tips to protect our photographic equipment from snow and intense cold.
Snow and cold have become the protagonists of this winter (although it may seem strange, it has not been the case in recent winters) and it can also be from your photos, taking advantage of the snowfalls that have covered a good part of the country. For this reason, many of you may have considered going out to take photos and are wondering if you should take some kind of previous precautions. The answer is yes, and the measures to take we will tell you.
Of how protect our equipment It is something we have talked about at length, generally offering advice on how to take care of the material in different adverse conditions and what should not be missing in the backpack. Of course we have also offered you more creative type tips on how to take advantage of unfavorable weather conditions or how to take advantage of winter weather to get good photos of snow and / or cold (like these or these others).
But this time we are going to focus on the protection of the camera and other equipment in snowy conditions and intense cold, which are the ones that many of you can find out there right now and where, of course, you can get great photos if you follow these recommendations.
First of all, ourselves
This is like the oxygen masks of airplanes and children, before putting yours on the little one we have to put ours on. Well, before thinking about protecting our camera we should think about protect ourselves, so that the enthusiasm for taking photos does not translate into a cooling of our body that makes us sick. Also, think that even if you only plan to take a short walk, adverse conditions could cause (for various and varied circumstances) that you would have to stay outside for longer than expected.
As you can imagine, the first tip is keep warm (The onion strategy – I mean, in layers – is highly recommended), taking special care with the most vulnerable parts such as the chest and head (through which a good part of the body’s heat evaporates). And as regards the strictly photographic, you have to have special care with the hands, that by handling the camera we may lead to the discovery causing them to suffer the effects of low temperatures.
That is why it is advisable to get specific gloves for photographers. Long ago the well-known Lowepro included specific ones in its catalog but they disappeared, probably at the same time that the tactile gloves designed to be able to use smartphones. Thus, today it is not difficult to find gloves of this type with prices for all pockets that allow the use of touch screens and, therefore, are useful to better handle the camera.
Thanks to them we will keep our hands warm, which will help to endure the session better and will also prevent an eventual trembling of the fingers that, of course, can harm our shots. Of course, no matter how good the gloves are, the handling will not be as if we were not wearing them, so you will have to get used to it (for which some previous practice before leaving will not hurt).
And then the team
Once we have our own protection covered, it is time to take care of the camera and other photographic equipment. Think that in these conditions we will have to face two fundamental problems: low temperatures and humidity caused by snow and / or fog. Faced with this eventuality, the first thing to consider is whether we have a camera that is sealed against the elements, something that many models already offer.
If this is the case, we will have enough cattle, although we will have to make sure the specifications that the chamber declares, because not all of them withstand any operating temperature nor should it be neglected even if the chamber declares to be sealed. On the other hand, it is very important to think that the camera will not act alone (we are talking about interchangeable lens cameras) but, at least, with one lens. And if this not equally sealed It will be of little use if the camera is.
For these cases and for cameras that are not sealed (and even for those that are), the best recommendation is to get a waterproof protective case (We taught you this for a long time) or failing that, make one at home.
The idea, of course, is to try to keep our camera as safe from humidity as possible. Let’s think that, although it may not seem like it, the snow in the end turns into water in one way or another with which humidity is more than guaranteed. As for the cold, the best advice is to keep the camera in the bag for as long as possible or protect it with our own clothing, although the danger of condensation will be there.
Condensation, an enemy
Even if our camera is resistant to cold and water, the sharp difference in temperature can cause condensation. And this can potentially lead to moisture inside the camera or lens causing all kinds of problems. To avoid this, it is very useful to resort to those silica sachets that usually come in the boxes of cameras, lenses and other electronic devices when we buy them and that are responsible for absorbing moisture. They should never be missing in our backpack, less if we are going to take photos in environments like the ones we are counting.
Anyway, before putting the camera away is convenient to dry it well with our clothes or, better, with a clean, dry cloth. If it has become obviously wet, we will leave it wrapped in a dry cloth or we will put it in a plastic bag with a hermetic seal next to some silica bag or, failing that, with rice (which also absorbs moisture).
On the other hand, once we have finished the session and we are covered and warm we should not neglect ourselves. If we remove the camera too quickly, condensation may occur caused by the heat of the place, so if you are not in a hurry, better let the team acclimatize at the new temperature for a long time before removing it from the case.
Be careful with batteries
Finally, there is another piece of equipment that can suffer especially from the inclement winter if we are not careful. And it is this small but crucial element, since without it we will not be able to take photos. We are talking, indeed, of batteries, an accessory that tends to perform much worse in extreme temperatures, conditions that cause their autonomy to be shortened or, directly, to be downloaded.
For this reason, in addition to having a spare unit, it is advisable to keep all that we carry somewhere in the backpack or, better, in one inside pocket from the jacket where they remain “warm”, and only remove them when they are to be used. In this way, we will ensure that they are not downloaded and work for as long as possible.
With this we have finished hoping that our advice is enough to encourage you to face the harsh conditions imposed by cold and snow. And, of course, do not suffer any mishap such as your computer freezing, for which you should carry out a careful defrosting process that we hope you will not have to do. In any case, we encourage you to go out to take winter photos without fear. And if you are one of those who (as a server) takes the cold badly, think that at least it will help you to take good photos.
Cover photo | Thom holmes