One sunny morning earlier this month, I visited Cuddy Park in Anchorage, Alaska. The temperature was in the lower single digits, and although that is not terribly cold by Anchorage standards, it was plenty cold enough for this Southerner, thank you very much.
Although the park’s pond was completely frozen over and apparently useless to waterfowl, several dozen Mallards were sunning themselves on the bank. I was carrying only my 150-600mm lens and could not photograph a view wide enough to show all the birds. The shot below was the best I could do.
Most of the birds had their bills buried in their feathers, apparently hunkering down to avoid the cold. I managed to withstand the frigid air long enough to capture shots of a few individuals with bills removed from their feathers. Two are shown below.
This was our first winter visit to Alaska, and photographing in such low temperatures was new to me. My fingers repeatedly got too numb to operate the camera. I tried heavy “photographers’ gloves” with removable fingertips as well as thin touch-sensitive gloves inside heavy ski gloves, exposing my finger tips or thinly gloved hand, respectively, for only several seconds of shooting at a time. Invariably, after a several such exposures over a period of fifteen or twenty minutes, the numbness in my fingers persisted until I could find shelter from the cold. Maybe next time I should try thin gloves inside high-quality ski mittens with heat packs.
Obviously, I cannot experiment with gloving for photography near 0°F while at home in Southern Louisiana. If anyone can offer relevant advice, please do so in a comment below. Thank you.
The location from which these photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.