When Cold Knocks Out Your Camera Batteries

Back in December, I posted a blog about cold-weather photography. One of the things I discussed was the quick loss of battery life in very cold temperatures. Remember how I advised that photographers should carry an extra set of batteries and store them close to the body for warmth if need be?Cold Weather Photography Batteries Lawrence Camera

Well, I recently headed out to do some thinking and photography in the woods, staying overnight in a cabin with no electricity. My grand plans were to shoot some panoramic photographs of the barren winter landscape. So, before I left home, I was a bit preoccupied with making sure I had all I needed for shooting panoramic.  I brought everything I needed, except an extra battery. This oversight didn’t dawn on me until I was out hiking around in the cold and doing a little macro photography to warm up my creative mind.
Cold Weather Photography Macro Batteries Lawrence Camera
I don’t think an hour had gone by before my battery—fully charged when I left the house—went kaput. And I hadn’t even begun to work on those panoramic shots! Out there in that peaceful wooded scene, after I checked my pockets and bag for my backup battery, my serene and nature-communing Henry David Thoreau mentality went right out the window. I felt more like the Hulk.

Fortunately, I still had a warm cabin and my warm body to help. Because it’s not that cold temps kill a battery. They just slow down the chemical reactions involved in the battery’s work. (Less current is produced.) You can usually get a cold, dead camera battery to work again just fine once you warm it up. Because it’s not really dead, just sleeping. In fact, storing batteries in cold temps extends their life. (Batteries “leak” a bit of their charge when not in use, but they leak less when they’re cold.)

So, by needs, I spent much of my little photography outing indoors instead of outdoors, warming up my battery between those cold-induced naps that happened in close intervals. In the end, I didn’t get a great panoramic shot. But I did get some nice shots of the place where I spent most of my hours, and I took a few naps myself. Next time, I’m putting those extra batteries in my pocket before I pack up anything else.


2 thoughts on “When Cold Knocks Out Your Camera Batteries

  1. neihtn2012 says:

    Thanks for the advice! My battery went dead out in the cold a week ago. I went home and recharged it. It was too cold anyway and my gloves were inadequate, useless.

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