The image above was shot in Colorado in bitter conditions. Steve said it was the coldest shoot he has had, “It was 5° with a 35 MPH wind, wind chill factor of -43 (-15°C 56 KPH wind, wind chill factor of -42°C) plus it was heavy overcast, sleeting, so high humidity, late in the day, just miserable. In addition to this there were snow drifts that were 4 feet deep that I’m wading through and my client was right there with me.”
“The client is cold, the cowboy in the shot is cold, the crew is cold, I’m cold but I was still not sure I had what I was trying to get until I shot this run.” He continues, “The last thing I wanted was to get back to the hotel room, download the cards and tell my client I did not have the one great shot he needed, even though my feet were telling me that my toes were turning to ice, I just stayed with it until I knew I had the shot.”
Steve says when shooting in cold weather: “It is a good idea to carry several fully charged batteries for your camera and, if you shoot with one, your monitor. If you are planning to be in the cold weather for all/most of the day, get a pouch large enough to put all of your spare batteries inside. Then depending on how cold it is, put 1 to 4 large hand warmers (the 18 hour kind) inside the pouch. This way you will be installing not just a fully charged battery, but a very warm battery too, about 95° (35°C). I have shot in -27°F (-33°C) weather before and this really helps to keep you shooting in bitter cold weather.” You can of course put these warmers into your pockets and into your boots to help keep you warm. He also suggests when you get booked to shoot in cold conditions is to: “Add up all of the people on the shoot and buy enough toe warmers and hand warmers for everyone. Clients will remember how you thought of them when they are freezing but their hands and feet are OK.” Steve buys these by the case on big shoots.
“Or if you can drive to the location, keep the car/truck/van running with the heat on high. This way not only can you recharge your batteries with an adapter, you and the crew can get warmed up. Leave the cameras and lenses outside, but bring the batteries in. Being very cold the camera and lenses might fog up if the car is warm and has a lot of people breathing exhaling a lot of moisture in the car. Or you can bag all of your gear inside Zip Lock bags, sucking as much air out of them as possible before sealing, and then bring them into the car. Remove the gear outside of the warm and moisture laden car.” Steve continues, “I have only done this on one occasion, I was concerned that if left for long in the bitter cold wind that something might freeze or slow down, like the iris in the lenses. I’m not sure it would have happened, but I did not have any such problems. Either it would not have happened or because I took this step it did not happen. Either way I got the shots.”