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by Phil Ball

Q. Cooler weather is here. As a photographer recent arrived from a warmer climate, have you any tips for enjoying photography in cold weather?

A. From decades of experience in enjoying wonderful Prescott winters, I have three tips for you. First, stay warm. A warm photographer can relax and be creative but shivering hands result in shaky photos. I like thin gloves that keep my fingers warm while being thin enough to feel my camera's control buttons in combination with heavier gloves or mittens that fit over the thin gloves. Don’t underestimate the value of a hat; a lot of heat is lost by an uncovered head. A jacket hood can shade your face to make it easier to see a camera's viewing screen.

Second, keep your battery warm. The small batteries in our cameras don't last long in cold weather so I always carry a spare in a warm inner pocket. When the battery in the camera can't take it anymore, swap it with the warm battery. Amazingly, once that flat battery is warmed up, it will give many more photos. I swap batteries frequently during a cold day. Keep the camera inside your parka to protect it
from moisture and cold.

Third, be wary of condensation. When your camera is taken from the cold into a warm house or car, condensation will form all over it. Condensation inside of your camera can ruin the electronics and cause fatal damage. To avoid this, place your camera inside of a sealable freezer bag of some kind. Place the camera into the freezer bag whenever you are about to go from a cold environment to a warmer one.

Once back inside a warmer environment, wait until the camera no longer feels cold and the outside of the bag is completely dry before you remove your camera. This can sometimes take more than an hour, so be patient. You can take a warm camera into the cold with no problem; just avoid going from cold to warm.

With these three tips, you safely and comfortably venture out to get some fantastic winter images.

Published: Courier 11/4/12 - Page 4C