Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Shooting

I made a few comments about shooting in cooler weather in my last post, but I thought I would make a few more. The first step is to protect yourself, after all you are the one taking the pictures! Make sure you have a good jacket, gloves, pants, a warm hat or tuque and shoes. A good tuque and a warm pare of shoes can make a big difference, as your head is the primary exit point of heat from your body. If you keep your feet warm with a good pare of shoes and gloves, then you don't have to worry about frost bite, which is important if you want to be able to walk away from your photo shoot.

My favorite form of photography in winter is landscapes, because snow and ice transform the look of the land in a way that no other season does. It is a good time of year to experiment with black and white photography, as snowy landscapes highlights contrast in different areas that might not be otherwise. Of course, if you live in an area like I do, then snow isn't something you see a lot of, which some years is disappointing. Then again, last winter we had over 70cm of snow in under a month, which was very unusual for the Great Vancouver area. The winter season will be different in the Vancouver area this year, with the Winter Olympics coming in February, so lets hope we have some snow mid-winter, however it is unlikely.

As for protecting your camera from the cold, there isn't a lot you can do. If possible, tuck your camera inside your jacket to keep it warm. Carry a spare battery in your pocket, because in cool weather you'll find your battery will run down a lot quicker, and may cut the life of the battery by more than half of normal operating use depending on how cold it is. Wipe condensation off your lenses, because not only do you not want to see fog in your images (unless it is foggy out), it can also lead to fungus in your lenses if not taken care of. When you come back from shooting, if you are in a humid area, put your camera in a plastic bag before bringing it inside a warm building, or condensation will form on the body and your lenses, which could damage them. This is less of a concern if you have weather and dust sealed camera bodies and lenses.  

Enjoy your winter shooting!