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Thread: Cold Weather Camera Care?

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    Member tull777's Avatar
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    Exclamation Cold Weather Camera Care?

    How do you all take care of your equipment while out in the cold weather. Any precautions? Do you bag them once you come in from the cold? What about preparing the equipment for the cold environment before you go out?



    I drive around a lot, I'm in and out of the rig all day long ...warm and into the cold and back into the warm rig ...is this bad for the equipment?

    How about hand warmers between a lens sock and lens?

    Thanks in advance.

    http://www.pbase.com/tull777

    http://www.eddiefisherphoto.com/


    "If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out. ....."Tight Lines & Best Fishes"

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    Default

    I either allow mine to warm back up very slowly or put it into a large zip lock bag and seal it to prevent condesation.
    External battery packs are good and I had them for my old 35 mm gear. Lacking that keep the batteries in your pocket untill you need them.
    Tennessee

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default condensation...

    From what little I have learned since getting my first DSLR last month, condensation is the big harm for camera gear. Before you come into the house/car from being in the cold you need to put the camera into a plastic bag wrapped tight or sealed. Let it stay in it until it reaches room temperature. Otherwise, condensation can form on the inside and harm your equipment. That is the main thing I have read over and over. Lots of info on this and other topics at www.photo.net. Use the search box in the upper right and you can find info on literally anything dealing with photography. Also, in the Nature Forum, you can search on the right side and look at issues dealing with Alaska specifically. A great site.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default

    tull
    do just what danattherock said and thats how the experts tell you how to do it,I've been doing it that way my whole career ,even when I was shooting with film I would do it that way
    "Buck"

  5. #5
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Talking WowoW !!

    ahem, sorry, but I have to put in my 2 cents here, and that is all it is and it isn't even worth 2 cents. THis is just an opinion backed up with 30 years - 3 decades of experience and thousands of rolls of film.

    I do consider myself "an expert". ONLY because, of the results, which speak for themselves.

    Just because you read something on a photography forum or some photo site by any expert and professional or even KODAK for that matter,

    THAT DOES NOT MEAN.. that what they say, it true.

    has anyone ever tried this ?? Put a camera on a tripod outside @ 40 below zero and leave it there for weeks on end.

    run 100 rolls of film through that camera, (each week) & bring that camera inside where it is warm, guess what happens?? it sweats, profusely for hours and hours and hours. I have done this hundreds of times using thousands of rolls of film.

    BUT.. .. .. .. I use mechanical cameras which do NOT require any batteries, thus the camera functions properly, perfectly, every year.

    I have never lost film* or had condensation issues with any of my equipment over a 30 year span. hmmm.

    Kaptain Kodak states: you must let color film warm up, and color paper warm up, YOU CANNOT USE these products right out of the freezer..

    I have constantly been pushing the envelope so to speak with issues like this with Kodak for 40 years and I have PROVEN them wrong on a lot of issues, such as this and other "darkroom techniques".

    I do it all the time, with no condensation problems, defects etc.

    One thing I would never do, is open that camera once it was inside and sweating, did it for years with my pentax k1000 and my Mamiya RB 67.

    Now my point is this.. If it was as bad or harmful as they inisist it is ??

    then how come I have never had one issue in 30 years time here in the Arctic.

    I used to have photos of cameras encased in ice, and photos showinig the ice on them inside the house, sweating.
    But with DIGITAL I am sure that this issue is quite severe.

    but if you think putting a frozen camera inside a plastic bag is going to stop "sweating".

    I guess I will have to take some new photos of frozen cameras encased in ice and post the results here.

    I just want to know. How do you "thaw" out a camera that is encased in ice ? (3/16"). ??

    I work under the most severe conditions imaginable, that camera is outside for weeks or months at a time.

    My point is this: if you think that putting that cold, or (frozen?) camera inside a bag before you bring it inside is going to stop condensation, I'm sorry that is just not the way it works.

    Bring the camera in, let it sit & sweat, its going to take many hours. The amount of water that comes off that camera will scare you. BUT UNDER NO CONDITIONS do you ever OPEN the camera back.

    Well thirty years of experience in this, has brought me to this conclusion,
    DIGITAL cannot perform for any extended period of time, out on the ice.

    I am not putting down any one or any author or any photo site..

    what I am saying is this. Don't be afraid to check it out.. for yourself.

    I will not TRUST digital, miles out on the ocean ice. I have had digital cameras out on the ocean ice since 2003.

    They fail quickly, whereas a mechanical film (cameras) never fail me.

    well truth is.. *one camera did fail me once in 1982. I have never used THAT brand ever again.

    Cannon, Minolta, Pentax, Leica, Mamiya always worked perfectly.

    year in, year out, through 1000's of rolls of film.

    GO FIGURE !!




  6. #6
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile Get a mood light...

    YOU seem really upset. Reading over the post before you, I can not figure out why. MUST be something else. Been a long winter? Still quite a few months till break up.

    YOU do this......

    "Put a camera on a tripod outside @ 40 below zero and leave it there for weeks on end."
    "that camera is outside for weeks or months at a time."


    And IT causes this.....
    "a camera that is encased in ice ? (3/16")."

    WHAT do you EXPECT to happen??????

    You say...
    "if you think that putting that cold, or (frozen?) camera inside a bag before you bring it inside is going to stop condensation, I'm sorry that is just not the way it works"

    THAT IS exactly how it works !!! The post you responded to asked about camera use in "cold" weather. NO one in there right mind would let 3/16" of ice build up on there camera. Let alone leave it that way for week/months as you claim to do. You MUST be kidding. Please tell me YOU are not serious.

    And as far as digital camera not working in cold. RIGHT! Nature photographers the world over including Antarctica, Greenland, Siberia, etc.. use Nikon and Canon DSLR's. Yet, YOU are telling me YOU can't use one in Point Hope! You like film? Nothing wrong with that. Old habits die hard.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  7. #7
    Member tull777's Avatar
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    Default OK?

    Hmmmm Uhhhh Errrr Uhhhhh ...OK!

    http://www.pbase.com/tull777

    http://www.eddiefisherphoto.com/


    "If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out. ....."Tight Lines & Best Fishes"

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    Putting a cold camera (or anything else hard surfaced like eye glasses) in a bag when you bring it into a warm, moist place will reduce condensation from developing on the outside of the camera while it warms up. Condensation happens because the cold camera is at a lower temperature than the dew point of the air in the warmer place, and the higher moisture of the warmer air is transfered to the colder object. The same condensation happens when people down south take their camera from a cool air conditioned house outside on a hot humid day.

    If you reduce the amount of warm air that comes in contact with the camera by putting it in a bag, the condensation will be reduced. You usually don't even need a plastic bag to do this. I generally just leave the camera shut up inside my camera bag. It takes longer to warm up this way, but not much condensation develops unless I open the bag.

    All of this is partly dependent on the amount of moisture in the air. Dryer climates have less problems with condensation. But most houses have a fairly high humidity climate inside. (absolute humidity, not relative humidity)

    Mechanical cameras can generally withstand considerably more condensation that electronic ones, but it is always advised to cover them when moving them to a warmer place. In any case, if the condensation gets so bad as to form on the inside elements of a lens, it can leave water marks. If you have well made cameras & lenses, they should be tight enough to keep condensation from forming on the inside of anything unless you start focusing or zooming. That will pump moisture inside for sure.

  9. #9
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default I am very sorry and apologize

    I meant no offence and I stated so. I am not angry at all.

    I apologize for my post and I assure you, I did not express any anger that I was aware of.

    I took great care to cite what I have experienced.

    I am so sorry for my inability to express myself in a much clearer method.

    When I am out on the ocean ice on a whale hunt, I am / was out there, for months sir.

    Yes I kept one camera on a tripod 85% of the time, every morning, I would have to literally chip the ice out of the viewfinder so that I could see. My camera controls were very sluggish but they worked just fine.
    The ice that would build up would crack when I had to move any control to get it working again.

    I am not here to argue, only express what I have experienced, for many years.
    I cannot place a digital camera on a tripod and leave it there for three day, it just will not work.

    Out on the ocean ice. in Antartica, they live in buildings. When we are out on the ice, we sleep outside with no tents, and @ 30 - 50 below zero for many weeks , I can show you the results, They are posted on over 40 photo forums and this forum is just one.

    I am very sorry to offend you in my choice of words, attempting to describe a method of warming up a camera that I never had any problems with at all.
    None of my lenses ever got ruined.
    I just don't understand why your so upset at my explanation.

    My circumstances out on the ocean ice are different that what you experience where you are. sorry. no offense


  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile me too...

    Having lived in Nome and Kotzebue for two years, I thought I had an idea at least of the weather you were out in. Must say, I was wrong. I knew you were out whaling as I had seen some of your wonderful photographs. One thing I assumed (and should not have) is that you were in a tent or shelter of some kind. That is why I could not figure out why your camera would be left out for weeks at a time in that kind of weather. Also, I am pretty type A about my equipment. I read you first post biting on my lower lip most the time. In your case, I can see where putting a camera in a plastic bag would not do much good. You may need a butane torch instead. Ha ha. But most people would benefit from putting a camera in a bag before bringing it in the house as it will prevent condensation from buidling up on/in the camera. I was just having fun with you in the last post. Hope I did not offend. It was not my intention. I hope you guys have a good season. I am taking my wife to float the Wulik in Sept. We really fell in love with NW Alaska. Such a beautiful and remote place. One I am sure you are proud to call home. Post some more pictures when you can. I can speak for everyone in saying that we love them!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    (blushing), ah, thanks..whew.!!

    Let me tell you some things I have learned.

    Yes the weather was brutal at times, and extremlly difficult for me as I had no way to go back to the village. I was out there. I never thought at times that I would survive.

    Yes I froze my brain & have no problem admitting I am insane at times. but. Photography is my passion for many decades, that is the only thinig that kept me out there as i wanted to call it quits many times.

    I got 60 rolls of frozen film with me. Two cameras, A bogen 3050 tripod,
    no place to go,(first whale hunt '82,) and I am not carrying all of this equpiment, so I Keep one camera on a tripod near me, so that I can capture something quickly.
    at night when the sun would go down, I would put the lens cap over the lens.

    The reason I would never use a plastic bag is that I do not want that camera being submerged in any amount of water. I place my camera on a thick dry towel and just let it sweat for many hours and as I said, the amount of water that is shed and produced is scary.

    That wind is vicious, non-stop. and Point Hope is as dry as can be. We cannot use vaseline up here, because the petrolatum evaporates too quickly and flakes off like candle wax.

    But, all in all, experiment, for your location & weather, I am just providing info on what I have to go through.

    When I walk down the streets here in Barrow using my digital, I have no problems with a "frozen" camera as it always goes back inside my parky to shelter from the wind & elements. But I do not like the results as I have many "doughnuts" on most of the images, they are easily retouched out, but, I much prefer film over digital out on the ice.

    I do not have to worry about batteriesm, and yes there are tents for the women to sleep in. But once that camera starts to sweat, I cannot ever bring it outside. and in a warm normal house it takes 4-6 hours for the camera to quit sweating. I wipe the sweat off, and it re-appears. I have done this too many times and I should capture images and document the process but all in all ... your safe, If I could get away with it at this extreme. then I forsee no problem at all just bringing the camera in.

    This was my home, for two months, right here, No place to go, I am not going to wait hours and hours for a camera out here to warm up in a tent 1/2 mile away, what if something happens, I would be kicking myself.

    No. Once out here, this is it.
    24/7 right here!!!

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile nice pic..

    Great pic! Thanks for sharing. You make me feel embarassed. My wife and I are working on Nantucket,Mass. It is an island about 30 miles off the coast. I have been complaining lately becasue it has been so windy that I have not been able to test my new Canon 24-105 and 100-400 lenses. It has been in the 20's and blowing 20-25 off and on. Reading your last post makes me laugh at myself. It is spring time here compared to what you are seeing. Ha ha. Anyway, thanks for the insights on cold weather photography and the beautiful picture!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  13. #13
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    I am originally from Boston Ma.

    I left in 77 to work on the pipeline in Deadhorse & prudhoe bay.

    I took an Eskimo woman back to Boston in 1983, It was 30 above zero.

    A full blooded eskimo woman that lived in 30-50 below her whole life.

    Wearing her big thick eskimo parky, at 30 above she froze her butt off.

    too much mositure in the air where as the arctic is extremly dry.

    Up here the cold just gets "on" you, it never penetrates.
    Not so on the East coast.!! It goes through everything your wearing and into your bones.

    I will take 30 below in the Arctic any day over 30 above on the East Coast.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default small world

    Small world. There is surely a difference due to the moisture in the air. We are heading up to Boston in the morning for the Fly Fishing Show. Actually, a little town outside of Boston, Marlborough. Lots of vendors of course showing off their rods/reels/etc.. and two days worth of video presentations with guest speakers from fly fishing destinations around the world. Four are on Alaska this year. That is mainly why we are going. There is a presentation from a guide in arctic Canada about catching arctic trout. I am curious about that. We love catching dollies on the fly rods. That is what takes us to NW Alaska each Fall. My wife caught a 10 lb dolly on the Kugururok two years ago. She was so proud. She always catches the biggest fish. Must be Karma. Ha ha. Here is some pictures from our float trips. They are just snap shots. I am the big guy. In the first picture.

    http://www.flickr.com/gp/21144083@N02/3035z7
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default Nice photographs

    Very nice photographs, but I don't know why they are called "snaps".

    A photograph is created, it does not matter which type camera is used to create an image.

    Ansel Adams once said, there are no rules for creating good photographs.

    There are just good photographs !!

    Very nice photos for sure.


  16. #16
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile funny...

    Now that is a cool Valentines Day card. Ha ha. Thanks for the kind words. I was a little embarrased to put them on the same site with yours. I have such fond memories of those float trips. Planning them keeps me going during these east coast winters. The Noatak Preserve is an area you just feel lucky to have seen. A priviledge for sure. I suspect you know what I mean.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  17. #17
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Any photograph.. .. is worth a thousand words.

    That "card" was a "scene" I created in a 3D program called 3D Studio Max.

    Outdoor photography is fascinating for me, especially capturing people in rare moments.

    One of my favorite places to capture people and create images is the Boston Commons, I spent years there, just sitting and watching peope,

    Noatak - Point Hope, that vast empty area is where the little people live.

    Somehow, someway, there must be a way to capture a photo of these people.

    Last year in Kivalina, 3 of them were talking with village residents. The little people were looking for a friend of theirs, a white man who had a "book" he was teaching them out of. They wanted to learn more and were trying to frind their.. "friend": !!

    Last edited by Majik Imaje; 01-18-2008 at 11:46. Reason: I forgot to dot the "eye" !!

  18. #18
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default Cold Weather Camera Care .

    What is considered "cold" ??

    I am at the extreme end of cold, the worst it can get, - 50 below zero with vicious winds which bring chill factor down to some numbers that are impossible to comprehend, unless your out in that weather.

    One of the biggest problems I faced on a daily basis, was looking through the viewfinder. When I pressed my face to that camera, a tiny portion of my upper cheek would always stick to the camera body and freeze and rip my skin when I pulled away from that intimate "contact" with camera body. like sticking your tongue to something metal in sub zero weather.

    Changing a roll of film in these conditions was pure torture. Something I could never accomplish without experiencing intense severe pain.

    Until I finally listened to these people, that live and survive in this weather. "This is why your nose runs so much when it is cold out, use it!"
    I was stubborn and refused to listen, until the suffering became too intense.
    In Alaska, that stuff that is coming out of your nose, will save you from frostbite. In damp enviorments such as the east coast, it seems to have the opposite effect.




    Here in Barrow, it is (at the time this image was created), Mid Dec. @ 11 am in the MORNING. temp is about 30 below. The ice fog is visible.
    The sun goes below the horizon in Mid Nov (17th) and the sun will NOT, rise above the horizon, until Jan23 and that is only for an hour or so, but from then on, we gain many minutes each day.
    Yes cold weather presents some unique challenges for creating photographic images wether they are B&W or COLOR.

    DIGITAL or Film.. . Practice, and learn how to use your equipment. Don't be afraid to push it to the limit, and have a back up camera .. .. "just in case." !!!

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default enukins...

    "Noatak - Point Hope, that vast empty area is where the little people live"

    You talking about enukins? If so, tell more.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  20. #20
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Well you have that "word" correct, I always have referred to them as Ingukalauraks, but enukins is the correct word.

    They are called different names in different villages.

    I started to write about them, HERE
    I am sure you are easily able to discern, why I stopped !!

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