Cold weather photography


MAK

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 11:32
Hi
I'm planning a holiday to Lapland in Feb when average temperatures are
-15 degrees celcius. My pentax K200D only copes with temperatures above freezing.

Does anyone have any tips for cold weather photography? Or know of any cold weather cameras? Or for that matter how to get amazing photos of the Northern Lights?

Thanks
MAK

bretti_kivi

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 11:51
-15? in February? Err... no. Try -35, heading towards -40. It's the coldest time of year.

We hit -32 once this year here in Southern Finland. It was around there for several weeks. And yes, K10ds still work in those conditions, as do K5s. However, battery life will be minimal.

It's also cold enough that you do not want to go out - below -25, skin freezes and it's plain uncomfortable - and if you're far enough up north, you will have a max of 1-2 hours daylight; a listing of the "kaamos" and midnight sun dates for various locations is available here: http://personal.inet.fi/koti/jakoskis/aurko.html . Think it through, do not assume that there are (for example) large quantities of stores etc. available - by UK standards, Lapland is enormous and no-one lives there. People think nothing of driving 200km / 120 miles to get to the next bank... and you will also have at least 5feet of snow. Driving is another world.

What exactly did you have planned?

Bret
my pics: link
my kit: K3, K5, K-01, DA 18-55, D-FA50 macro, Siggy 30/1.4, 100-300/f4, 70-200/2.8, Samsung 12-24/f4, Tamron 17-50, and lots of other bits.
Last Edited by bretti_kivi on 17/05/2011 - 11:53

MAK

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 11:55
Thanks!! Always useful to talk to someone who knows the climate well. It's a package holiday so the usual - husky ride, reindeer ride, try to see Northern lights then go back to warm 4* hotel over about 7 days.

giofi

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:08
Hi, where exactly in Lapland?
Giorgio

Pentax Photo Gallery

MAK

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:26
not booked yet but possibly saariselka but also thinking about another holiday (mainly for wildlife) in alaska next June so any info re cold weather photography would be useful

Tyr

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:32
If you wanted a decent battery life you can always wrap the camera in a scarf with some hand warmer sacks near the battery or keep the battery in your pocket and only put it in when you intend to take a shot?
Regards,
Dan

https://www.flickr.com/photos/honourabletyr/

MAK

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:33
Yes looking at other websites the main problems seem to be battery life and condensation.

Gwyn

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:41
I was in Norway in February, in a lot colder than -15. I have a K5 and it worked just fine. I had three batteries with me, but they were never unduly affected by the cold. I kept a spare in a pocket close to my body (under a couple of layers of clothing) so it was warm in case I needed it, but I never did.
I even used the camera on the dog sled when it was snowing. The camera was covered in ice by the end of the trip but it was fine, and I used it to take several photos in the snow hotel just afterwards without changing batteries or anything. I did chip some of the ice of it though.

I was there in the first half of February and had daylight, even up at the North Cape for several hours a day - it was dark again by about 3.30, but the twilight lasts a long time. Sunrise too was long and spectacular.

bretti_kivi

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 12:49
This was all done with a K5 and outside with morning temperatures approaching -32. http://vimeo.com/20354916

Condensation is not a problem at -30, really it's not. As no water is liquid, it's all frozen (including the stuff on your beard...).

Bret
my pics: link
my kit: K3, K5, K-01, DA 18-55, D-FA50 macro, Siggy 30/1.4, 100-300/f4, 70-200/2.8, Samsung 12-24/f4, Tamron 17-50, and lots of other bits.

Gwyn

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 13:01
The only time I had a problem with condensation was much further south, below the Arctic circle, where it was noticeably damper but still below freezing - then there would be condensation on the camera on re-entering the warm of the ship. That is the only time I used a plastic bag with it. It just wasn't needed further north, and inland would be even less needed I would have thought.

My photos from the frozen north can be seen here. All low res I'm afraid but they give you an idea.

giofi

Link Posted 17/05/2011 - 22:24
MAK wrote:
not booked yet but possibly saariselka but also thinking about another holiday (mainly for wildlife) in alaska next June so any info re cold weather photography would be useful

I have been in Lapland for over 10 years in Winter, several times in February. March would be a better time, as temperatures are milder, but also in February they vary. As Bret said, this Winter has been very cold and in mid Feb it reached -42 in lapland . No pictures then. But I was there the week after and it was about -15.

But this was a very cold Winter, and -42 not usual.

In any case, I have used my K20D without problems during the past 2 winters and I did not have any problems with the battery. I sometims go skiing with the camera in my backpack and use it from time to time. Always worked.

As to location, Saariselkä is very far North, very popular among cross-country skiers. I usually go to Levi, which is a very popular downhill skiing resort and very conveniently located 15 mins from the Kittilä airport (with flights from UK). There you can combine the beauty of Lapland with skiing and also a well served small village (shops, restaurants, etc...)

Below a few pictures I took last year in February in Levi with the K20D and a SA 12-24:













BR, Giorgio
Giorgio

Pentax Photo Gallery

MAK

Link Posted 18/05/2011 - 09:39
The photos are gorgeous. Thanks everyone for advice! Not so nervous now about taking my camera out in the cold as long as I'm sensible with the extreme weather.
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