Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm not much of a fan of winter. I don't mind dealing with it when winter conditions are "normal", especially when I'm out there on my own terms, say, hunting or fishing.

But it's another matter entirely when you've got to be out there in sub-zero conditions we're now experiencing, regardless of whether one's working or playing. In any case, mom had good advice: wear a warm hat, gloves, and boots.

Taking photographs outside when it's this cold is a lot of work and takes some special precautions. Naturally, wearing gloves makes it hard to make camera adjustments. I wear glasses so dealing with frost on them can be a pain.

And likewise, condensation from going from a cold car to a warm building is always a possibility so on the coldest days, I bring my gear inside. (And keep it in the bag so that the condensation occurs on that instead of the lenses or cameras).

In the old days of film, the watchword was slow down. Film got brittle in very cold temperatures, requiring that we rewind our film back very carefully. And just like with our cars, batteries lost power. Today's digital cameras don't use film and the lithium batteries remain remarkably functional in cold weather. Still, I noticed that the spec sheets for the lithium batteries we use warn against using them below 32 degrees F and 104 degrees F. I'm guessing who ever designed the batteries never lived in Minnesota during January.

Fortunately, old habits die hard, and I still find myself slipping my camera inside my parka and next to my body when I'm outside shooting photographs for extended periods on days like today to keep the batteries strong.


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