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Winter Photography: Part 1 - Batteries

In this part of the country (upstate New York) we have 5 months of winter, so I'm going to get into some detail on this topic.

My first tip is this: You can't get any great winter photos if you sit next to the fireplace. If it's cold and snowy, put another sweater on and get out there.

Seriously now, one of the first problems with winter photography is the cold.....particularly how cold affects batteries. Almost everyone uses batteries in the photographic pursuits whether they are actually in your camera, or in a separate light meter. If you've ever attempted cold weather photography (or tried to start a car when it's very cold) you know that cold temperatures reduce a battery's usefulness. Here's how to fight back.

Different batteries work better in the cold. Some may argue with me, but I've found that I get more power from my NiCads than alkalines. However, lithium batties are the most resistent to cold. If your camera takes the 2CR6 battery, you're in luck. If not, there are AA size lithium batteries available. Some camera manufacturers are staying mum about their use, but I haven't had any problems. The only downfall is cost... about 3 times more than an alkaline AA. But, you get a longer battery life.

Keep 'em warm: Yeah right...that's easy to say isn't it? The trick is to have at least two sets of batteries. One in the camera, and a second in a waterproof container staying warm near your body (chest pockets on coats are great locations). When the set in your camera dies, rotate it with the warm batteries. The waterproof container is important to reduce condensation on the batteries. For quick warming, use one of those chemical hand warmer packets.

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