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Film photography in Winter. Lessons learned.

After a long break, I set out to shoot some film. It was a rather cold day and we don’t get much cold here in Hamburg. It was snowing and I decided it’d be fun shooting some trees against the white backdrop.

I took my trusty Yashica and a roll of Ilford HP5+ that I was going to push to 1600. I didn’t need those extra stops but rather wanted to get more contrast.

Lesson number one

I should have loaded my camera at home. Small snowflakes got into the camera and on the back of the lens. In the end, I didn’t notice any distortions but it could have gone very bad.

Lesson number two

Loading the camera in gloves was not the best idea either. I ended up pulling the backing paper too much and fogged first frames. Not too bad though. I even like how it turned out.

Lesson number three

No matter what they say about mechanical cameras being the best option for the cold weather. Things can still go wrong. My camera froze. It was really hard turning the focusing knob and by the end of the roll, it became harder and harder rewinding the film. One subscriber said I could have even damaged the cogs totaling the camera. Good CLA would help a lot. So before taking your camera for a winder walk make sure the lubricant is fresh and prepared for the freezing temperatures.

Lesson number four

Getting back home don’t rush inside. Put your camera into a plastic bag with a ziplock. Most probably you mechanical camera is full metal and moisture will condense on it as you walk inside. That can cause corrosion and fungus. With your camera in the bag, it’s better to warm it up step by step. Give it few minutes in the stairwell if there’s one in the building or just any buffer between the street and your place really.

But don’t let all the precautions block you from taking photos! Bad weather could yield much more interesting results. So maybe consider having a winter camera that you aren’t afraid loosing.




Dmitriy Rozhkov
I'm a Software Engineer with a passion for photography. Engineering mindset and curiosity push me to experiments.

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