Friday, April 10, 2009

Skywatch Friday: It was a dark and stormy...

It looks pretty cold and windy up top as the storm blew through. I'm glad I was down here in the 'warm'.

Speaking of which, taking pictures in the cold has its own challenges. First off, its impossible to handle the camera while wearing nice cozy mittens. After a winter morning shoot, I usually can't feel my fingers anymore.

More important is the issue of bringing the now sub-zero camera into a nice warm, humid house. Condensation is not good for your camera. I used to collect the silica gel desiccants that come with some products (shoes, electronics, wicked witches, etc). By placing the desiccants and the cold camera equipment in a plastic bag until the temperatures equalize you can help keep moisture out of the camera and off of the lenses. Recently I found a silica gel desiccant product that can be reactivated in an ordinary oven. Unfortunately, I expect it to last for months before it needs to be reactivated - I guess I'll have to find another way to warm my numb, blue fingers.

Be sure to checkout other photos from Sky Watch Friday

11 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Terrific shot! and it does look cold!! Thanks, too, for the information about cameras and the cold. Makes sense. Hope your fingers have thawed out by now.

Linnea W said...

Wow! It almost looks like you took this one out of a plane! You seem to be so high up. Interesting about taking pix in freezing temps. I haven't had that problem since I'm so rarely in really cold climates! Enjoy the weekend...

ms toast burner said...

Amazing photo, Russ. I can certainly feel the cold from it. Brrrrr....

I wear hearing aids and have this container that dehumidifies the aids overnight. It's essentially a plastic jar with a big removable dessicant 'pillow' - about the size of a computer mouse. It's fully reactivated by popping it in the nuker for 45 secs and has worked well for me for a few years. Dirt cheap.

Since I'm often out in the rain with my camera, I've been thinking a few of these pillows in a plastic bag or big tupperware container might be handy after a day out in the damp... and the pillows can be stored, fully activated, in the original containers until needed. Just a thought I'd pass on...

If interested, here's what they look like.
http://www.adcohearing.com/product389.html

Often called 'stay dri' or 'Audiologist's Choice' hearing aid dehumidifiers.

Bryan said...

I'd never even thought about condensation before now. So much to learn. I'm guessing it's not much of an issue when you live in Georgia and go from the cold outdoors to your cold car that slowly warms up on the long drive home.

As for this photo - awesome! That one lit mountain side looks temptingly warm compared to the rest of the photo.

prkl said...

Great wiew, great light, thence great pic. Happy SWF!

Titania said...

Dark and stormy makes a splendid picture with the dark, sombre mountain and a bank of dark clouds settling, leaving a bit of handkerchief size, blue. Photographing gives great pleasure and a sense of achievement when a picture turns out well. Sometimes a picture with small flaws can make an interesting aspect.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Nice shots!

Silica gel sounds like a good idea for keeping cameras free of moisture!

Mojo said...

Okay first things firts. If there was ever a photo that screamed "COLD!", this would have to be a contender.

I thought I was the only one who collected those little dessicant packets. I am not alone! Hooray!

So how hot and how long in the oven to bring them back up to snuff, and how many times can you go through this cycle before they eventually break down and you can't do it any more?

Russ said...

Thanks everyone!

Byran - when I lived in Austin, Tx, I had the opposite problem. During the hot, humid summers, everybody keeps the air conditioning going. When the camera is room temp, and you take it outside, you'll get condensation. Its a good think to let the temps equalize in that case also.


MS Toast Burner -- thanks for the pointer. I'm sure that product would work. And the little duckies can't hurt :)

Mojo - I still collect and use the dessicant packets. However, I have no idea when they lose effectiveness - I didn't like that.

You probably could put them in the oven, but I not sure that the packaging would hold up. Perhaps the microwave like Ms Toast Burner's desiccant? I really don't know.

The product I finally bought was Hydrosorbent Silica Gel Desiccant 40 Gram (Protects 3 Cubic Feet) Aluminum Canister . It says to put it in a 300 degree oven for 3hrs.

I like the idea of an indicator on the package that tells me when it no longer effective.

Have a great weekend!

ms toast burner said...

About the dessicant stuff... the hearing aid thingies that I refer to... the bottom of the pillow is clear plastic, so you can see the dessicant beads. When the beads turn reddish, time to reactivate them (nuke 'em) and when they are blueish they are 'ready' to absorb moisture.

Not sure if that helps! :-)

joshidaniel said...

that's a great shot!