When its cold outside, my camera’s autofocus system suffers after being exposed to the elements for a while. To combat this, I tend to wear multiple jackets and leave the outermost one unzipped so that I can tuck my camera inside this outer layer, thus concealing the camera and keeping it warmer when not in immediate use.
Also, when cameras undergo extreme temperature transitions too quickly, internal condensation can form inside the camera or lens’s internal elements. Sealing the camera in a bag while in one environment before transitioning into another with a drastic temperature difference allows the camera (and trapped air in the bag) to adjust to the new temperature more gradually and reduces the likelihood of internal condensation developing.
In addition to taking physical precautions when conditions warrant them, photographers can also adjust their camera’s settings based on the circumstances so that they have greater flexibility in capturing moments and reacting to fast-moving scenes in varied conditions.
For instance, I don’t ever turn my camera off when I’m out looking for photography scenes to capture. Every 30 seconds or so, I’ll lightly tap the shutter halfway to ensure the camera stays awake at the current settings I’ve entered.
Every time I turn on my camera, I’ll bump up the ISO, depending on how much available light there is. If its a bright, sunny day, I’ll leave it at 200 or 400; if its cloudy, I’ll most likely boost it to 800 or higher. I also almost always set the autofocus point in the same spot (far right on the second row from the top), so I can quickly establish rough focus before fine tuning, if needed.
If I see a photo-worthy scene but it lacks people, I’ll go ahead and meter the exposure and set the focus point so that I can quickly raise the camera and snap off the image when my subject passes through and before he or she disappears.
Some of the most rewarding images to make often are made in situations that are less than ideal, such as the crack of dawn, the bitter cold of a wintery day, or a dimly-lit but dramatic night scene. Planning your settings in advance can allow these fleeting moments to be recorded and preserved.