Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Protecting your camera from condensation in the winter

After an outing to a butterfly conservatory I thought I would post a reminder about shooting in extreme temperatures. It was -16 Celsius with a wind chill of -22 when we left the house and we were going to be shooting in a very humid building set at 25 degrees… The first thing I thought of was “condensation”.

We don’t always shoot indoors in the winter. You see, we, as Canadians are a winter loving people… not too often will we hide away in our homes just because a cold front blows through. As photographers, that sometimes means heading outdoors to photograph the spectacular white scenes this season offers. But as I mentioned these temperatures can wreak havoc on our gear if we are not careful.

Its basic knowledge… take a cold object and put it into a warm home, condensation forms on the object. This buildup of moisture can easily rust or mold the internal elements of a digital camera body, a camera lens or a camera flash unit.

When you are out with your camera, try to keep it as warm as you can in cool conditions. Place it under your coat, or cup it inside your hands while wearing thick, insulated gloves. Never let the camera cool completely to the ambient cold air temperature.

When the outing is finished, wrap the camera in a plastic food storage bag when preparing to leave the cold environment. Seal the plastic food storage bag so the condensation forms on the interior lining of the bag, not the internal components of the camera, lens or flash unit.

Move to the warm environment. Allow the camera to stay in the plastic bag until it warms to the new surrounding temperature. Remove the camera from the protective cover carefully and look it over and make sure it is dry before turning on the power.

Wipe down the surface of the camera with a microfiber cloth, removing any visible condensation.

Your camera will also have a temperature rating. Before you venture out I would advise that you look at what temperature your camera is rated for. It will be in your manual.

Enjoy your winter shooting my fellow Canadians… and if you haven’t ad the opportunity to shoot in the snow, book a flight, we would love to have you up here photographing our spectacular wildlife and scenery.