Cameras and Condensation Don’t Mix

Batteries can lose their juice quickly in cold weather – and the colder it is, the faster they’ll drain. Make sure to carry spare batteries for all the equipment you’ll be using – not just the camera. Don’t put the spare batteries in a camera bag though. Keep them warm by putting them in an inside coat pocket or other warm spot out of the chilly temperatures. Don’t keep them in too warm a spot though, because if you get them too warm and put them in cold equipment, condensation can form.

Condensation is that stuff that forms on the bathroom mirror when you take a nice hot shower. It’s also the fog like film that covers your glasses when you come inside from being in a cold outside. This can cause major problems for cameras, if you’re not careful. Condensation will form any time on surfaces that are either colder or warmer than the surrounding air.

There’s one good way to avoid condensation from forming on your camera. Allow it to go through extreme temperature changes S*L*O*W*L*Y.

Do this. Before you take your camera outside into the cold, place it in a zip lock type baggy in the house for about ten minutes. Then when you take the bag containing the camera outside, condensation will form on the outside of the bag and not the inside of the camera. You might get a little chilly waiting for the camera/baggy combination to get equalized to the outside temperature, but it’s a good trade off that will help protect your equipment.

Keep in mind that condensation can show up on the inside of the camera where you won’t be able to spot it. The moisture inside can cause problems with the workings of the camera while you’re shooting. Worse though, it can freeze in very cold conditions and completely ruin the camera.

By being careful and using a little common sense before you start shooting pictures outside in the snow, you can make sure you get some beautiful images instead of ruining that expensive camera.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist living in Asheville, North Carolina.  He has traveled the world documenting the tears, joys, laughter and lives of people everywhere.  He currently focuses his attention and his camera on people, places and things in the United States.  A portion of the proceeds from each photo shoot is donated to organizations that help the homeless in the communities in which he works.  You can see more of his photography by clicking here.

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