Outdoor Photographer: Ask the Pros

Last month's July 2009 issue of Outdoor Photographer featured an article entitled "Ask the Pros" where readers submitted questions and a bevy of pro photographers answered them. Among the pro photographers included in the article were Art Wolfe, Moose Peterson, Tom Till, George Lepp, Glenn Randall...and myself. I am honored to be included among such stellar photographers. If you'd like to see the complete article, there is an expanded version on the Outdoor Photographer website.

Here are a few of the questions that included my input:

Q. I'm looking for information or recomendations on cameras and equipment that can handle below-freezing or below-zero temperatures.
—James Chilcote

A. James,
In my experience shooting ice climbing, skiing and mountaineering in frigid conditions, all the way down to -40° F, I’ve found that modern digital SLRs do quite well, especially the pro models. When the temps are above 0º F, you’ll have no problems with most D-SLRs, save for the batteries not lasting as long as normal. Keep a spare battery with you in a warm pocket and trade them out every half-hour or so. The main problems you’ll run into below 0° F are keeping the batteries warm and the LCD from freezing, which can happen.

To overcome these issues, I usually tape a chemical hand warmer over the battery compartment—either on the bottom of the camera or on the grip. I try to keep it as far away from the back of the camera as possible since heat will increase the amount of noise produced by your imaging sensor. In super-cold environments (e.g., -20º and below), this is less of a concern. To keep the LCD from freezing, I occasionally warm it up by holding a hand warmer on the LCD. I don’t tape it onto the LCD because it would start to heat up the CMOS or CCD sensor. I’d also suggest going with one of the top-tier cameras from any manufacturer because they have better weather sealing, which should help in the cold.
—Michael Clark

Q. I am just starting out with selling my photos and am wondering about ways other than my website to get my photos viewed and sold?
—Joseph Christy

A. Joseph,
I’d suggest starting with magazines, as they are the best way to get your images seen by huge numbers of people—and drive people to your website. When I was starting out, one of my very first submissions actually was to Outdoor Photographer. I submitted a few landscape images along with an article about a local area and they published it a few months later. Getting published in a magazine is one of the best forms of marketing—and you get paid for it, as well. Many photo editors also will allow you to include your website address in the photo credit which is another great way to drive potential clients and those interested in your work to your website.
—Michael Clark