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splanken
20-Jan-2008, 21:49
I am camping sub freezing conditions next w/e and will just have the car and the tent. I havn't thought about this until now but are there any precautions I need to think about regarding 4x5 sheet film? speed failure, condensation etc?

Anyone shoot in the snow a lot?

walter23
20-Jan-2008, 22:13
I am camping sub freezing conditions next w/e and will just have the car and the tent. I havn't thought about this until now but are there any precautions I need to think about regarding 4x5 sheet film? speed failure, condensation etc?

Anyone shoot in the snow a lot?

I've never had a problem in subzero temperatures, except with a shutter acting a bit slow. Condensation might become an issue if you're sleeping with the holders in the tent (without sealing them up inside something).

If you keep them dry you shouldn't have any problems down to at least -30C.

mrladewig
20-Jan-2008, 22:21
I have to echo Walter's observations. I've shot a bit in the snow and cold and the only problem I've had so far is a slow shutter in need of CLA. Now that it is back, I tested it at 4F and it was fine. No problem with the film but keep it inside a sealed ziploc or outside the tent if you have a safe dry place for it. This ziploc issue goes for ALL of your gear. Lenses, anything with metal parts, film holders/film. Anytime you go from cold to warm, you run a risk of condensation forming on your gear.

I plan to be camping at 11,500 feet here in Colorado next weekend if the weather and avi conditions permit. It'll be the first time I've winter backpacked in quite a few years and I'm looking forward to it.

Mel-

splanken
20-Jan-2008, 22:57
Great tips - thanks. I'll leave my film in the car.

IanMazursky
20-Jan-2008, 23:20
You might have the same condensation problem if you leave it in the car.
Before you go out, let them acclimate for half an hour or more before you start to use them.
I ran into that problem once.

I think my biggest problem was me! The colder it gets the harder it is to do anything with your hands.
I used to ski allot and those hand warmers are a life saver. They sometimes have them at Costco. You can get them by the case.
I always take a bunch with me and shove one in each glove. Toasty!

Joseph O'Neil
21-Jan-2008, 10:40
Buy many zip lock bags for your lenses and film holders to be stored in. I shoot in the snow, and condensation and moisture are what is really damaging to film and mechanics, not the cold itself.

The only other issue is sometimes lubricants can freeze up on the rails, but best to use no lubricants or as little as possible.
joe

walter23
21-Jan-2008, 12:38
You might have the same condensation problem if you leave it in the car.
Before you go out, let them acclimate for half an hour or more before you start to use them.
I ran into that problem once.


Going out into the cold isn't really an issue; you won't get condensation on warm gear in a cold environment. The issue is just when a cold item is brought into warmer and(or?) more humid air. Water from the warmer air condenses on the colder surface. The same kind of thing happens in the tent; the lens, film holders, whatever, are really cold (because the inside of your tent is cold) but there's a lot of humidity from your breath which condenses on the cold surface, like dew on grass.

Don't worry about moving from a warm car or a warm building to the frigid outside air though; you can just start shooting right away. Even if there was any humidity in the freezing air (which is usually unlikely) it wouldn't condense on your warmer gear. When you bring stuff in from the cold or into the tent, that's when you've got to keep it sealed up.

Brad Rippe
21-Jan-2008, 15:11
You also should bring a breathing tube for under the darkcloth. Your breath will condense on the groundglass and make it very difficult to see anything.

Be sure to use one with an inside diameter of at least 3/4 inch, so you can breath naturally, and less air will be travelling through your nose.

I use the clear polyethylene tubing from a hardware store. you can plug your nose if you need to, but that is not very comfortable.
-Brad

Scott Kathe
21-Jan-2008, 18:52
I was out today in subfreezing temperatures with my 4x5 and managed a couple of compositions. The only thing I would add is that just like with the ground glass you need to be careful of the lens as far a moisture goes. In subfreezing temperatures one good close exhale while setting the shutter or aperture will cause ice to form on the outside of your lens. It will sublimate but that may take a bit of time. Ice forming on the ground glass is definitely an issue but I've been lucky and haven't had to resort to a snorkel yet! But thanks to Brad I may invest in a short length of tygon tubing. I have more condensation problems on the ground glass is the fall and spring and am looking forward to trying out the breathing tube.

Scott

ps those chemical handwarmers are a REALLY good idea.

john borrelli
22-Jan-2008, 15:00
I was having problems with condensation on the front element of the lens. If you are doing winter photography and there is snow all around you and the temperature begins to warm, condensation can quickly become an issue. I urge you to frequently check your lenses for this while you are shooting film. Lately, I have been using a lens shade to help avoid snow falling on the lens and not using my screw-in glass filters even though I shoot mostly black and white film.

Brad Rippe
22-Jan-2008, 17:19
I just checked the inside diameter of my breathing tube and its 1/2 inch. I think a little bigger, like 5/8 would be perfect. 3/4 inch would be a bit more than you need.
-Brad
Coincidentally, its snowing on the higher San Francisco Bay Area peaks!

splanken
23-Jan-2008, 23:11
Right - I have loaded the film, now I am off to buy a snorkel. Would have never thought if that...! I think I am going to draw more stares than usual. Whenever I shoot large format I nearly always end up drawing interest. Maybe if I wear the snorkel this will give me some peace too...
Thanks for the tips.:)

Eugene van der Merwe
24-Jan-2008, 00:27
If you are planning on using a changing bag, try putting a little packet of silica gel in with your film, it'll help to control moisure and you should get less condensation on the film and holders. Also try putting you gear in the car with the heater on for a few minutes before using it (if time allows of course), if the camera and lenses are warmer you'll it shouldn't fog up as much...

seawolf66
5-Feb-2008, 20:12
Question on this subject matter: What harm would there be if used those hand warmers that you buy and crush when you wish to use, to help warm up the shutter ?
and do not all you folks jump on this at once , just a question by some one who does not worry about his 35mm film or Dslr when in the cold !

Shutter
6-Feb-2008, 00:21
Question on this subject matter: What harm would there be if used those hand warmers that you buy and crush when you wish to use, to help warm up the shutter ?
and do not all you folks jump on this at once , just a question by some one who does not worry about his 35mm film or Dslr when in the cold !

I don't know if that's a good idea - after all you'd have a huge temperature difference which might cause a shutter lock-up if the metal expands and contracts differently.