Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cold weather camera gear tips

Photo 1 (above): Forest shadows in winter, Bruce Peninsula.

Photo 2 (above): A very old photo of me (10 years ago, or so?) photographing ground birds near a feeder in winter.

A few people have emailed me this week asking how to deal with the effects of cold weather on camera gear. Here are the two most important things I've learned from plenty of days photographing in chilly temps:

1. Keep spare batteries (for your camera or flash) in you inner jacket/fleece pocket so they're close to your body heat. Swap your batteries periodically to ensure you have enough juice to keep photographing!

2. To prevent condensation (fogging up) of your gear when you come in from the cold, keep the gear in your camera pack and put the whole thing in a plastic bag. Leave it for a few hours so the gear acclimatizes slowly and there's no sudden contact with warm air to cause condensation. There's no problem when you go from warm to cold, it's only when you come back in!

I'm fairly particular about keeping my camera gear at a relatively stable temperature when I'm on outdoor photo shoots. It's not good to have it continually fluctuating in temperature - which can cause condensation - so I usually keep my gear (batteries excluded) in the trunk of the car.

In a future tip, I'll tell you all about tips for dressing for cold weather - including specific things geared towards photography.... this is something that we Canadian photographers know well!


  1. I love the depth of that first shot. The second one is cool (no pun intended) too!


  2. Great advice...thanks Ethan!
    Some good questions coming your way I guess.

  3. Thanks guys! Ed, I'm glad you asked the questions... helped inspire me to do the post!

  4. I used one of your photos in my english power point on the occupation that we wanted to become. i just wanted to let you know.
    Tiffany. Aynor, South Carolina

  5. Hi Tiffany,
    Thanks for letting me know. For future reference, you should always check in advance before using a photo to avoid a violation of copyright laws.