Thursday, December 18, 2008


Photography Tips

I want some advice from you avid photogs out there (read Aupperlees) regarding winter dslr usage. Additionally, I hope this post might offer the beginning of an arena for discourse and conversation about all things photography on this blog. So, the advice I seek is whether or not yall think it is a good idea to take my d40 backcountry skiing. The d40 is no f4 and therefore I need to re-conceptualize camera durability, especially durability in a harsh winter environment. First, during a day backcountry skiing the camera will be stuck in my backpack and be exposed to below freezing temps for an average of eight hours. Second, unlike frontcountry skiing, the backpack is rummaged through often and it seems impossible to prevent trace amounts of snow from infiltrating the inner contents of the pack. I will obviously keep the camera in a case (mine even has H2O-proof zippers), but is that enough to protect it from REALLY cold temps and the occasional flake or two or two million? I'd really like to capture some winter alpine vistas, but I want respect my camera at the same time. Can I have my animal style fries and eat them too?

2 comments:

Aaron said...

I had my animal style fries and ate them at the In-N-Out near LAX. There was a little girl wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a cowboy shirt eating a cheeseburger next to me. And I think an independent rock band came into In-N-Out while I dined. Crazy Los Angeles.

About the d40 question, I'll offer my two cents. I've never shot with the d40 in the snow but subjected by d70 to some brutal desert conditions. I found that nikon makes a pretty tight camera. After shooting accident photos along the freeway in a blinding snow storm, I did not find a lot of dust or sand collected on the lens mount or in the moving parts of the lens. I was careful to serious blow the camera out with canned air after any desert excursion.

As for the cold, the d70 did great during a below freezing night spent out on patrol with soldiers training at Fort Irwin.

But in the spirit of full disclosure, the shutter did break on the d70 in august. According to several nikon Web sites, that was not due to exposure.

But you are right. The d40 is no f4. I trusted my FA in the elements way more than my dSLR.

Btdubs this comment comes from you live, gate 22 LAX. Waiting to get home. Maybe I will tonight. Maybe I'll call Chu.

David said...

Here's another consideration when shooting in the snow, one learned from a photog who went to the North Pole as part of the Ice Walk expedition. This was during the pre-digital days of film. He was shooting probably a Nikon F4 and batteries in the cold was even then a consideration. At the time, I was probably still shooting my '70s-era Nikkormat FTn (highest mechnical parts count of any Nikon, ever), today, still, it has the most silky-smooth film advance lever of all time. Josh, remember that state ski meet at Pine Nob? But I digress....Anyway, the tip here is on exposure. I am sure you can find tons of posts on the web about properly exposing your shots when shooting against snow. Your camera's meter will tend to underexpose because it is trying to render the bright white as a neutral (18%) gray. Just meter off of something like your mid-toned hat or coat or simply open up 1-2 stops, or bracket like heck from what your meter says. This will keep the shot bright and will reduce your post-processing in PhotoShop. Sometimes, you will want to capture the scene as lit by early morning or late afternoon light, for that dreamy blue effect. Here's one right from my Nikon S10 point 'n shoot
http://www.photoaup.com/photos/369075334_Zwuhw-M.jpg
Don't let the snow keep you from getting out and making great photos!

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