Shooting in the Cold – The Villains Hampering Winter Photography

Enemy #4: Static Electricity

Both rollfilm and digital cameras are sensitive to static discharge, but for very different reasons. Winter’s low humidity is the base ingredient to a formula for ‘lightning in your pants. Static sparks caused by high speed motor transporting of film can actually generate enough light to be caught on film and potentially ruining your image. So the ‘slow in the cold’ adage from above is the best remedy for this.

On the other hand complex electronics in digital and advanced film cameras are obviously sensitive to bursts of electricity. Metal and plastic bodies can conduct and pass on the charge to areas innards highly susceptible to shorting. The sometimes random nature of static is some cause for concern, but for the most part, there is a little to no chance of damage. Just be aware especially if you are fond of static-inducing winter clothing made of wool, acrylic or polyester fleece.


So this is your watch list for what can go wrong when shooting in the cold. We focused primarily on keeping your camera protected, but don’t neglect keeping your own body warm. After all, when they find your frozen corpse, the only good that can come from having a camera that continues to work is that you can write out your goodbyes in yellow snow then shoot it for posthumous posterity.

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One Response to Shooting in the Cold – The Villains Hampering Winter Photography

  1. nikonD60 says:

    That was some useful advice, thanks. Of course if you end up freezing while taking pics…

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