Cool, cold snaps

New Straits Times - - Bots -

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.

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