Taking pictures under low temperatures
Here at South Pole we are easy confronted with temperatures below -100 F (-73.4 C).
Even the best camera will have problems to handle that after a while and if not the camera,
at least the film.
There are a lot of different reason for the camera to quit, for all battery powered ones,
batteries will not work for long under such conditions. What will help is to keep the batteries
somewhere in a warm pocket and just feed the camera with an extension. But even after that the
electronic might quit or mechanical parts and grease get so stiff, that they won't move.
If one has special cold weather grease it still might work, but even then after a few minutes,
your camera body and the film will be so cold, that an advancing is impossible. One will either
break the perforation if you force it or one get some micro rips in the film, i.e. the emulsion
breaks and gives these fine lines during processing.
The answer is a heated camera box. I used one successfully last year and made a improved version
for my new wide angle lens.
Here is the new box for the 15mm wide angle lens. The switch is the remote control
and you can also see the control window.
This is my CANON AE-1 program mounted on a winder, so the remote control works electronicaly and
I only have to open the box to change rolls.
In the foreground is the thermostat, which is keeping the box around 45 F (7 C).
You can also see the heat pads on the bottom, together 100 W.
The control window, 4 fold glass for isolation. Whenever the thermostat is on, a
small neon bulb gives light to read the film counter and the temperature. :))
This is my last years box.
The camera in this one is a CANON FTb with a 28mm lens and is mechanical.
The heating power, also thermostat controlled, is here 200 W, because the box has to be opened
to advance the film and a heat loss is the result.
Both boxes work excellent and give me the possibility to leave the camera out for hours and be
ready for aurorae.
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