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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gadget Bag: Cold Weather Photo-Savers

Take advantage of the best of winter’s photo opportunities with gear that will keep you warm, dry and comfortable

Labels: Gadget BagGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Gitzo GC2560 Neoprene Tripod Leg Warmer
Leg Warmers
Grabbing a cold aluminum or carbon-fiber tripod leg can be painful in very cold weather. Tripod leg warmers help you avoid this problem. Gitzo, LensCoat, Manfrotto and OP/TECH are just a few of the manufacturers that make them. Leg warmers also reduce wear and tear on the tripod legs from bushwhacking to that great shooting spot.

Grabber Hand Warmers
Warm Your Batteries
Batteries don't like cold, and even a freshly charged unit will fail to function if it's cold enough. Keep the camera inside your coat between shots and spare batteries in an interior pocket where your body heat can help keep them warm. It's a good idea to carry spare batteries when you head into the field, but especially so in cold weather. Grabber hand warmers will keep the feeling in your fingers, and they also make good battery warmers. Keep the hand warmer in your pocket with the battery.

Warming The Photographer
Cold is bad enough, but cold plus wet is potentially dangerous. Wear clothing that keeps you warm and dry. Dress in layers, starting with thermal underwear. As the day heats up, remove the outer layers to keep from overheating, then put them on again as the sun goes down. Nature photography often consists of fairly strenuous hikes followed by long periods of inactivity as you wait for the light and conditions to come together.

Marmot Yukon Classic Parka
Proper layering keeps you comfortable when active and for the more sedentary moments. A heavy coat such as the Yukon Classic Parka from Marmot is good for colder weather. Marmot also makes several fleece and waterproof soft-shell options that are lighter for layering under a heavier coat. The versatile Columbia Sportswear Ultrachange Parka gives you a two-in-one, with a warm liner jacket under a heavier outer shell.

A lot of your warmth escapes through the head, so keep it covered with a hood or some kind of hat such as the snug-fitting Ascent Beanie from The North Face. A hooded parka, like those mentioned, is a good choice for your outer layer, which should be windproof for maximum comfort. A wool or fleece scarf will help keep your neck warm.

How To Change Lenses In Wet Weather

Brno dri+ Cap
Don't change lenses outside when it's cold or raining. Use a zoom lens, live with the prime lens on the camera, or swap lenses in your car and other dry, warm places. Bringing the camera into a warm place from a cold one, or vice versa, can cause condensation, which can damage internal parts. Tightly seal the camera in a plastic resealable bag and let it gradually warm or cool to the ambient temperature of the new location before removing it. Including a packet of silica gel in the bag with the camera helps minimize condensation problems. Another nice solution is to use Brno dri+ caps. These dehumidifying lens caps hold a replaceable silica gel packet and help reduce moisture when your gear is changing temps.


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