Clichés. Don’t you just love them? Popular business phrases make some people wince with embarrassment, yet they occasionally hit home with a punch of truth, despite their cringe factor.
PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE
This one is helpful, especially when paired down to the bare essentials. So, here are a few tips, based on this 5p cliché, (the military have their own version, which some of you may know!) for when you go out for a Winter walk with your camera and gear.
Before you venture out in the cold, especially if it is snowing and you’re going somewhere a bit remote, just take a few moments to check:
1. The weather! Visibility, expected snowfall, wind direction, temperature etc. The BBC and Met Office phone apps are two popular ones, but others are available.
2. Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to return.
3. Look at Google maps of the area you’re thinking of exploring. Check the terrain. Look for potential hazards. Think about features and landmarks that could make good focal points. Also, another really useful app is ‘The Photographer’s Ephemeris’, which gives you essential data such as sunrise/sunset times and also the angle of the sun at any given time of day and year.
While some other photographers find this part tedious, I love it! Getting the gear ready for the next expedition can be so helpful in spurring you on and giving you that boost you may need to just get out there and do it. So, run through a few basic checks of your equipment before setting off.
1. Is the camera battery (and spare if you have one – you SHOULD have one, by the way) fully charged? You’d be surprised how much faster a camera battery can run down in cold weather.
2. Are the lenses clean and dust free? The low sun in the Winter months can give us some great star burst effects from behind trees or rocks for example, but can also ruin a potentially great image with unwanted lens flare, especially if there is dust on the front of the lens.
3. Do you have the right clothing? Are you going to be warm enough? You can get quite warm hiking up a mountain or even a hill, but once you stop to admire the view or set up for a photograph, your body temperature can drop quickly when standing in one spot. Allow for this when deciding what clothes you will need. Take a flask with a hot drink and a bottle of water, especially if you have coffee in the flask. Tea will quench your thirst, but coffee will aggravate it.
Once you’ve planned and prepared, just do it! Get out and about with your camera and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s still free, you know, and great for your state of mind and well-being. Some people find it more helpful to go out with a friend or partner, or in a group. Find whatever works for you, but just go and do it. It doesn’t need to be up a hill, on the moors or up a mountain. Local parks or woodland areas are ideal if that is more convenient for you.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, make sure to enjoy yourself, even in the cold! Photography is just as good in Winter conditions as it is any other time of the year, but stay safe. These 3 tips are only the basics, and more detailed planning will be required for some excursions, but I hope you’ve found it helpful.
BONUS TIP – When you return from your Winter walk/photography trip, wrap your camera in a micro fibre towel and leave it for an hour to get to room temperature before you take out the SD card or remove or change lenses.
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