Camera Batteries, Cold Weather

Cold camera batteries, a hiker photographs around the summit of Mount Washington during the winter months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Winter Photographer – White Mountains, NH
 

Camera Batteries, Cold Weather – How do I approach the cold weather battery issue? Most DSLRs use battery packs these days, so I am not going to attempt to describe the different types of batteries that are available. My Canons use a 7.4V lithium-Ion rechargeable battery pack, so I will be referring to them. And I am not a scientist, so I won't attempt to describe why batteries lose power in extremely cold conditions, but in short the cold temperatures drain the energy out of them.

Appalachian Trail - Rime ice on the summit of Mount Washington during the winter months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Mount Washington – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

To help prevent battery drain, I store batteries in a pocket that is near my body (not in my backpack) where body heat will keep them warm. The cold batteries I swap out of the camera, I put back near my body so body heat will warm them up. Most times I can reuse the cold batteries later in the day. And some times I wrap hand warmers around the cold batteries.

Another reason I keep batteries close to me is for accessibility. The easy access allows me to change batteries without having to stop hiking or shooting. Most times I can change batteries without removing my gloves, but reality is I do sometimes have to take off my gloves and find using Fingerless Gloves to be beneficial.

Mount Washington - Tuckerman Ravine in extreme weather conditions during winter months from Boott Spur Trail. Located in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. Strong winds cause snow to blow across the mountain tops.
Tuckerman Ravine – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Carrying one battery pack is not practical in any situation, so it will be a good investment to purchase at least two battery packs. I usually have 4-5 batteries with me at all times. And during extremely cold days, I routinely rotate batteries, so a warm one is always in the camera. Some days I rotate batteries every 30 minutes, and other days its every 5 minutes. The temperature plays a factor on how often I rotate them.

A hiker photographing along the Carter-Moriah Trail in winter conditions near the summit of Carter Dome in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Winter Photographer – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

These are just basic suggestions that can be helpful if you are having trouble with batteries not working in cold weather. And just carrying a couple extra battery packs and keeping them warm should cure your problems. Winter is a great time to capture New England’s beauty, so get out there and take a few shots!

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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