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Photog tricks and tips

Keep it safe, in focus and warm!
Q I’m afraid to take my nice, expensive gear out in the elements. How do you keep your camera dry and safe?

A I use a Pelican case for all of my backcountry snowmobile photography. Specifically, the Pelican Air 1525 because it fits the tunnel of my sled so well and allows me to take everything I need (two camera bodies with lenses attached, my GoPro, extra batteries and snacks).

The Pelican case can be an expensive investment, but is well worth it, since it is crush- and waterproof. I have tried many different options, and nothing comes close to this case for transporting expensive equipment and keeping it dry and safe in all conditions. I apply a layer of neoprene padded felt material to the outside bottom of the case that keeps it from scratching my sled tunnel. Add D-rings on the outside as points to attach a bungee cord; attach them below the lid so you can open it while leaving it bungeed to the sled. You can find the felt online for around $15 and the D-rings at most hardware stores for $8 for all four.
Blurry Blunders
Q My action shots always turn out blurry. Is it me or the camera?

A Sorry, but it’s most likely you. When shooting a moving object, you need to make sure you are holding as steady as possible. If I can avoid standing, I do. I always try to take a knee or sit so I can rest my elbow on my knee or leg while holding the camera. This gives you stability similar to a tripod and keeps the camera steady. I try to hold my breath while shooting to eliminate additional movement - and keep my breath out of shot.

Also, keep in mind most cameras have different focusing methods. If your camera has the option between single and continuous focus, make sure you are set on continuous. This way, when you press half way down on the shutter button and it focuses on your subject, it will continue to focus as the subject moves. If it is set on single, when the subject moves out of that spot it will require you to lift your finger and focus again. Pan with your subject as it moves, meaning follow it while you take the photo. This helps to match the speed of the subject, giving you a much better chance of having an image in focus.
Safe and sound. Check out the January 2018 issue of AmSnow to see an in-depth look at our project build for Ryan called “The Photobomber.”
Cold Camera Conundrum
Q My camera stops working when it is cold. How do you keep your camera warm?

A Anything that has a battery will be subject to the cold. This includes your camera, whether it is your phone or professional gear. I purchase the large body warmers, similar to hand warmers only larger with an adhesive side. I line the entire bottom of my pelican case with them on really cold days. This prolongs the battery life and helps to keep my camera functioning properly. I have shot all day in minus 44-degree weather with this type of set up.

You can also adhere the hand warmers to your camera or smart phone (specifically over the battery compartment). This helps to keep the camera functioning properly and has the added benefit of keeping your hands warm.
Tips to help a lot with the shot
- Learn to shoot in “M” or manual mode. Learn all you can about ISO, shutter speed and aperture. YouTube videos abound on this. These are the most important things you can learn about your camera.

- iPhone tips (Android too, but Apple is what I use and know): Tap on the screen to make sure the focus is on the subject. After tapping on the screen, you can use your finger to slide up or down on the screen to increase the brightness or decrease the brightness of your image, making sure you get the proper exposure.

- I also attach a foot warmer (foot warmers have an adhesive back) to the back of my iPhone. This keeps it warm and functioning in cold weather.
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