If you’re truly passionate about digital photography, then you shouldn’t let weather or the seasons limit your photography opportunities. There are many great outdoor photos to take during the winter. The landscape you photographed when the weather was warm and the world was green and in bloom can be just as compelling when covered with snow and ice. Before you head into the winter wonderland with your digital camera, you’ll want to learn a few precautions to protect your equipment from the extreme elements.
1. Your first line of defense is to carry your digital camera in a black, weatherproof camera bag. Black absorbs light and its heat, so the inside of the bag and your equipment will be a bit warmer than the outside air. Warmer batteries last longer.
2. Your camera needs at least an hour in the black bag to equalize the temperature of the equipment with the outdoors. You might want to place it in an unheated garage for a while, and your car for another half hour before you expose the camera directly to the cold air. Take your warm camera immediately into the cold air and moisture will start to accumulate on the outside, but it may also enter the inside of your camera.
3. Place extra batteries in your camera bag because the cold can damage the battery in your camera.
4. Make sure a UV filter is attached to each lens. The sun may be low in the sky during winter, but your lenses and camera sensor still need to be protected from direct sunlight and the light reflecting from the snow or ice.
5. Be prepared for moisture and changes in humidity.
• Never place your camera bag, and certainly your camera, on snow or ice. The freezing air can penetrate the bag or camera body and freeze any moisture. This is likely to damage your lens, sensor and battery permanently.
• Don’t handle your digital camera with wet, or even partially wet gloves. The moisture could be transferred to the inside of your camera.
• Use a second pair of dry gloves just to take digital photos of winter scenes.
• Include a dry wipe or cloth in your bag, so you can remove moisture from wet gloves or the outside of your camera.
6. If you plan a winter digital photography adventure, then you may want to invest in a camera body case that will help it retain more heat and stop any moisture from entering it. You may be able to fashion a temporary wrap from plastic bags.
7. Even if you follow all of the tips above, the inside of your digital camera may still become wet. You don’t want to think about accidentally dropping your camera in a snow bank or icy stream, but it could happen. Keep your head and follow these steps.
• Retrieve it from its wet dunking immediately.
• Check the outside for any damage.
• Take your camera indoors.
• Detach the lens from the camera body and any filters from the lenses.
• Remove any attachments, such as a flash.
• Unfasten all of the camera’s openings (batteries, etc.) to expose the inside to the warm air. You can also use a hairdryer at its coolest setting, and then blow the air across the camera to help the moisture evaporate. As a final step, you can place the wet camera in a plastic bag with the silicon packets from your camera bag. They will absorb moisture.
You can’t be afraid to expose your DSLR, or any digital, camera to the elements because that is often where you’ll find the best subjects for your digital photos. Put the tips in this article into practice and you’ll know how to protect your camera and also capture beautiful pictures of any winter wonderland.