Winter is almost upon us, and that also means the opportunity for beautiful photos of falling snow is about to happen.
Unfortunately, to do that, you have to actually go out in the snow. So, what do you do to keep your gear safe and snowflake-free?
First things first, it’s always a good bet to take out your “weather resistant” gear in the snow. A Fujifilm X-T3 or something Pentax-flavored probably might survive better than cameras that aren’t billed as weather resistant. When it snows, I usually reach for my X-T1 and a weather-resistant lens such as a Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR lens or Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens. While both of these types of lenses have a “WR” designation for the company’s weather resistant line of lenses, I never trust that designation from any company. I’ve been lucky and caught in downpours and blizzards where my Fujis (and Canons and Nikons) have all survived without protection, but it’s never a sure thing.
For one, the word “resistant” isn’t “proof,” but even in the case where something is billed as “weatherproof,” aside from not believing it, I don’t want to risk it anyway. All it takes is water getting into just the right spot to cause a camera to fail.
That’s where the humble plastic bag comes in. Yes, I’m talking about the kind you probably pack your groceries in. If you don’t believe me, here’s some picture proof:
It doesn’t look sexy, but it does the job. In addition to always keeping a plastic bag with me, I also carry gaffer tape and rubber bands with me. I usually poke a small hole in the bottom of the bag, push the lens through, then use the lens hood to secure the bag If I’m feeling nervous or the weather is a little more severe, I’ll use the rubber bands and tape to secure things down even more. I can then poke my head through what was the top of the bag to operate the controls and see through the viewfinder.
If you’re worried about looking professional, you can spend a little bit more for see-through plastic bags with drawstrings attached, the kind you see on the Nikon with the larger lens in the photo above. I’ve used these, and no one’s ever said anything about it, and my gear has survived all manner of downpours while shooting sports.
Finally, you can go all out and get high-end protective gear, such as the Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia series, and while when my employers at the newspaper were paying for similarly high-end rain covers, that was fine, it didn’t make sense as a freelancer, and I’ve never felt hamstrung with my clear plastic covers or shopping bags.
Just because the precipitation starts, don’t stop shooting! Sometimes, the best pictures come out of bad weather.