Camera Care During Winter

Camera care during winter is one of the most important things to know when the cooler temperatures come upon us each year. While most people want to stay warm and cozy in their home throughout the winter, there are a large number of people who actually look forward to the winter temperatures and snowy mountains.  Such folks enjoy skiing and skating and the dramatic scenery available during the coldest part of the year. And these people very much look to proper camera care during winter.

Proper camera care doesn’t only mean packaging and placing your camera in it’s bag, nice and snug. Camera care is a long term strategy to look after your camera for the rest of you life. Proper camera care also means knowing what temperatures youre camera will function in, until it hits critical level wher your camera ceases to function. When you begin your camera care routine, it’s imperative that you understand your camera model, and the conditions that the battery can realistically tolerate.

Effective camera care means that you can be fully involved in winter photography. As winter time  presents many excellent opportunities for interesting and beautiful photographs; it is also a great way to capture some amazing sports photographs as well. There are many tips and tricks for taking images of winter scenery and activities, but among the most important are those dedicated to ensuring the proper camera care which security and performance of the camera itself comes into play.

When you begin your camera care, you’ll find that one issue many people are unaware of is the effect of cold weather on batteries. Regardless of whether a camera is a fully automated digital marvel, or a standard SLR, it will contain a battery of some kind or another. Though cold preserves the life of old-fashioned camera film, it reduces the function of batteries – hence the reason that people keep film in their fridge! Unfortunately, this means that a digital camera’s performance can be greatly impacted by the temperatures outside. Proper camera care means knowing how long you can expose your camera to the cold. It also meansknowing when you must come inside into the warmth again.

Many professional photographers camera care strategy involves have special insulated camera bags for the occasions when their equipment is travelling with them into a harsh or cold climate. Of course, amateur and “everyday” photographers are not likely to own such accessories, so it is recommended that a digital camera be kept in an interior pocket and not hung from the neck or placed in the outer pocket of a winter coat. This is for several reasons in addition to battery depletion.

Apart from decreasing or entirely killing the camera’s battery, the winter doesn’t mean simply cold air, it means snow as well, and cameras don’t function well when either cold or wet. Keeping a camera relatively warm and dry means keeping it functioning properly and free from damage.

Interestingly, camera care also means we needto be aware of heat too. Keeping a camera too warm can also cause some problems in the outdoors, namely “lens fogging”. This occurs when the camera is brought from one extreme to another too fast – meaning from a pocket to the cold air – which then causes the lens to fog up. Repeatedly exposing lenses to such conditions may cause damage, so a good balance is necessary in order to protect the camera and lens from any long-term problems.

Finally, chattering teeth and trembling are frequently issues when outdoors for any length of time during the winter months. This can mean a shaky hand and a blurry photograph and a photographer should invest in a lightweight, portable tripod for the times when they require a steady, albeit cold hand. A spare set of batteries is also a good choice when enjoying winter photography as well.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (11)

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  1. Caitlyn says:

    Amy, I”m travelling to the North in about 6 weeks to spend Christmas in Maine, it does get cold there. I wondered what camera bag I should buy.

  2. John Andrews says:

    At what point does a camera battery freeze?

    • To overcome the problem, the photographer just has to consider the primary issue, which is the humidity. When the relative humidity is low, the risks of condensation tend to decrease. This, however, does not mean that the problems disappear altogether. This means that a photographer has to make some plans for taking the camera to and from the cold weather in ways that allow it to acclimate and function. Unfortunately, this acclimation is often a lengthy process.

  3. Ruhni says:

    Much thank you for article and photograph units.

  4. Angela says:

    That’s a really handy article, thanks.

  5. George says:

    I was wondering how your battery goes in the heat? How hot does it have to get, or how long can use use it in the heat, before it ceases to function?

  6. Matt says:

    One of the best websites on photograpgy. Thanks.

  7. Lorna says:

    What a fantastic article, thank you for your expertise.

  8. Hugh says:

    What good advice and easy reading. Related question: although it never gets below about 50F where I live, the humidity can reach heights of 90%… what, if any, is the best way to store batteries, full or half discharged or discharged? I suppose in any climatic situation?


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