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How to keep the camera warm taking Northern Lights photos in Fairbanks Alaska 12/3/2021
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Oct 14, 2021 10:37:54   #
Linda S.
 
Hello All,

You were very helpful when I went to Iceland 2/2019 to photograph the Northern Lights (NL). They did not appear. I have a new question.

This December, I am going on another NL trip to a place 20-30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. It is typically colder there.

I am taking my Canon 5DM4 and the Olympus OMD E1M3. The manual for the Olympus said that it is freeze-proofed to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Alaska temperatures can be much lower - below freezing. The good news is that wind chill doesn't affect the camera. We will be outside at night.

Given the camera is on a tripod taking multiple long exposures at night, how do I keep the camera warm? I read not to put it in your coat for the warmth will cause humid conditions. I don't the "raincoat" I have for it will keep it warm, just not wet if it is raining. The only idea I have is to wrap a child's wool scarf around it...

How do I keep it warm? Last, do I need to worry about the lenses staying warm as well?

Many thanks in advance. Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 11:09:58   #
TonyBot
 
I have no answer, but am suggesting that you also post this on the Astronomy section of UHH. There are undoubtedly many there who have had the same issues and/or might be interested in the responses.

Good luck, and keep yourself warm!

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 11:32:10   #
JBRIII
 
Biggest problems I have ran into with low temps: 1. battery life can be shortened, 2. the screens don't work. Otherwise temps don't seem to effect cameras much. Camera sensors are actually cooled to as much as -40 to decrease noise for astro cameras. There are dew heaters made for cameras, couple of them plus wrapping in mylar space blanket material should help. Need USB battery pack to power, use a wired or remote shutter control, maybe a dummy USB battery also?

Reply
 
 
Oct 14, 2021 11:47:30   #
pmorin Loc: Huntington Beach, Palm Springs
 
Linda S. wrote:
Hello All,

You were very helpful when I went to Iceland 2/2019 to photograph the Northern Lights (NL). They did not appear. I have a new question.

This December, I am going on another NL trip to a place 20-30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. It is typically colder there.

I am taking my Canon 5DM4 and the Olympus OMD E1M3. The manual for the Olympus said that it is freeze-proofed to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Alaska temperatures can be much lower - below freezing. The good news is that wind chill doesn't affect the camera. We will be outside at night.

Given the camera is on a tripod taking multiple long exposures at night, how do I keep the camera warm? I read not to put it in your coat for the warmth will cause humid conditions. I don't the "raincoat" I have for it will keep it warm, just not wet if it is raining. The only idea I have is to wrap a child's wool scarf around it...

How do I keep it warm? Last, do I need to worry about the lenses staying warm as well?

Many thanks in advance. Linda
Hello All, br br You were very helpful when I we... (show quote)



When we went to Churchill Canada to see the polar bear migration to the sea ice, I had no problems with my Canon 7d2. The temp was often below freezing and the camera performed perfectly even when we were out for several hours at a time. Battery life was half of normal, so I just carried extras in my pockets close to my body to keep them warm.
The lenses had no trouble either. Condensation was not a problem in them and the only real pain was keeping water spots off the glass from the snow flurries.

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Oct 14, 2021 11:50:19   #
Retired CPO Loc: Travel full time in an RV
 
Linda S. wrote:
Hello All,

You were very helpful when I went to Iceland 2/2019 to photograph the Northern Lights (NL). They did not appear. I have a new question.

This December, I am going on another NL trip to a place 20-30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. It is typically colder there.

I am taking my Canon 5DM4 and the Olympus OMD E1M3. The manual for the Olympus said that it is freeze-proofed to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Alaska temperatures can be much lower - below freezing. The good news is that wind chill doesn't affect the camera. We will be outside at night.

Given the camera is on a tripod taking multiple long exposures at night, how do I keep the camera warm? I read not to put it in your coat for the warmth will cause humid conditions. I don't the "raincoat" I have for it will keep it warm, just not wet if it is raining. The only idea I have is to wrap a child's wool scarf around it...

How do I keep it warm? Last, do I need to worry about the lenses staying warm as well?

Many thanks in advance. Linda
Hello All, br br You were very helpful when I we... (show quote)


A wool scarf won't do it. They work holding in the warmth of a warm blooded person next to the body but not for inanimate things. Use chemical hand/foot warmers taped to the camera body. Then the wool scarf will hold in that heat for a time.

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 11:57:15   #
Linda S.
 
TonyBot wrote:
I have no answer, but am suggesting that you also post this on the Astronomy section of UHH. There are undoubtedly many there who have had the same issues and/or might be interested in the responses.

Good luck, and keep yourself warm!


TonyBot thank you so much! I had forgotten that there might be sub-groups. I will right now. Thank you again! Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 11:58:58   #
Linda S.
 
Retired CPO wrote:
A wool scarf won't do it. They work holding in the warmth of a warm blooded person next to the body but not for inanimate things. Use chemical hand/foot warmers taped to the camera body. Then the wool scarf will hold in that heat for a time.


Thank you Retired CPO! I have many left over from last year. This is going to be an easy fix! Thank you again.

Reply
 
 
Oct 14, 2021 12:10:22   #
Bultaco Loc: Aiken, SC
 
I've shot in -30F, never had any trouble with camera or lens, take a couple extra batteries and keep them warm. Good luck.

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 12:10:50   #
Linda S.
 
JBRIII wrote:
Biggest problems I have ran into with low temps: 1. battery life can be shortened, 2. the screens don't work. Otherwise temps don't seem to effect cameras much. Camera sensors are actually cooled to as much as -40 to decrease noise for astro cameras. There are dew heaters made for cameras, couple of them plus wrapping in mylar space blanket material should help. Need USB battery pack to power, use a wired or remote shutter control, maybe a dummy USB battery also?


OMG JBRIII! I started looking at them before responding. Just found out that there is also a dew heater strap plus an adjustable energy pack. I wasn't expecting to carry that extra equipment on a plane...I will also do more research on a "dummy USB battery". BH has dew heaters for telescopes...a bit pricy for this senior...Will definitely post query to the newly-found astro group...I do like the idea of a mylar space blanket... Thank you! I learned something very new today! Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 12:13:08   #
Linda S.
 
Bultaco wrote:
I've shot in -30F, never had any trouble with camera or lens, take a couple extra batteries and keep them warm. Good luck.


Thank you Bultaco! Just ordered more batteries for the Oly and another charger for when I am in my room. The Canon is older and the 4th 5D I've owned, so I think I am good on batteries and an extra charger. Thank you again. Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 13:39:49   #
robertjerl Loc: Corona, California
 
Linda S. wrote:
Hello All,

You were very helpful when I went to Iceland 2/2019 to photograph the Northern Lights (NL). They did not appear. I have a new question.

This December, I am going on another NL trip to a place 20-30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. It is typically colder there.

I am taking my Canon 5DM4 and the Olympus OMD E1M3. The manual for the Olympus said that it is freeze-proofed to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Alaska temperatures can be much lower - below freezing. The good news is that wind chill doesn't affect the camera. We will be outside at night.

Given the camera is on a tripod taking multiple long exposures at night, how do I keep the camera warm? I read not to put it in your coat for the warmth will cause humid conditions. I don't the "raincoat" I have for it will keep it warm, just not wet if it is raining. The only idea I have is to wrap a child's wool scarf around it...

How do I keep it warm? Last, do I need to worry about the lenses staying warm as well?

Many thanks in advance. Linda
Hello All, br br You were very helpful when I we... (show quote)


Remember Google is your friend(I searched-"digital cameras in cold weather"), this from a photographer who lives in Alaska:

https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-care-of-your-camera-in-cold-weather/

Reply
 
 
Oct 14, 2021 14:21:14   #
JBRIII
 
Linda S. wrote:
OMG JBRIII! I started looking at them before responding. Just found out that there is also a dew heater strap plus an adjustable energy pack. I wasn't expecting to carry that extra equipment on a plane...I will also do more research on a "dummy USB battery". BH has dew heaters for telescopes...a bit pricy for this senior...Will definitely post query to the newly-found astro group...I do like the idea of a mylar space blanket... Thank you! I learned something very new today! Linda


I realize that finding out something does not work on the trip is a real downer, but most specs on such things I find are just what the company tests or cares to advertise. For example, many cameras, including action cameras, say 64 GB cards. I have used up to 256GB with no problem other than battery time.

You could always put your camera in a freezer bag and leave in the frig (4F) freezer for a time, most stand alone freezers reach at least -20F I believe. My one telescope says to freezing, I have had it coated in ice due to frezzing fog/dew and no problems, works to at least 5 F. Camera sensor specs almost always say 400 to 700nm, but the sensors can see from 350 to 1100 nm at least, lens, hot filters are a problem of course, but they have nothing to do with the sensor itself.

Final thought, a space blanket (really cheap on Amazon, but probably can get at an outdoor store) plus some of those hand warmers packets might do the trick if really cold. If really cold, the hand controller is nice as fingers don't work well in cold and I find handling a camera wearing gloves to be near impossible for me. Hands and feet have always been my problem, have skied in -24F (Baniff) and wind chills to -95F (Brech.), body OK, but not my hands or feet (Eventually had heated boot and gloves).

Good luck;
I find questions like yours make me think about such things for my self.

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 14:42:01   #
Linda S.
 
robertjerl wrote:
Remember Google is your friend(I searched-"digital cameras in cold weather"), this from a photographer who lives in Alaska:

https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-care-of-your-camera-in-cold-weather/


robertjerl, thank you very much for the link! I did use Google but I went down the path of the Olympus and freezing weather! This is a great page. Thank you again! Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 14:44:15   #
Linda S.
 
robertjerl wrote:
Remember Google is your friend(I searched-"digital cameras in cold weather"), this from a photographer who lives in Alaska:

https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-care-of-your-camera-in-cold-weather/


This is a terrific page!! Who knew your breath could freeze on your lens glass! I have a clip on my camera strap for the cap! Thank you yet again! Linda

Reply
Oct 14, 2021 15:38:04   #
Gene51 Loc: Yonkers, NY, now in LSD (LowerSlowerDelaware)
 
Linda S. wrote:
Hello All,

You were very helpful when I went to Iceland 2/2019 to photograph the Northern Lights (NL). They did not appear. I have a new question.

This December, I am going on another NL trip to a place 20-30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. It is typically colder there.

I am taking my Canon 5DM4 and the Olympus OMD E1M3. The manual for the Olympus said that it is freeze-proofed to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Alaska temperatures can be much lower - below freezing. The good news is that wind chill doesn't affect the camera. We will be outside at night.

Given the camera is on a tripod taking multiple long exposures at night, how do I keep the camera warm? I read not to put it in your coat for the warmth will cause humid conditions. I don't the "raincoat" I have for it will keep it warm, just not wet if it is raining. The only idea I have is to wrap a child's wool scarf around it...

How do I keep it warm? Last, do I need to worry about the lenses staying warm as well?

Many thanks in advance. Linda
Hello All, br br You were very helpful when I we... (show quote)


At -10°F there is no humidity. Condensation on a cold camera surface comes from your own body.

Putting a scarf around it is not going to keep it warm for very long - the scarf prevents heat loss. But the camera does not generate any heat.

I wouldn't worry about keeping the camera warm. As you can see, they will work at far below their conservative temperature ratings.


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