So you’re going to be the “WASLO” for the winter? Hee hee! I laugh because a lot of weird things have happened behind the scenes related to lab positions this year, and apparently it’s worked in your favor. I’m sure you’ll hear more about it after you get there. And in case they didn’t tell you, you’ll probably be helping to launch balloons this winter.
There are a lot of Nikon users at the Pole right now, and a few Canon users hiding in the closets (funny how things are distributed, eh?). Here’s what I’ve noticed:
– A freshly charged Nikon battery (ENL3 or similar) will last about 45 minutes at -40. Eventually the camera just gives up. Very disconcerting the first time it happens, but it doesn’t seem to hurt anything.
– Higher quality lenses do better. Some kit lenses are good, some bad. You’ll probably want a super wide angle lens for aurora shots and other stuff, maybe 18mm or less. If you’re going to buy a camera, with or without a kit lens, dpreview.com is an excellent source of information.
– No matter the quality of your lens or camera, condensation is the killer. When you bring a camera in from the cold (especially into a humidified building like the Crary lab!) make sure it’s sealed up until it has a chance to warm up gradually. In the past I’ve used a zippered lunch cooler or big Ziploc bag, which worked well, but this season I’ve just been stuffing the camera into a plastic garbage bag before bringing it in. I let it warm up for an hour or more before taking it out. (Very difficult when you’re eager to see your pictures!)