Facebook Pixel Winter Photography Tips | Bendy straws and Ziploc bags?

Winter Photography Tips | Bendy straws and Ziploc bags?

© Paul Burwell Photography

Black-capped Chickadee on a snowy branch

While a lot of photographers find that winter is an excellent time to hibernate, there are really no good excuses for staying indoors and avoiding winter.  But, you do need to take steps to protect your equipment.  Here’s a few ideas to keep things safe.


One of the biggest problems for cameras in cold weather is condensation.  Condensation occurs when you bring a camera from the dry cold temperatures outdoors, to the warm and relatively moist conditions in your vehicle or home. When that warm moist air reaches the sensor on your cold camera, condensation occurs which can leave your sensor covered in spots or even damage the electronics.  The solution to this issue is to remove your memory card and battery(s) from your camera and then transfer your gear into a Ziploc type of bag and seal it in there with the cold air while you are still outside.  Now when you bring the camera gear into a warm area, the moisture can’t get to the camera to condense  on the camera’s sensor.  Once everything warms up to room temperature you can remove it from the baggy.asj-222_1z

Another issue for winter photography is battery life.  Cold is the mortal enemy of battery life and unfortunately there just isn’t a lot you can do about that.  But, what you can do is keep a spare battery or two in an inside jacket pocket, next to your body.  The warmth of your body will keep the batteries toasty warm and when the battery in your camera succumbs to the cold, all you need to do is swap it for a warm battery.  The cold battery will slowly warm and you’ll probably find it has renewed energy when called upon.

Bendy StrawAnother bit of winter annoyance comes from having your breath condensate and freeze on your camera’s viewfinder while you’re trying to focus.  The solution for this frustration  may just be the cheapest photography accessory you will ever own. Are you ready for this brilliant invention?  Okay, here it is:

You can use a bendy straw as a type of snorkel to direct your warm moist breath away from your camera’s viewfinder so that you can continue to make those great winter shots. This  tip also provides endless entertainment for anyone who happens to be watching you.  Try it, it works!

Fight back against the winter doldrums and get out there and make some great photographs! Hopefully these tips will make your winter photography sessions more tolerable!

© Paul Burwell Photography

Northern Pygmy Owl on a frosty branch

Further reading on shooting on cold or inclement weather:

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Paul Burwell
Paul Burwell

is a professional photographer, writer, educator and enthusiastic naturalist with over twenty years experience working with and educating adults. In addition to being the owner of the Burwell School of Photography, he is a contributing editor and regular columnist with Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine. Paul has been a finalist in the Veolia ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ worldwide competition in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and was named a ‘Top Wildlife Shooter’ by Popular Photography Magazine in 2010.

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