I am not a professional photographer and use a base SLR camera (Nikon D3100 with the default 18-55mm lens)

I am planning to visit Switzerland (Mt. Titlis) this month end (i.e. Jan) and expect the temperatures to be very low (around -10 C or so)

I wanted some tips as well as precautions to be taken while shooting in snow;

  1. Does the battery life become very low in snow? (My camera is around 1 year old)
  2. Do I need any accessory to protect the lenses while shooting in snow ?
  3. Should I remove the battery from the camera each time I finish shooting?
  4. I just have the standard camera case. Should I carry any zip pouch or extra bags as well?

3 Answers 3

  1. Not just in snow, but in general, in cold, battery runs out much faster.

  2. If it is not snowing, you are okay. However, your kit lens is not water sealed, so you must protect it from snow similarly to protecting from rain.

  3. I do not think that would be necessary. However, check the specs of your battery. (Minimum operational temperature, minimum storage temperature.) A camera turned off still counts as operational, however, very little current is being drawn. People take out the batteries to put it in a pocket so it gets body warm, so that it could source current again, not to protect them from damage I guess.

  4. Your camera and lens is not water sealed. If it is snowing, use the same protective means you would use in rain.

And one, most important advice from me: your biggest enemy is CONDENSATION. That is, humidity inside your camera becoming water drops when you suddenly move your camera from a hot area to a cold one or the other way, from cold to hot. You should gradually cool down or warm up your camera, or allow time for that condensed water to evaporate. There are instructions in your User Manual how long this takes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Responding to community flag, please use chat for prolonged discussions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Chat for the removed comment thread is here. Thanks for cleaning up the comment listing John. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also how much time can I expect a fully charged battery to last while shooting still pictures in snow (may be in terms of approx no of pics) ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 7:43

to improve battery life I was used to put the camera under my jacket to keep the battery close to room temperature.

I do not think you need any special protection. Only when taking photos during snowfall would use something like the plastic foil camera rain cover - you can buy it on Ebay for about 5 USD :-) Do not know how long will it last (especially when freezing) but if useful you can buy another one as it is cheap :-)

And finally, as TFuto said, beware the temperature shocks which can cause water condensation on your camera, lens etc.

good luck :-)


Others have addressed most of your points about the battery life and such. I will address your last one.

Yes, bring a large ziplock bag. Put your whole camera with lens in the bag when going back inside to prevent condensation on your equipment. If you cannot wait to download the pictures, take a second (small) ziplock to put your card in before you go inside. The camera will take awhile to acclimate, so you will need to keep it in the bag for a long while (depending on how cold it was outside). The card is quite small and should acclimate in 10 minutes or so.


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