A Foreign World

Hiking in the Hakkoda mountains presents you with a sight rarely seen elsewhere. These “Snow Monsters” are the very tops of 20-30ft trees.

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They’re covered, not with settling snow, but with what is called RIME. Rime is the frost formed on cold objects by the rapid freezing of water vapor from clouds or fog. So basically, the water in the air is freezing to the tree!

At the top of the mountain it is roughly about 0 Fahrenheit (-18 Celcius) and the wind chill pushes it much further. This means that any exposed skin is going to get very cold very fast. Warm inner layers, and a windproof/waterproof shell is a necessity in this environment. If you have a DSLR camera, you should have relatively few problems... that is if you are smart about things.

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The camera’s batteries are going to be the most affected piece of gear. Always carry spares, and keep one inside your jacket or pocket. The cold will drain your battery of usable charge (remember throwing batteries in the refrigerator?) and you really won’t be able to use them until they warm up again. Other than that, your camera should do fine so long as you don’t douse it in water or stuff it next to your body:

-----Cold camera goes into coat: lens and camera fog up because you were hiking like a beast and your body is producing heat and sweat. Time for a picture: wet camera comes out and it all freezes, making for a bad day, back into the coat to try to unfreeze it? Uh oh.-------

You want your camera at the same temperature as the environment as you’ll be taking photos in. If you bring a warm camera out into the snow... the snow that lands on it is going to melt and seep into the cracks and crevices and THEN it might freeze. Or if you bring a cold camera inside, suddenly the warm humid air (even if you don’t think it is) condenses as it comes in contact with the cold camera, and just like on a cold glass on a hot day, you’ll get water droplets that are, go figure, just as bad (if not worse) as the melting snow. It doesn’t just happen on the outside of the camera either!

Okay, how to fix it: Say you just got back into your warm car and all of a sudden your camera (that you didn’t put into your camera bag) fogs up. Turn up the heat all the way, turn on the AC (all it does is pull moisture from the air). Yes this is what I had to do... so it DOES work :). After a while, the air inside everything will heat up, pushing the previously humid air out. Whenever you zoom your lens, it moves air in and out, so once it’s dry, make sure you ‘zoom’ it a couple times to cycle the air.

Look at the light refracting in the cloud!!

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I went snowshoeing in the Hakkodas. The End

One of my favorite photos:

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