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Thread: preparing for winter

  1. #1

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    preparing for winter

    Heya,

    I realize winter is a few months away but I thought I'd ask for advice while the questions are on my mind


    1) Can you shoot with "frozen" film and if so, does the ISO or color balance change at all?
    2) How do you deal with condensation on film and lenses?
    3) How big of a problem is static?


    Feel free to offer any other info.

    Thanks

    T

  2. #2
    WTF?! 400d's Avatar
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    Re: preparing for winter

    1) Films are better at a lower temperature. How low? I don't know.
    2) Assume my gears are in my pack for couple hours, they usually won't be that warm to get condensation.
    3) Static...I've never thought about that. The only problem I can associate with static is dust and the shock to electronics. LF gears aren't really threatened by those two when it's out there in the field. Just don't blow the dust on your lens by mouth, or it will take FOREVER for the condensation to disappear.

  3. #3
    WTF?! 400d's Avatar
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    Re: preparing for winter

    Also, focusing on groundglass can be annoying when you are breathing out on the glass.

  4. #4

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    Re: preparing for winter

    1) Your film doesn't know that water has frozen

    2) Going from cold to warm presents a problem. I place my gear in Ziploc bags, Lock-n-Lock containers, or Pelican cases before coming back inside. Let your gear reach ambient temperature inside the dry environment, then open it up without the risk of condensation forming on lenses and electronics. If you plan to store gear in a watertight environment you should have silica gel or some form of desiccant inside to sop-up the evil moisture.

    3) I haven't had to deal with static.

    X) I use Patagonia lightweight Capilene glove livers inside of mittens - the liners don't compromise dexterity, and the thick felted woolen mittens provide warmth when waiting for the light of moving to a new location. Fingerless mitts/gloves are also useful in milder temps - mine don't fit well inside mittens; this combo compromises blood flow and turns out to be colder than the lighter Capilene liners plus mitten combo. YMMV.

    Y) 400d's ground glass point is always a problem - I've tried to train myself to breath away from the glass or viewfinder but I haven't had much success. Maybe the next-generation Black-Jacket will have a snorkel hole (patent pending )
    Last edited by Eric James; 2-Sep-2006 at 15:53.

  5. #5

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    Re: preparing for winter

    Snorkel.

    That's Brilliant! Better than rinsing one's mouth with anti-freeze. HA!

    Static, that's a problem in cold temperature with low humidity in roll film cameras as the film moves through the camera. In LF the film never moves, and I've never heard of static discharge problems with the dark slide.

    Always let your gear slowly come to temperature. No sudden moves from warm, humid environments to cold, or back again. It's always a problem with cave photography on a hot summer day.

  6. #6

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    Re: preparing for winter

    I keep a couple large plastic bags tucked around the car, camera cases, etc. and wrap stuff before bringing inside. Going out into the cold is rarely a problem unless you are coming from a warm, humid place like a pool or greenhouse. Coming in from the cold is what will kill your gear.

    If you do get condensation, try to get some gentle airflow going (but not a blow dryer!)

  7. #7
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: preparing for winter

    Film becomes brittle at very low temperatures and humidity, and static electricity can definitely be a problem. So can batteries in equipment. I've used all mechanical equipment down to -65F and maybe 5 or 10% humidity with no problem as long as I carefully reloaded and slowly advanced and rewound film. Watch for bits of film that may have broken off of the roll when changing film. Factory lubrication sufficed in well-used cameras, although some photographers keep a camera with no lube for those conditions. If I had to return to the Artic, I'd avoid any camera with electronics. In more moderate winters the precautions others have mentioned are adequate.

  8. #8

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    Re: preparing for winter

    The static and condensation problems can be address with one simple addition to your toolbox. Last year, I bought a package of 100 3M anti-static ziplock bags for my 5x7 film holders and another 100 for my 8x10. They're reusable so I think they were a pretty cheap investment. My dust problems have been significantly reduced as a result. Can't remember the company I got them from off the top of my head, but if anyone is interested, I'll check my invoices for last year. I'll have it on file.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  9. #9

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    Re: preparing for winter

    You actually want your gear and film to be the same temperature as the environment in which you are shooting. As mentioned, if your gear is a lot colder you will get condensation on it, particularly if the air is humid. If the gear is a lot warmer this isn't a fatal problem but if you accidentally breathe on a lens or viewfinder (for those who shoot other than LF ), you will have fun being able to see anything for awhile.

    I let my gear go cold. Keep it in a well-closed camera bag for a few hours once you get back home and let it warm up slowly. I find that this works well. It isn't necessary to put everything in ziploc bags unless you want to forcibly warm stuff up fast.

    I do use the bags on my frozen film, though, because I do warm it up fairly quickly.

  10. #10

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    Re: preparing for winter

    Actually, Jim, in the northern climates (as you should know) just walking into the house after a long shoot in 20-degree temperatures will cause a rapid build-up of condenstation. I've never opened my film holders there in the doorway to see if they're being affected too. I just preferred to assume that the same laws of physics applied to them as did my glasses.

    Agreed: while you're outside and the temperatures have stabilized, the only thing the ziplock bags do is keep the holders clean. But the do come in handy when you come back into the house.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

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