Still cameras (Loaded with film) should be powered by Lithium batteries because lithium will keep their power when NiCad and Alkaline will lose their power quickly upon exposure to cold. Lithium batteries when they become cold may lose their some or most of their power, but upon warming them back up, they will regain about 80% of what power they had before they were cooled. So repeated cold exposure can render them totally drained, but you would have to repeatedly abuse them. With the NiCad and Alkaline Batteries, once exposed to below freezing temperatures, they will never regain their power and most likely will drain to that below what is useful by any device. So if you do choose to bring these batteries, remember, never expose them to cold...they must stay inside your parka at all times, by being stored in the pockets inside your parka. Never think that delicate equipment, or cameras, stored in your bags and luggage will stay above freezing. In fact I am telling you now to plan that all your bags and gear will be exposed to below freezing temperatures at least several times, if not even for hours at a given time......Let me explain. You bags may be left on the jet flying to the NP Base Camp. You may leave the jet while it is on the landing strip. The jet will quickly absorb the below freezing temperatures and your bags will succumb to this extreme temperature within minutes....You can not expect that your bags will be heated above freezing 100% of the time. Expect batteries to freeze, saline eye fluids to freeze, and any other sensative equipment to freeze, unless you specifically remove them from your bags and place them in your parka, or in your camera bag that is equipped with "heater packs" ( I have described them earlier...if you do not know of these please contact me). I recommend that anyone carrying sensitive electronic equipment or other equipment, to either store it inside the parka, or make arrangements to store it inside a camera bag that has heater packs, or else just accept that it will reach freezing temperatures at several times during the trip.
For Cameras Using Film- We recommend using the 36
exposure film. This reduces the number of times you have to open your camera at
the pole and expose it to the cold elements. We recommend using Fuji film
because it has a thicker emulsion and minimize the chance to freeze and break in
your camera. Never forget, "Do Not Ever Force Stiff Film......Ease the Film
When Rewinding, or After Each Shot!!" The film emulsion may become
stiff when rewinding, or stiff after each shot , but you must never force the
film...it will break and you will have to open the camera and lose all your
exposures!! It is better to take the camera inside your parka, and re-warm it
and them wind the film...Also I recommend that when you load the film, you wind
the film on the spool and extra amount....by shooting 1 or 2 of the first shots
just to get the film more secured on the spool. In extreme cold situations as
this...just inserting the film on the spool may not be enough, for the stiff
film may pop off the spool after you have closed the camera....so you take 20
shots...then find that the film never was winding on the camera spool and you
actually missed all these shots.....plus have a roll of film not useful and also
exposed when you open the camera...for more explanation of this, I will be proud
to tell you that there will be a professional cameraman for Global Expeditions,
LLC Robert Russell, whom will be going along with you this April, 2002.
Therefore you will have a professional video and still photographer along on
this expedition to ask questions to. At the pole it may be sunny or cloudy so
you need to consider using different speed film. There isn't really a good
all around film. 50 or 100 speed film is a must during times of sunlight at the
North Pole. The white snow will "fake out" your automatic light sensor
and so you may want to work in manual position if you are so talented. Using 50
or 100 speed film will shut down the aperture more in this setting where your
automatic light sensor will evaluate the shot based on the white snow, rather
than the object or person in front of the camera...Another words, if you use
automatic light /shutter your camera will read a wrong value because the white
snow will overtake the sensor and cause it to shut down the aperture more than
the true field, which will underexpose the shot. Therefore you will come home
with a bunch of shots looking dark and dreary...so if you place the F-stop one
click more open than the automatic camera light meter recommends...you will
shoot perfect shots every time.....This requires some practice before you
go....and good understanding of F-stops, aperture, etc....Try practicing with a
light shinning on a white piece of paper and an object taped to this white
backround. Shoot and develope the film after you write down on paper certain
variances that you shot each one with...learn what bright white snow does for
the exposure, if you want fine professional shot to come home with.
So you want to take 50, 100 and 200 speed film....some 400, and very few higher speed film....for those shots at the Pole...
For any camera be it still or video, the arctic temperature can cause it to malfunction, and most likely will at one time or another. Expect this, don't be surprised, prepare for it to occur. Typically the cold will make your video camera and very sophisticated still cameras to "freeze up". So don't get excited about this, it is usually only temporary, but if you are doing real professional shots, bring a back up camera.
When do cameras screw up the most? Cameras screw up more often due to humidity build up inside the camera, when you take them either inside or out of the tents....Basically you are going from one temperature to another too suddenly and the camera concentrates humidity inside the camera....Often our new sophisticated cameras have humidity monitors that shut the electronic portion of the camera off, when humidity is detected....Humidity inside the tent freezes when you go outside too suddenly.....or deposits on your camera when you enter the tent too suddenly... You will want to carry several thick plastic ziplock type baggies to put the camera in when you go in the tents. From near zero humidity outside to about 60% humidity in the tent where water is constantly boiling, your camera will fog up and get humidity condensing on the film.....EVERY TIME!! You just never open the baggy till it acclimates with the inside temperature. Some sensitive cameras will malfunction when the humidity meter in them gets stuck. If you aren't taking professional or fine photos, then I strongly recommend that you simply take several one use underwater throw away cameras...they can not get humidity inside them cause they are used for swimming and have the protective plastic covering over the camera. I recommend that if you are going to go in the tent and back out again, just leave the camera outside and go in yourself...the camera will faire better leaving it outside for hours, rather than going in and out several times....
You will also want to make an insulation cover for your video camera. If you don't it will probably freeze up several times during the trip. This is due to the electronic digital effects within our newfangled cameras...they are too complicated and the electronics trip themselves up rather than provide modern conveniences up at the poles. Now this is not bad because it will usually unfreeze with some body warm under your parka, but you may miss a shot or two.
If you have a camera that you absolutely do not want to be exposed to these circumstances, then please do not take it. Also, make sure that you carry your cameras and delicate equipment in some kind of hard container. Pack any of your most delicate equipment, with one factor in mind........."Can I stand on the container and kick it"...some people have carried their cameras in igloo coolers.....Invariably, you will set your camera case down, in the jet, look the other way, and then back to find some hulk of a Russian, standing on your camera bag!!!!!! Make sure that your delicate equipment is in a strong case!!!!!!
OK, that's my suggestions for camera equipment and other electronic stuff......let me know if you have any other questions....