A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.

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PaulM2
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A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
5 months ago

I live close to a very large NY State Park, Letchworth, commonly called the "Grand Canyon of the East". It is the gorge of the Genesee River and the park is about 17 miles long.

I have never visited this park in the Winter, so last Tuesday, 2 of my Sailing Buddies and I went over to the park to take some picture of the waterfalls covered in ICE. The temperature when we left my apartment was 11 degrees F or -26 C.

I learned that in extreme cold, you do not change lenses or other settings that require removing gloves. Also being bundled up like a little kid in a snow suit, severely restricts movement.

I had two PEN cameras and a bunch of lenses. The lenses and their case never made it out of the car. I had mounted the 17mm f/2.8 on my little E-PM1 and on the E-PL5, I had the Oly 40-150. My intent was to change to the 14-54 later on. This did not happen.

Now one of my buddies, Pete, elected to just shoot with his cell phone, my other friend, Dave used his favorite little pocket camera, a Oly c-7000z. I had two small cases and soon realized that I was the " big dummy" of the group of dummies taking pictures in 11 deg. weather.. The cases became so stiff with the cold they were difficult to open, changing anything was out of the question.

When you have the time, have a look at my pBase gallery at http://www.pbase.com/paulm2/letchwort_winter Here you will find our shots. The first three are of the same scene for comparison, Pete with the cell phone, Dave with c-7000 and my shot with the E-PM1/17mm. My shot was in RAW which I think makes a lot of difference, but the next time some one starts telling you that the cell phone camera produces just as good as your m43.  Pete has the latest and greatest Samsung.

All the pictures have been thru PSE11, my RAW shots were developed in "Sagelight" then thru PSE11 for anything I did not catch.

If I ever get the urge to do another cold hike it will ne with the E-PL5 with a pancake lens in my coat pocket.

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johnrweb
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

Nice photos.  I like the Middle Falls one.

You wore blue jeans in that condition?  You guys are made of tough stuff.  I would have been bundled in my ski pants and parkas in any weather below 50 degree F.

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gnewsch
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to johnrweb, 5 months ago

11 deg F is "only" -11.6 deg C. You wouldn't have worn blue jeans at -26 for very long, as that's -15 deg F.

Suprised the batteries lasted that long though, did you keep them close to the body?

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PurpleFringe
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

PaulM2 wrote:

I learned that in extreme cold, you do not change lenses or other settings that require removing gloves. Also being bundled up like a little kid in a snow suit, severely restricts movement.

I've been reasonably comfortable shooting at -12f/-25c or thereabouts, and have no problem messing with lenses and settings, but I only let my fingers/hands out of the gloves/mittens for a few seconds at a time. It's easy to fumble at that temp though, so I try to be much more deliberate when handling gear.

Obviously, getting the clothing right is important.

Some of the frustrations that I have at those temps:

  • I need something over my lower face, which inevitably causes my breath to fog my glasses.
  • To see through the EVF on my E-M1, I need to mash my nose into the back of the camera, which means mashing my nose into a -10f object and freezing my nose.
  • Battery life is really poor.
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PaulM2
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to johnrweb, 5 months ago

johnrweb wrote:

Nice photos. I like the Middle Falls one.

You wore blue jeans in that condition? You guys are made of tough stuff. I would have been bundled in my ski pants and parkas in any weather below 50 degree F.

Thanks for the reply.

A couple of weeks ago we had a cold spell with wind chills in the minus numbers big time. Took your breath away, guess the oxygen content was low? But it seemed funny that after a week or so of the very cold, when it warmed up to 20 deg or so it felt almost spring like.

Wading around in snow does keep the legs warm, so the blue jeans worked just fine.

Again thanks for looking in.

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RoelHendrickx
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COOL story
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

Will look at the images later.
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PaulM2
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to gnewsch, 5 months ago

gnewsch wrote:

11 deg F is "only" -11.6 deg C. You wouldn't have worn blue jeans at -26 for very long, as that's -15 deg F.

Suprised the batteries lasted that long though, did you keep them close to the body?

Yeah, after I hit the post button, I realized that when  I converted to degree C,  I looked at the wrong column. Up by the Upper Falls, there was a brisk wind down the gorge. Sure felt on my face, that it was minus something.

All three of us had no battery problems and we were there in the park for 3 hours or so. My cameras were in the case when not in use, Pete and Dave had their cameras in jacket pockets.

Before we came back in to the apartmen,t we put all the camera gear in gallon plastic freezer bags and sealed them up. Did not open the bags until they had warmed up. No Condensation at all.

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Bill Wallace
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

I just had the same story and thoughts last week. I was in the Apostle Island in Northern Wisconsin to shoot the ice caves. Got up (I was alone btw) , got to the ice and ventured out. It was 0 to low single digits with and 15-20 mph wind. I had my whole backpack and tripod and realized immediately there would be no changing of anything. I don't normally use camera straps so I carried my pack for no good reason at all. My hike was about 2 miles or so out and then the same hike back....EM1 did fine as I expected it would, I've shot Oly cams in cold weather for years (I live in Minnesota).

I got a good chuckle out this story.....next time I go up (it's been 5 years since they last opened the ice for ventures to the caves) I'll take a much different approach. One thing I did see people using that I will consider since terrain is relatively flat, is pulling a light weight plastic sled to carry gear you may think you need. Your terrain will dictate whether this will work for you.

I have an ice cave gallery on my zenfolio site if you care to look. They were shot with the EM1 and the panny 12-35 f2.8.

I'm gonna head off and check out your work....

Bill

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And I believe in a promised land"....

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Michael L NYC 99
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

Good perseverance shown by you guys! I took a quick look at the photos and the comparison of the first three photos shows the cellphone and compact camera did quite well. The white balance looks very good on the phone and compact images, but the epm1 shot looks too blue to me.

Good story and thanks for sharing.

Regards

Michael

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PaulM2
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PurpleFringe, 5 months ago

PurpleFringe wrote:

I've been reasonably comfortable shooting at -12f/-25c or thereabouts, and have no problem messing with lenses and settings, but I only let my fingers/hands out of the gloves/mittens for a few seconds at a time. It's easy to fumble at that temp though, so I try to be much more deliberate when handling gear.

Obviously, getting the clothing right is important.

Some of the frustrations that I have at those temps:

  • I need something over my lower face, which inevitably causes my breath to fog my glasses.
  • To see through the EVF on my E-M1, I need to mash my nose into the back of the camera, which means mashing my nose into a -10f object and freezing my nose.
  • Battery life is really poor.

Years ago, my late wife knit me a heavy duty watch cap and a thing that you pulled over your head. It had a very tall turtle neck piece, a bib like front and a shorter bib type down your back, then your Parka. I used this all the time when using the Snow Blower when I had the house. I still use them.

With the heavy duty cap, I could pull the front down to the top of the eyes and the bib turtle neck up to the bottom of the eyes. The only problem was with goggles that always steamed up.

I had Snowmobile mittens back then, which were lost when  I closed down the house and moved here to the apartment. Probably should find another pair. My thermo gloves are OK, but not as good as mittens. Neither work well with cameras.

Your comment about the EVF made me laugh. Brought back memories as a kid. Not touching a metal street light pole with your tongue in the winter?

Thanks for your comments.

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Len_Gee
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Re: Shooting the Ice Caves
In reply to Bill Wallace, 5 months ago

Bill Wallace wrote:

I just had the same story and thoughts last week. I was in the Apostle Island in Northern Wisconsin to shoot the ice caves. Got up (I was alone btw) , got to the ice and ventured out. It was 0 to low single digits with and 15-20 mph wind. I had my whole backpack and tripod and realized immediately there would be no changing of anything. I don't normally use camera straps so I carried my pack for no good reason at all. My hike was about 2 miles or so out and then the same hike back....EM1 did fine as I expected it would, I've shot Oly cams in cold weather for years (I live in Minnesota).

I got a good chuckle out this story.....next time I go up (it's been 5 years since they last opened the ice for ventures to the caves) I'll take a much different approach. One thing I did see people using that I will consider since terrain is relatively flat, is pulling a light weight plastic sled to carry gear you may think you need. Your terrain will dictate whether this will work for you.

I have an ice cave gallery on my zenfolio site if you care to look. They were shot with the EM1 and the panny 12-35 f2.8.

I'm gonna head off and check out your work....

Bill

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Bill Wallace
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"Mister I ain't a boy no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land"....

Interesting story.

Disclaimer: I have never been or seen ice caves.

You went out on the ice alone?

Isn't that taking unnecessary risk in that kind of environment?

Weren't you afraid of falling through the ice and dying?

Or suffering hypothermia and dying?

Issues with frostbite?

How did the battery hold up in the Oly EM1?

How did you change camera setting?

Thanks for sharing.

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RoelHendrickx
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Re: COOL story
In reply to RoelHendrickx, 5 months ago

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Will look at the images later.

White balance seems consistently off in many of the mirrorless images: a strong blue cast on white surfaces. That makes it hard to judge other differences.

But it does seem like it was a great chilly hike, regardless of camera.

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ronfab1
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

BRRRRRRR!!!!  And some great photos, especially considering the conditions.

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PaulM2
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In reply to RoelHendrickx, 5 months ago

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Will look at the images later.
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lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

Thanks Roel for looking in.

Paul

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AndyW17
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

I grew up in that area, and the pictures bring back memories.  Esp the trestle!  Thanks for sharing.

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Andy

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Chas2
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

Quick tip for you.  I have a pair of thin silk gloves I got from Lands End on sale one year, but you can get them at a number of places.  You wear those under your other gloves so you can have fine motor control without issues of skin sticking or whatever.  They might be good for a few minutes max, but enough for you to do fine motor things.  Just dont lose your heavy gloves!

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PaulM2
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to Bill Wallace, 5 months ago

Bill Wallace wrote:

I just had the same story and thoughts last week. I was in the Apostle Island in Northern Wisconsin to shoot the ice caves. Got up (I was alone btw) , got to the ice and ventured out. It was 0 to low single digits with and 15-20 mph wind. I had my whole backpack and tripod and realized immediately there would be no changing of anything. I don't normally use camera straps so I carried my pack for no good reason at all. My hike was about 2 miles or so out and then the same hike back....EM1 did fine as I expected it would, I've shot Oly cams in cold weather for years (I live in Minnesota).

I got a good chuckle out this story.....next time I go up (it's been 5 years since they last opened the ice for ventures to the caves) I'll take a much different approach. One thing I did see people using that I will consider since terrain is relatively flat, is pulling a light weight plastic sled to carry gear you may think you need. Your terrain will dictate whether this will work for you.

I have an ice cave gallery on my zenfolio site if you care to look. They were shot with the EM1 and the panny 12-35 f2.8.

I'm gonna head off and check out your work....

Bill

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Bill Wallace
http://bwallace.zenfolio.com/
"Mister I ain't a boy no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land"....

Hello Bill,

Looked at your Ice Cave gallery at zenfolio WOW! Our trip last Tuesday was a literal walk in the park. Like most parks, parking areas are near scenic overlooks. No very long walks like yours.

I have heard of using a light weight kid's sled before, only it was from my hunting friends and not on flat terrain. Funny stories were available, about how the sled went down to bottom of a hill, never touching anything.

We all had spare batteries kept in inside pockets, but not one of us had to make a change. Of course we did not take a lot of pictures and the camera was off at walk times.

Like you, I am a old tome Olympus user, having switched from Minolta when I went to digital. Still use some of the old Minolta gear (lens, bellows etc.) that work great with the E-PL5 .

Thanks for your comments and I think you have some nice shots of the ICE Cave. Followed the TV story that was on the other night about how this was the first year in awhile that a visit to the caves were possible.

Keep warm.

.

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PaulM2
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Re: COOL story
In reply to RoelHendrickx, 5 months ago

RoelHendrickx wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Will look at the images later.

White balance seems consistently off in many of the mirror less images: a strong blue cast on white surfaces. That makes it hard to judge other differences.

But it does seem like it was a great chilly hike, regardless of camera.

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

All of the mirror less camera shots were in RAW, so I probably need to revisit the RAW files again and see what playing with the white balance can do.

Last Tuesday was a semi overcast day with some Blue sky at times. I noticed that in PP sliding the blue made the pictures way to brown. I am a novice when it comes to PP.

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Michael L NYC 99
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Re: COOL story
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

PaulM2 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Will look at the images later.

White balance seems consistently off in many of the mirror less images: a strong blue cast on white surfaces. That makes it hard to judge other differences.

But it does seem like it was a great chilly hike, regardless of camera.

-- hide signature --

Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

All of the mirror less camera shots were in RAW, so I probably need to revisit the RAW files again and see what playing with the white balance can do.

Last Tuesday was a semi overcast day with some Blue sky at times. I noticed that in PP sliding the blue made the pictures way to brown. I am a novice when it comes to PP.

The white balance is quickly adjusted by changing the color temperature. Move the slider to the warmer side and the blue cast will be removed.

Regards

Michael

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local novice
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Re: A Cold Weather Hike and what I learned.
In reply to PaulM2, 5 months ago

Can IBIS overcome shivering? That is cold. You are a better man (and photographer) than me.

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