Tips for Filming in the Winter and Snow

Have you ever wished you could be there when you look at a photograph of a winter scene? A photo cannot capture the cold. While filming in Iceland’s winter and snow, I made some good decisions and some mistakes. This post will cover the best gear and the tips you should use when filming in snowy conditions.

We also offer tips and tricks for photographing snow.

Tips for filming in Winter and Snow

How to Dress

You must first make sure that you are wearing the appropriate clothes to weather the elements. Layers are the name of this game! Below is what I wore. It kept me comfortable and dry as I traveled in the constantly changing Icelandic weather.

Sunnyscope offers an informative article on understanding the clothing layering system to help you choose the right clothes for your trip.

Base Layer

Materials that are able to wick water and provide warmth should be chosen. My base layer was a layer of merino wool, from neck to toe. The gloves were not included. This is the closest layer to my body. I wanted to ensure that I stayed warm, didn’t sweat too much, and didn’t smell after wearing the same clothes for several days. Although it may sound strange, merino is truly a magical fabric. It was fine for me.

I was smart in packing a few pairs thick merino socks and two sets of Icebreaker long underwear. I regret the choice of gloves. I had two gloves: a thin windbreaker glove and a thicker duty glove. Although they could not withstand rain, the thin liner glove worked well in dry weather. They were too thick for me to use my camera with the larger gloves that I had on top of them. After I returned home, I found a new set of gloves. Gloves with tactility liner are best. These gloves are just right for me to use my phone or manipulate my camera.

Top Layer

Above my base layer, I wore a fleece and waterproof hiking pants. A pair of GORETEX boots was also on hand. These kept me dry while I walked across an icy stream to take the above picture. To top it all, I wore a jacket and thick beanie as well as the mentioned mittens. My GORE-TEX rain jacket was the last layer that I wore. It kept my layers below it dry. It was also great because it fitted over my helmet and allowed me to go ice climbing.

Although I looked puffy, it was actually quite comfortable and I was able to brave the cold when others left. I was able to take great photos and videos with this gear, as well as some amazing footage. And it didn’t make me feel bad.

Another tip: Take a thermos. I filled mine up with hot chocolate. This kept me warm and kept me happy as I waited for the weather change.

How to Protect your Camera

You have now got the right gear to keep you warm in the winter. Now you need to think about how you will maintain your equipment. When working in winter conditions, there are several things you need to consider. Consider how temperature affects your gear, how moisture can be removed from your gear, as well as how temperature changes can impact your ability to use your lenses.

Battery Life

The problem with cold temperatures is the fact that they can reduce your battery life. In cold temperatures, your batteries don’t hold as much charge. Keep them near your body to help retain more charge. Always keep a lot of spare batteries. A cold shoe mount and pipe clamp were used to attach a portable charging cable. This kept my batteries charged for much longer than normal. These battery packs were much cheaper than buying expensive cameras batteries.

Instant Cameras

If you love instant cameras or Polaroid, you may find that the cold can affect the chemicals in each exposure. This can lead to unusual results. Although I did not say that you would get bad results, sometimes playing around with the developing agents can produce some interesting effects. If you want authentic reproduction, keep your instant camera warm and any film warm. My camera was kept in my jacket, close to my body. After you have taken your photo and it has ejected from the camera, be sure to keep the film close to your body so that it can develop at normal temperatures. It’s a good place to ensure that your body heat allows it to develop properly.

DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

Condensation can form when you switch between extreme temperatures, such as a heated vehicle and the cold outside. The most visible areas are the viewfinder and front-glass element. It can take up to a year for the condensation to evaporate, depending on how warm it is. Wiping it away won’t get rid of it.

How can you combat this problem? You can try to keep your camera as close as possible to the temperature outside. A trunk can be closed off from the main car and separated from it. This will help to keep the temperature stable. You can use a hotel room to store your camera. Close the door and open a window to bring it closer to outside temperatures.

After you’re done with your day of shooting, take out your battery and your memory card. Next, remove all air from your camera and place it in a zippered bag. Once the camera has acclimated to its temperature, you can take it out of the bag. This helps to reduce condensation problems caused by air. Cameras and lenses that are subject to excessive moisture can develop problems like hazing, fungus or electronic issues.

What Gear Do You Need to Bring?

The same lens and camera has served me well for many years. A Sony a7RII, a Canon 24-70mm f2.8L I, and a vintage Canon FD50mm f1.4 are my cameras. My latest additions to my travel gear are the Peak Design Travel Tripod and Universal Head Adapter, as well as my Benro S4PRO video head.

Photo Tripod

When I travel, I always take a tripod. Sometimes, a tripod can make it possible to take shots that are impossible without them. I don’t mind carrying extra weight. If I’m certain that I won’t use it, I can leave the tripod in my hotel room or car. It saves my life when I know I will use it, as in the below scene. Although camera ISO’s have improved with time, there are still situations that require a tripod. The Peak Design tripod is a great option because it allows me to keep my shutter speed at almost one second for photos of the Northern Lights and flowing water.

Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod With Ball Head

Video Tripod Head

This attachment allowed me to attach my Benro S4PRO Video Head when I wanted to take video. This head is a great balance between compact and powerful travel video tripod heads. Because I am used to using larger tripod heads for film sets, I have some expectations. These larger video heads are bigger because of the engineering and materials required to achieve smooth tilts and pans with heavier equipment. I’ve tried several small video cameras for traveling and none of them were smooth enough.

Although I didn’t expect to have the same control as a larger head I was expecting, I felt that there was a good balance between size and ability. This is what the Benro head does for me. The S4PRO is a portable, smooth-running tilt and pan machine that’s also very mobile. It is made of high quality materials and looks durable.

Benro S4PRO Video Head, Payload 8.8 lb

Covers and Packs

Two more Peak Design items were also with me. I can carry all of my gear and accessories in the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L. Peak Design Shell Form Fitting Rain & Dust Cover was also included. It was hale-like and I pulled out the Peak Design Shell Form-Fitting Rain & Dust Cover. My 24-70mm lens is weather-sealed, but my body isn’t, so this was a lifesaver.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L in Black

Peak Design Medium Shell-Fitting Rain and Dust Covers for Medium Cameras & Lenses

Photographing in snow and winter can be rewarding and beautiful. These tips will help you keep your equipment and yourself safe so that you can create.

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