The onset of cold weather can mean a wide range of natural photography backdrops and cool shots-capturing opportunities for you. Do not let the frost laden outdoors scare you into packing away your digital SLR gear for the winters. Instead, embrace the difference in the textures and lighting and add a bit of foresight to create some truly extraordinary compositions this season. All the common sense and maintenance techniques, you will need to know to protect your gear while prepping for cold weather photography, are curated below for your convenience.
Know your camera battery in the cold
Most digital SLR cameras are built to withstand temperature drops of up to 0 degrees centigrade (32 F). However, if you are going to be shooting in sub-zero temperatures, know that the camera batteries do die faster in the cold weather. However, the batteries can recover quite fast when brought back to a warmer temperature or indoors and insulated. Make sure you carry a couple of spare batteries with you during the sessions.
A useful tip is to rely mostly on non-rechargeable batteries during these sessions. However, in terms of rechargeable batteries, prefer Li-ion batteries to the NiCad or the NiMH versions. You can also opt to carry a 10K battery kit with you, especially if you are shooting at higher altitudes.
The camera LCD woes
The LCD screen of your camera is super sensitive to the changes in the temperatures. You should expect sluggish refresh performance in very low temperatures. Your screen can also lose the contrast performance and in worst case scenario a complete blackout of the scene is just as possible. You will need to up your game to master photography without the benefit of screen viewing, if you truly want to handle cold weather sessions like a pro. However, the good news is your screen will return to absolute normal performance as soon as the camera adjusts back to an ambient temperature.
Adjusting to temperature changes
Your camera is extra sensitive to moisture and you have to be extra aware of moisture inducing phenomenon during transitions from colder to warmer temperatures. DO not expose you camera to a temperature change immediately. When exposing to a colder temperature protect your gear in insulated bags during the intervals. When getting back to an ambient temperature, carry your camera in a Ziploc plastic bag and do not expose it to the warmer temperature immediately. Allow the temperature to come up gradually for your gear to avoid a build-up of condensation and protect the temporary transition of the various camera parts.
Finally, wear insulated gloves that also allow free movement for your hands to handle the camera efficiently during the cold weather photography sessions.