Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

My Analogue Life: I Smell Winter

In many parts of the world, the first signs of winter are starting to set in. Or, if you live near my home in Canada, the “first signs of winter” means a miserable week-long blizzard and bone-chilling –39 degree Celsius temperatures. And since I shoot primarily with plastic cameras, weather changes everything.

I prefer to shoot in natural light, so right away film selection becomes crucial. I’m lucky to live in a city that gets a lot of sunlight, even in the winter. Blocks of grey days are rare, but during those snowy, blah times, I don’t always pack away my slow speed film. In fact, if I want moody, almost monotone images with a hint of patina-hued emulsion flare around the edges, I’ll pop a roll of very-expired Fuji Sensia 100 into one of my plastic Vivitar cameras. If it’s very cold, however, I have to be careful to keep these cameras in my jacket pocket, close to my body because as I’ve experienced, if they get too cold, the advance can stick and jam and be pretty much impossible to repair.

My Holgas are my primary winter workhorse cameras. I find that they don’t jam like 35mm cameras sometimes do, and when I fire the flash against the bright white snow I get dramatic vignetting and heightened colour saturation when cross-processing.

Another winter favourite is using instant film on exceptionally chilly days. If you’ve ever read the fine print on a package of Fuji Instax film, it suggests that it be used in 5 degree Celsius temperatures at the lowest. What happens if you use instant film on colder days? While you do run a risk of blank photos, I’ve found that most often, the images do come through, but take on a lavender tint that results in pale, almost ethereal photographs.

But whatever your camera and film preferences, winter can be a great time to experiment. Shoot in a storm, in the late afternoon twilight, on the coldest day of the year — you might be pleasantly surprised with the images you get.

How do you adapt your techniques or style to the changing weather? Share your thoughts with me!

Pamela Klaffke is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who now works as a novelist and photographer. Her column appears weekly in the Analogue Lifestyle section of Lomography Magazine.

written by pamelaklaffke

14 comments

  1. spoeker

    spoeker

    I tried my luck with the Diana and Provia400x and massive light leaks ;)
    http://www.lomograph(…)os/12244985

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    Fantastic as always Pam! I took my Viv UW&S off for a walk the other day, finished the roll and not sure if it was my fingers or the camera suffering the cold, but it was a struggle to wind back on, so I know exactly what you are saying! We've had some really great snow falls this year and at the right time of year too! The year before last the snow fell in February and as a teen I remember it falling in March/April!

    I had a great spidery effect with some Polaroid TZ Artistic SX-70 in cold weather, which depending on your taste you could say ruined the shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    Fantastic as always Pam! I took my Viv UW&S off for a walk the other day, finished the roll and not sure if it was my fingers or the camera suffering the cold, but it was a struggle to wind back on, so I know exactly what you are saying! We've had some really great snow falls this year and at the right time of year too! The year before last the snow fell in February and as a teen I remember it falling in March/April!

    I had a great spidery effect with some Polaroid TZ Artistic SX-70 in cold weather, which depending on your taste you could say ruined the shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. stouf

    stouf

    My Holga never failed me. Never. In freezing weather, the Horizon Perfekt has tendencies to break film because of the high torsion imposed on the film. I have some funny souvenirs, working on ice. The battery of the Canon Mark II of a friend was dying because it was very cold. I kept shooting with all my battery-less cameras... : )

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. wuxiong

    wuxiong

    Being a southerner living in GuangZhou, I envey you guys have lovely white winter... hahaa

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. vicuna

    vicuna

    well, as I don't have a real season/weather change here, it doesn't modify anything, it's always summer (let's say very hot in november-march and a bit less hot in april-october...)... but I miss some real cold snowy wintertime, even if that sounds crazy when you say this by living in French Polynesia....

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. mephisto19

    mephisto19

    i go for pinhole shots, e.g. with the diana multi pinhole operator... and as usully my lca. love to use it in winter and with sunlight with agfa ct. the blue tons are so damn good...!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. eatcpcks

    eatcpcks

    Nice article I go with LC-a+ and diana as ever with 100iso slides films... elitechrome or sensia... And tried my instant back too:)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. erinwoodgatesphotography

    erinwoodgatesphotography

    Down here in London ON we've just had the worst storm in 40 years or something and I shot with my holga and b&w lomo film coz it was all i had in the house and everything was shut down. we'll see how they turned out.. going to go out today and take photos of the aftermath with some 05 expired slide film.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. tallyho

    tallyho

    Pam, it’s amazing how you manage to hit on all the most pressing topics! Thanks so much! Just curious, do you have an example you could show us of how your expired Sensia does in winter?

    Has anyone used the new Polaroid films from the Impossible Project in cold weather? I have a few packs in the fridge I’ve been wanting to try, but they’ve really emphasized that the films are unstable and should be used in warmer weather.

    This is my first winter with my plastic cameras (I live in NY) and, although I have lots of ideas for things I want to try, I am having a hard time simply because of the cold temperatures and lack of daylight hours. I often go on little photo walks during my lunch break, but I admit I’ve stepped outside and changed my mind a few times lately…

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. gelagoo

    gelagoo

    I've tried shooting using my Vivitar UW&S and Holga and I got very sharp, crisp results on the former and dreamy ones on the latter.

    I live in Winnipeg so it gets really cold AND windy here. Temperature fluctuates like crazy. :(

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. panelomo

    panelomo

    after spending my whole life enjoying the tropical sun, i'm finally experiencing my first winter. to date, i've only shot a couple of rollei retro 400iso films in my LC-A, and some kodak EB 200 in my zenit e. i seldom use flash when i'm shooting, but i realized that i should especially during overcast conditions. otherwise, i'm always inside my room hiding from the negative weather conditions, and instead browsng the beautiful photos here at http://www.lomograph(…)es/panelomo ;)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. pamelaklaffke

    pamelaklaffke

    Spoeker: oh, I like that — wonderful spooky-but-beautiful-forest feel!

    nicolas_noir: yeah, I’ve trashed many a plastic camera in the winter. But I’ve learned my lesson. I hope your UW&S is okay! I have such a limited stash of Polaroid film, I’ve just been shooting fuji instax since the Polaroid is too precious at this point and the effects (like the spidery thing you got) may not be exactly what I’m looking for!

    Stouf: yep, the holga is my number one go-to winter camera, too. Doesn’t stick, doesn’t stop. I love it. I’ve been trying a bit of LC-A this winter as well, but my heart will always be with the holga, I think (especially since I bought the set of close-up lenses to play with!).

    Wuxiong: oh, you lucky southerners! But winter shooting can be fun, too.

    Vicuna: it’s not crazy to miss the snowy weather. I’ve spent xmas in Hawaii and somehow it’s just, well, wrong. Beautiful, yes. Fun, indeed. But being a Canadian, come Christmas even it just is not the same!

    mephisto19: pinhole in winter is wonderful, you’re right. I have a friend who shoots a lot of pinhole and the winter shots — especially in b&w — are spectacular.

    Eatcpcks: glad to hear you’re shooting 100 ISO films in winter. A lot of people seem to think that won’t work, but the effects (particularly with the slide films as you mentioned) are lovely!

    Erinwoodgatesphotography: let me know when you post your shots! Winter storms are usually so miserable and often I’ll just bundle up, take a camera and go out and shoot. May as well have some fun when everything is cold and at a standstill!

    Tallyho: I posted 5 of my super-expired fuji sensia shots for you to check out on my lomohome. They are all panoramas I shot with my vivitar ic101 and cross-processed. I haven’t used the project impossible films in the cold, but other instant films tend to behave strangely (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not so good way). Maybe do a test on a typical day in typical winter light and shoot just a couple, as not to waste those pricey frames! But with other films, I’d say definitely experiment! The results of winter shooting can be wonderful!

    Gelagoo: Winnipeg — brr! We get cold in Calgary, but not so much wind. I love my holga in winter! The daytime contrast between the snow and the (usually) bright blue sky is awesome!

    Panelomo: winter isn’t so bad and compared to here, amsterdam is not very cold at all! This is what i need to wear to be to be out shooting: fur hat, scarf, goose down parka, insulated boots that are good up to –50 degree temperatures! seriously, it's crazy. But I can imagine the adjustment is strange the first winter, but the photos you can get are great! :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. basho

    basho

    Winter is not as extreme here. Only rarely do we get close to 0ºC. However, I shoot with my LC-A+ in Madrid on a extremely cold morning. The camera was loaded with a roll of Agfa CT Precisa and all of the photos came out blue. I don't mean the usual kinda-blue Precisa results I mean REALLY blue shoots! At the time, I thought the camera was influenced by the temperature, but come to think of it, I think it was the film... If you are interested, here are some of those shots:

    http://www.lomograph(…)tos/6291871
    http://www.lomograph(…)tos/6291869
    http://www.lomograph(…)tos/6291873
    http://www.lomograph(…)tos/6291862

    over 3 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano & Spanish.