I can't believe 2017 is almost here. Between the Africa Photography Safari Tour in February, being a bear guide in Alaska for most of the summer, getting engaged to the love of my life, and a quick adventure to the Tetons, 2016 has gone by way too fast.
Here is an overview of the December 2016 newsletter:
Tip #1: BACK BUTTON FOCUS
I mentioned this in the last newsletter but it's worth sharing again. I have taught it to more people and they can not say enough positive things about it.
Back in the day I would get approximately 75-80% images that were in focus. Since switching to back button focus that number has jumped up to 95-98% crisp shots. I have taught this technique to others and once they switch, they have had similar results. When you are photographing in the cold, back button focus is even more vital since there is high probability your hands may be a bit shaky.
Tip #2: BE PREPARED
Do your research on your location before heading into the field. If you are going to be photographing for more than an hour or so, the weather may be totally different than what it was when you first got into the field. For example, when I left my house in Utah, it was a little cold (32*F). Over the course of the drive the temperature would fluctuate within 10 degrees. Upon arriving to the Tetons and it was -24 degrees. As in BELOW ZERO. It was VERY cold. Luckily I had prepared for the worst so even with the subzero temperature I was able to stay pretty comfortable.
Tip #3: BATTERIES
If you are new to outdoor photography, you may or may not have given much thought into how outdoor temperature effect your gear. In extreme cold temperatures, you may be a surprised when you find your battery lifespan between charges will be cut in half in no time at all. To keep your batteries charged in the field, I recommend keeping the batteries against your body or in a pocket with hand warmers. I assure you, this will make all the difference during winter month shoots.
Tip #4: COLD WEATHER LENS CHANGES
When you are photographing in extreme cold conditions, batteries aren't the only thing you'll need to take into consideration. When you go from the cold outdoors and your vehicle/cabin/hotel and remove the lens from the camera body, chances are very good they will fog up. It will take some time to defog. In-field lens changes are typically fine as long as temperatures are constant (and assuming your environment is free of moisture and sand). Ultimately I recommend keeping the bodies and lens always mounted when possible.
I had a great time in the Tetons. While the temperatures were beyond freezing cold, I was happy for the opportunity to photograph some Rocky Mountain Goats, snow covered Bison, Moose, and Big Horn Sheep.