« Product of the Year 2014 | Main | H.R.5893: The Ansel Adams Act »

Wednesday, 07 January 2015


Brrrr.... It's just as cold 90 miles south of TOP HQ, Mike! Two comments to add-on to your post today.

First, photographing COLD is an excellent exercise for learning and practicing photography! Cold is a physical fact but, visually, it's a concept that cannot be photographed directly. You can only capture its effects. Photographers who have mastered that framework and transfer it to nearly every other type of photography will have taken a large step toward improving their use of a camera as a communications tool. A step that many people spend a great deal of money to try to learn, often unsuccessfully, in schools.

Second, while I've not had my X-T1 out in this arctic blast I have has its sibling X-E2 and many kindred small cameras out in deep freezes. They don't do so well. Their battery life, after being blasted by extremely cold air for hours, drops quickly to a fraction of its rating. But at these temperatures it won't matter because the displays will become so sluggish that the camera will be unusable in 30 minutes unless you take precautions to keep the camera warm.

That's why I keep my good old Canon 1DS3 around, and that's why that class of camera is unlikely to disappear soon. They're engineered to withstand much, MUCH harsher conditions than the pretty hobby cameras. ;->

Bear in mind that wind chill only affects warm-blooded organisms as it is a way a to measure (or more accurately, reference) the rate of escape of heat from the body at a specific temperature.

But it does not apply to inanimate objects. So, if the camera were operated outside, it would be working at a temperature of -2°F, not -24°F.

Have use the Fuji X-Pro1 successfully to 37 below and for more than six hours on open, frozen lakes here in North Dakota. Batteries don't last long so kept extras close to the chest under ice fishing overalls and heavy coat. Image quality was and remains excellent.
Sold all the Fuji gear due to one problem - the cameras(more than one model owned) were just too small in my hands. Tried the X-T1 and found the same problem for me. Same reason I did not buy into Olympus OM system decades ago.
Nothing wrong with the images, from sunshine to cold to Northern Lights at night.

Does wind chill factor affect a camera?

I just returned from walkabout at (and on) our lake here in northern Canada presently at -36C absolute and -44C with the wind chill. All the while I happily snapped pics with my Sony A7 which never failed (although each battery only lasted about 30 minutes). I leave my camera exposed to the cold and wind and when I return home I seal it in a plastic bag and let it warm up inside the bag (prevents condensation on the camera for those that don't know this trick - the water condenses on the outside of the bag). My Sony NEX-7 is equally adept at handling the cold weather - well done Sony!

You joke, but I've found that in practice, it's seldom a question of how low a temperature the camera can tolerate but rather the human being who's using it. Regardless of one's age, sub-zero temperatures are distinctly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. They also require gloves, which can make operating some cameras difficult, if not impossible. As far as I'm concerned, winter is the time for studio photography, not outdoors photography.

Summertime is for taking photographs.

Wintertime is for printing them.



I'm still acclimating to the Upper Midwest's character building combination of chill and wind and lack or mountains to slow the wind. It's about 20 degrees colder than what I was used to in Southeast Alaska (on the coast, so warmer). My EM1 seems unfazed by the cold, but my fingers have me browsing the web for electric gloves as my next camera accessory.

I might resort to driving and shooting at times in order to keep my one-lens project going. Did one yesterday at the airport. Hopped out of the car for a freezing few seconds into the blasting wind, took some neat cloud photos, then back to warmth. If you do it quickly the camera doesn't get cold enough to fog in the car.

Wind chill is basically a measure of rate of heat loss (specifically, through exposed human skin). For inanimate objects, what it means is that they reach the ambient temperature faster than they would without the wind.

But no, neither human skin, cars, nor cameras actually experience -24F in the conditions Mike describes; they merely reach -2F faster. And, if there's a heat source inside (as there is for us humans, and for modern digital cameras), heat is extracted faster.

(Mind you, your skin can be quite damaged, you can get frostbite, without it getting down to -24F! I've lived in Minnesota since 1960, so I'm used to dressing for the cold weather when necessary, wearing gloves and hats and hoods and whatever, and paying attention to what I feel and going in before I freeze anything; but if you go for long walks you can have nowhere to escape to, and if you're not used to it you can get in trouble fairly easily. Be careful in the cold!)

All this discussion of photography in snow and the cold reminded me to take another look at the memorable images in "Here Far Away' by Pentti Sammalhahti (discovered & purchased via TOP, thanks Mike), particularly the snow pictures. Obviously, Pentti can photograph snow, and can also work in cold weather (presumably, he also won't suffer battery problems as he uses film only, I think).

Thanks for the link to Alex Buisse's website. There's some great photography there. It's amazing that people do all of that stuff on purpose.

Coming out of the house this morning, we were greeted by frost on the car. But its back up to 65 now, so we'll survive. :-)
J.P., Oakland, CA

WIMP! ☺️

Here in Western Oregon, where outdoor conditions can be less than hospitable a fair amount of the time, it's been said that "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!"

The more of your Fuji XT-1 black and white images you show the more I like how the camera renders light to images.

Still, I think you should put some gloves on and tell us how well it works with bulky gloves on. No need to actually venture out, just simulated cold weather shooting should be fine.

the question i would ask is how well the camera can be operated when the photographer is dressed appropriately for the weather; i know my Pentax K-5 works reasonably well (adjusting aperture/ISO/compensation as well as manually focusing) with heavy backcountry ski gloves; i just have to avoid breathing near the viewfinder optic

Keeping cold to lose weight? No way, I'd rather stay fat. Self flagellation probably also helps to lose weight - thanks, but no thanks.

But I found out what keeps me from becoming a great photographer. I saw a wonderful scene with perfect light. Strong wind covered the moon constantly, so it was a matter of waiting until the light was perfect again.

Tripod (!) set up, camera set up. Waiting. -5° C, strong, icy wind. I just jumped out of a warm car. Waiting. Snapped some pictures in non-perfect light. Waiting. I'm freezing. Waiting.

Hell. Forget this. After a few minutes my desire to go back inside was much higher than my interest in a potential masterpiece.

Seems that I can only take pictures if it doesn't inconvenience me too much. Still there are some nice ones every now and then ;)

Looking forward to swim practice outdoors tomorrow morning. The weather prediction is 25 degrees at 7am but the water is a pretty constant 80 degrees. We have the pool heater at the club hooked up directly to a Texas oil well...

I do worry about sending the boy back to college in the NE U.S. next week as I've noticed low temps around -11 in that neck of the woods.

That said it's a balmy 48 (f) here in Austin right now. Barely even glove weather.

[I have to put on gloves to take the dogs out to pee, and I'm not kidding. --Mike]

Perfect opportunity to use the X-T1's wireless remote capability. It sits outside being tested for cold weather functioning, you sit inside adjusting the settings and capturing the Yeti at exactly the right moment.

(Did I see a comment Mike that you hadn't got the wireless remote to work on your X-T1 yet? I had some teething problems too, but it was worth persevering - works a treat now, and such a handy thing to have. A great combination with your new phone. I would be happy to help you get through the set up trauma, let me know what the stopping point is for you)


Indeed. I have thought about this sometimes. Just the simple fact of having a reliable heated home and getting reliably fed is a blessing that we can hardly even begin to appreciate.

And it pretty much underlies every other human joy and human progress.

By the way did you realise that just 1000 years ago even royalty lived in conditions worse than that dregs of society lives in, in the western world now?

Then there's the alternate Age Coefficient. In this, one sets the house thermostat to one's age. It seems to kick in about when you qualify for full Social Security.

This morning I needed to replenish my porch stockpile of firewood. Temps in the low teens, winds in the 20's, blowing snow - even the Philly area can get some of that upper Midwest weather.

Meanwhile, I need to somehow inoculate myself against that XT-1. Tempting, very tempting.

Illuminating recent report of photographic problems at the Russian Artic Circle.


So, if you are old enough, you feel cold in the Sahara?

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007