clothing. Proper foot wear is a must, not only for traction on ice and snow, but for warmth and water resistance. I wear a pair of thin Thinsulate gloves that allow me to easily operate the controls on my camera plus also a pair of wool mitts for added warmth. The mitts feature fingertips that flip backward to expose the thin glove when shooting, but are quickly flipped back over the fingers for warmth. A wool toque keeps my head warm and in very cold weather, also use a balaclava for added protection.

Above all things, safety should come first in your photography. Be aware of your surroundings. Snow can cover up a lot of dangers, including thin ice. The thrill of getting a great photographs in the winter quickly diminishes when you start to get wet or cold, then all the fun of photography is lost. Have fun in the winter, there are many great photographs to find, but be safe and warm when doing it.

Until next time, happy shooting.

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