Winter in Maine produces scenes that call out to photographers to brave the cold to capture the beauty. One area of camera safety that people often fail to consider is what can happen to your gear when you come back inside to the comfort of a warm room.
Mainer’s who wear glasses should immediately understand. When you come in from the cold and into a warm room, or worse yet, get into a warm car, glasses immediately fog up with condensation. The same thing can happen with camera gear.
Hot cocoa upon coming in = good; condensation on gear = bad. Not only can the water vapor damage the electronics on your camera, in extreme cases, condensation can form on the inside of the lens glass and completely ruin the lens.
Fortunately, an easy solution exists. Some photographers carry a large plastic ziplock bag. Just prior to going inside, the photographer places the camera in the bag and zips it shut. The underlying concept involves the dry outside air being trapped in the bag with the camera. When everything comes inside, condensation may form on the outside of the bag, but the inside of the bag remains dry. Set the camera in the bag somewhere safe and let the whole thing come up to room temperature. A camera bag that zips or closes tightly serves the same purpose.
If neither of these options exist, put on the neckstrap and hang your camera inside your jacket for five minutes or so before you enter a warmer space. Body heat will help gradually raise the temperature of the camera. Leave your jacket on for a few minutes, with the camera still tucked away, once inside the building.
With any of these approaches, if you plan on editing pictures immediately upon entering the building, remember to take the memory card out before you put the camera in your bag or jacket. You can warm that up with your hands and get to work as desired.