Photography in Japan in Winter
Professionals and Semi-professionals — you know what to do, so this information is for first time visitors, novice photographers and naturalists wanting to take a few photographs in Japan in winter.
The very best camera is the one you have with you at all times — the one in your pocket. Modern smartphones have amazing cameras built in and are ideal for travel photography. Take time to learn the tricks of your 'pocket camera' it will be your standby for all wide angle, scenic and macro shots.
Superzoom or Bridge Camera
These are really useful as they are light, compact and produce amazing images of just about everything except high speed action behaviour. Bring one if you have one.
DSLR & Lenses
If you are more serious about your photography and own a DSLR then bring it with you. Serious photographers will bring two bodies. Mirrorless cameras are becoming very popular.
Assuming that you also have a smartphone, then you won't need a wide angle lens so a telephoto lense is the best to carry — something in the range of 70–300 mm or 100–400 mm; you may also carry a doubler. If you are more serious then a fixed focal lense of up to 500 mm may provide special portrait shots.
The question faced by all visiting photographers is whether to bring a monopod or a tripod — the answer comes down to how much luggage space you have and how serious you are about creating images.
Tips for keeping your camera warm and operating at low temperatures
For most visitors to Japan in winter time spent outdoors will be limited to just a few hours at most away from a warm vehicle or accommodation. Modern camera batteries weather low temperatures for this length of time very well. Camera performance depends entirely on battery strength.
- Always charge up your batteries over night.
- Keep your spare batteries warm in an inside pocket.
- Use chemical pocket warmers (sticky type) and attach one over the battery compartment of your camera — it will keep both the battery and your hand warm while you are photographing. Pocket warmers are readily available in convenience stores in Japan.
- Remember to pre-cool camera equipment (and binoculars) before setting out each morning so as to avoid condensation on the lens. At the end of the day, while the equipment is still cold, place it in a sealed plastic bag — again to reduce condensation issues.
© 2019 Mark Brazil & Chris Cook
Last updated: 20191231