In “I don’t live today”, Jimi Hendrix sings “…no sun coming through my window. Feel like i’m living at the bottom of grave”. An american friend of mine who spent a winter in Sweden said he thought Hendrix must have written that in Sweden. He may be right, because Jimi Hendrix did indeed spend some time in Sweden.
Anyhow, it does get dark here. The only upside with that is you can sleep in and still make it out in time to take photos of the sunrise. Shooting the sunset can be combined with afternoon coffee. Still it can be worth the time and effort to get out there with the camera. Winter can be beautiful. It gets a little cold here too. That can cause trouble for you and your camera.
Camera batteries and the cold
The batteries in your camera will run out a lot faster, so you need to bring a spare battery or two. It’s important to keep the spare batteries warm. Also, when you switch batteries, put the cold one in your warm pocket and that will bring it back to life for some more work if needed.
If it’s really cold, there’s a risk that your breath will condensate and freeze up on your camera, causing a thin layer of ice. If it does and it’s on your lens, you’re in trouble because no polishing will get rid of it. You’ll need to bring it into the warm to defrost it.
Back in the warm
When you bring your gear back into the warm, you need to be careful to avoid condensation on your camera. Moisture and cameras is not a good combination. I usually let the camera bag sit closed up for about an hour, allowing all the gear to warm up slowly to minimize the risk of condensation. I have also seen recommendations that you put your camera into an airtight bag while it warms up to avoid condensation.
Keep yourself warm too
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to leave because you weren’t properly dressed. Make sure you have enough clothes to stay warm. Get a couple of hand warmers and keep them in your pocket with your spare batteries. Good gloves and hand warmers are essential. Working with your camera with stiff cold fingers can make you miss that opportunity to take a great shot.
Hendrix ends the song “There ain’t no light nowhere…”. The light is there. Now in mid-January, you can clearly start to see the days getting longer. You just have to have the patience.