Category Archives: Photography

Bushwalking Equipment | Keep Your Camera Working in the Cold and Wet

Ever tried to take photos in the rain on a cold day or come inside from the cold to a nice warm hut/car/tent and wondered why you couldn’t see through the lens? Worried about what will happen when you go outside into the cold and wet?

These are universal problems for outdoors photographers and can be incredibly frustrating, as I recently experienced on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand.

Fortunately the cold itself is not usually a problem for a warm camera ( NB the same applies to your smart phone’s inbuilt camera), as condensation does not form on warm objects and cold air is usually relatively dry. There are of course the dual problems of the rain or snow falling on the lens or getting into the camera electronics and then there are the  batteries, which often fail when cold. No batteries, no photos!

Solving the battery problem is relatively easy. Just keep the camera warm, next to your body, along with a spare set of batteries which you can use to replace the non-functioning cold batteries if needed. Swap them back with the newly warmed batteries, if you need to repeat the process. While they are much more expensive, Lithium batteries last longer and perform better in the cold than NiCad.

The difficulty of shooting photos in the cold and wet is that you often get water on the lens or viewfinder, which either makes it difficult to compose the shot or ruins it completely. Pull your rain jacket hood over your head and use a  peaked cap to keep the water off the lens and camera. Keep the camera inside your jacket near your body, where it’s easy to find, not inside your cold backpack, where both the camera and the pack contents will get wet every time you want to take a photo.

The alternative of course, is not to take the camera out of you pack during rain, but then why bring your camera at all, if you’re not going to use it. Wet weather photos are unique and mountain scenery with rain and snow falling, cascading waterfalls, racing creeks and swirling fog is magical.

If it’s particularly cold and you are wearing gloves, then you have another problem. Take your gloves off and freeze while you operate the buttons or use a camera that is fully automatic. Even better, buy a waterproof fully automatic camera or a single use waterproof camera.

Coming inside after a long day in the cold is the most problematic. The greater the temperature difference between your camera and the warm moist air produced by all those wet clothes drying in front of the fire, the greater will be the condensation on your lens and electronics. The solution of course is to minimise the temperature difference by either pre-warming your camera or slowly letting it warm in the coldest place you can find inside.

Placing your camera in a waterproof bag before you come inside, will make sure that any condensation is on the outside of the bag not on your camera. Then its just a matter of waiting until your camera warms up before you take it out of its bag.

The same applies to your camera card and batteries, let them warm up next to your body before changing them in your camera.


Thanks to Bill S from Trailspace and the New York Institute of Photography for the inspiration to write this article. I needed reminding that condensation only occurs on cold surfaces.

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Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 1| Share the Best of a Group’s Photos Using iPhoto

Ever tried to select the best photos from your bushwalking expedition when there has been several photographers?  How do you easily compare photos of the same scene from different photographers? How do you share the best photos?

 iPhoto Workflow Summary

  • Import the photos from each photographer’s CD into a separate album.
  • Select and drag them all into a new “Combined” album, leaving the old albums intact.
  • Check your own camera’s time/date and correct the time/date of all your own photos
  • Compare the times shown on photos of the same scene from different photographers with your own, now corrected, time/date.
  • Adjust the time/date of each  photographer’s album so that  the photo(s) you have in common have matching times/dates.
  • Sort the photos by time/date and you will now see photos of the same scene from different photographers located together in your “Combined” album.
  • Select the best photos from each scene by giving it 4 stars (Command 4)
  • Set up a Smart album which contains all the photos from your “Combined” album which have more than 3 stars.
  • View your Smart album and you will see all the best photos from your group’s expedition, sorted by time/date.

The workflow I use to help me select the best photos from several photographers is to ask each for a CD and then import them into separate iPhoto albums, each named after the photographer eg initials or first name.

I then set up a new album into which I  drag all the photos and sort by date/time. The first thing you will see is that photos taken at the same time by different photographers don’t appear next to each other on the page. This is because they forgot to update the time on their camera clock before the expedition.

Which camera clock was correct? Were any of the clocks correct?

It doesn’t really matter. Go to your own camera and check the clock against the current time. If like me, your clock was set for AEST, half an hour ahead of ACST, then all you have to do is take 30 mins off each of your photo’s times and they will all have the correct time.

How do you adjust the time and date on a photo?

Well you could go to each photo’s information (EXIF) by selecting Info from the menu at the bottom of the edit window and subtract 30 mins from each time. There is an easier way, and that is to select all the photos belonging to one photographer and change them all at once using the Photos/Adjust Time Date menu item. (HINT: the time shown is that of the first photo in the album, so adjust the time on this photo by the differential you have calculated). All the photos in your both your initial and “Combined” album will take on the new times/dates

How do you select the best photo of a scene?

Now that they all have the correct date and time photos of the same scene will be together. Compare them by selecting all the photos of the same scene and then double clicking to open up a new window where they will all be displayed next to each other. Allocate 4 stars to the best and permanently delete any unusable photos by OPTION-COMMAND-DELETE them. Repeat for each scene.

How do you view the best photos?

To do this set up a new smart album called “Best of…” and set the criteria to include all photos from your “Combined” album that have more than 3 stars. Simply change the number of stars for a particular photo in your “Combined” album to less than 4 to make it disappear from your Smart album. It will still appear in both the “Combined” and individual import album but not in your Smart album.

How do you share the “Best of..” photos?

Well you can upload to iWeb, MobileMe, burn a copy of the iPhoto library or make a DVD slideshow movie using iDVD. You could also upload to DropBox or any of the other online galleries such as Flickr, Picasa. If you are uploading to iWeb make sure your selection does not include any movies and that the title of the site has no spaces.

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Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.