Cool, cold snaps
AT -17°Celcius the ground will be all white and frozen. This is perfect for those who love to capture the zen-like white and minimalist landscape. When shooting in extreme cold, it is very important to prepare your photo equipment and clothing and prepare yourself for the worst.
The freezing air, frosty wind chill, snow and slippery tracks are not the only challenges you should expect. Here are some tips:
Check your camera and make sure it is durable enough to weather harsh conditions. At extremely cold temperatures, some camera, may stop working.
The camera’s internal mechanism, especially the autofocus feature, will freeze and refuse to function. Don’t force the autofocus as you might break it. Be prepared to revert to manual focus. As seen in this picture (Bulgan province of Ulan Baatar, Mongolia), at -200C my Nikon D810 is still in perfect condition.
Batteries can lose their charges faster than usual in extreme cold. Bring extra batteries and make sure each is fully charged at all times. Smartphone batteries can go haywire too. If the temperature is too cold, it will automatically shut off even if the battery level is at 60 per cent.
Use a travelling heat pad to keep the batteries and smartphone warm. Same goes with your GoPro camera; keep it in a proper winter casing to protect the batteries. In this picture, we were at a remote area around the Tuv province of Mongolia where families rely on solar energy and we had problems charging our batteries. And don’t forget your power banks.
It is hard for our bodies to adjust to extremely cold temperatures, as we come from a tropical country. At -170C, you may experience frostbite. Invest in good warm clothing. If you plan to be in the cold for hours, you need to wear inners of cashmere.
Wear proper waterproof winter boots. In this picture, the writer is at Terelj National Park of Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia wearing a Mongolian Winter jacket. With that jacket on, she can shoot for hours at -200C without complaining about the cold.
Photographers rely on their fingers to hold both the shutter button and camera body, and full covered gloves can be a nuisance. But at sub-zero temperatures, a very good winter glove is a must. Wear your five finger gloves underneath another additional winter glove with outer mitts so that you can still use your fingers. A picture of the frozen Lake Baikal, South Siberia, Russia during mid-day at -210C.
You could easily get carried away with a beautiful subject or landscape, regardless of whatever condition you are in.
When in extreme heat or cold, stubborn determination can be a weakness. When we deal with harsh Mother Nature, we have to ensure our own safety first before our curiosity. Listen to your body and your senses first.
If it is time to stop and take cover, please do so. Another picture of the frozen Lake Baikal in South Siberia, Russia at -20°C.