It happens every year about this time. The camera sits in the cold car a little to long and then when I head into a shoot the lens fogs over and takes forever to warm up. Last week it happened to me when I headed in to cover a candlelight vigil. I went from the car, where the camera had been for about two hours, into a very warm bar. Not good. It took about fifteen minutes to clear. Condensation is a nightmare. So how can it be avoided?
The best way to keep fog off your glass is to try to keep your camera at about the same temperature as the environment you’ll be heading into. The cold glass/warm air combo is a show killer. Last week if I had kept the camera close to me instead of in the back it would have been as warm as I was. Not quite as warm as the bar but a lot warmer than the trunk. It may have fogged up a little but not to the point where it could jeopardize an assignment. Nothing works perfectly but a few minutes between foggy and shooting is much better than a lot of minutes. The best way to keep your camera warm would be to have it sit open next to you and keep the heat up (and the air bag off). Than you can zip up the gear bag and head inside. A real pain for some of those bigger gear bags I know. Park close and you should be fine. It’s also a good idea not to leave the camera in your vehicle for much longer than the drive to your destination. If you get your gear ready and loaded every morning like I do just remember to leave the camera inside until you actually leave for your assignment.
Shooting in the reverse doesn’t present the same problems. Then it’s you that suffers. Hopefully if you’re reading this you know how to keep yourself warm. Layers work best. Good boots are a must! I just picked up a great pair of shooting gloves and they’re perfect for, uh, shooting. You can get them anywhere sporting goods are sold. They’re for hunting but work like a dream for those cold days when you’re caught outside and have to keep making adjustments or hitting record without cursing.
Lots of photographers who shoot in colder climates know to put a cold camera inside a plastic bag and wrap it tight. A large Ziplock bag has worked wonders for my DSLR. Of course this will only work at the end of your day. Bring the camera inside wrapped up, let it sit for a couple hours, and it’ll be fine. The plastic bag serves as a vapor shield and prevents condensation from building up. This will save a lot heartache and stretch your gear’s life. Water and electronics hate each other. Remember condensation can form inside the camera as well.
Have a cold weather tip? Please leave it in the comments!