Seal Encounter - Antarctica

Whether you are on a photo tour to Tasmania, or on a photo expedition to locations such as Antarctica or the Arctic, photographing in cold climates can have its challenges. Below are some tried-and-tested tips and suggestions I have used over many years, to make it easier to photograph in such environments.

#1 Wear Lots Of Layers

It’s important that you are warm, comfortable and dry when out in cold or freezing conditions. Wearing lots of layers will keep you dry and also makes it easier to remove a layer or two when it warms up. One main outer jacket is best, which is lined for warmth, but also waterproof.

#2 Fingerless Gloves

One of biggest challenges when photographing in cold climates is being able to work the cameras settings, without freezing your fingers. I strongly suggest you wear a pair of light cotton gloves, then use a pair of fingerless gloves, with flaps that can cover your exposed fingers when you are not photographing. Wearing thick ski gloves, for example, make it impossible to work your camera’s dials.

#3 Be Careful Of Extreme Temperature Changes

One of the biggest problems many photographers encounter when photographing in freezing environments is lenses fogging up. This often happens when your gear has been in a warm, heated room and you suddenly venture into the cold, or vice versa. My suggestion, when going from hot to cold or cold to hot, is to let the camera/lens ‘acclimatise’ slowly. If you are coming in from the cold, you can place the camera/lens on your bed, under a sheet or doona. That way it will change temperature gradually and condensation won’t occur.

#4 Watch Your Metering

When photographing subjects in snow, I recommend using Evaluative Metering (Canon), Matrix Metering (Nikon) or Multi-Pattern (other brands). This metering allows the camera to read the whole scene you are photographing. Since the camera’s sensor normally renders the scene a ‘grey’ color, I suggest increasing the exposure, bringing the snow or ice back to a white, as it should be.

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

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