Photo Ideas # 8 of 10: Winter Photography and Freezer Bags
Last week I posted a series of images along with some tips for photographing in low light conditions. Since then I’ve received many emails and blog comments from readers specifically mentioning or asking about one image in particular. Because that photo was made on a cold winter day and I used several inexpensive techniques to protect the camera, I thought I’d include that photo here in a larger size and discuss the first of those two techniques.
The photo above titled Evening Reflections was made on a cold winter afternoon in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming and just moments before sunset. I’d been photographing for more than 8 hours in a light snow storm that day before making that photo. Cold winter weather can present several problems for anyone with a camera. There are two similar techniques I use that rely on an inexpensive kitchen supply when photographing in winter. One of these is discussed below and the other will appear in the next blog post.
Protecting Your Camera From Condensation
Taking your camera from a cold winter day into a warm indoor situation can cause condensation to form on both the camera lens and within the camera itself. Almost anyone who has worn eyeglasses or sunglasses outdoors in winter, and then goes indoors where the temperature is much warmer has experienced this firsthand. While that condensation often disappears from eyeglasses in just a few minutes, it can sometimes take hours to disappear from camera equipment. And, because it is the camera’s cold metal and glass that causes the condensation to form, simply wiping the lens with a soft cloth only removes the condensation for a moment.
The secret to keeping camera condensation from forming is to let the camera warm up and also adjust to humidity changes slowly. One simple and inexpensive way to do this is with a large freezer bag. While still outside, place the camera and lens into a sealable freezer bag, such as a large Ziploc® SmartZip or Glad® Zipper bag, then squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it shut and taking it indoors. Next, leave the camera inside the bag until it reaches room temperature (you can feel the temperature of the camera easily through the plastic bag.) Depending upon the outdoor temperature and how long the camera was outdoors, it might take as little as 30 minutes or as much as several hours to adjust.
NOTE: If you normally like transferring your photos into the computer soon after you come indoors, remove the memory card from your camera before placing it into the freezer bag.