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Trip to Iceland with my Nikon D90

perkyjude 6 46 11 England
4 Jan 2012 9:49AM
I am due to go to Iceland in February for 5 days, and obviously intend to take my Nikon D90 but I am very worried about the effects of the cold on the camera and steaming up. Anyone had any experience with this kind of situation? I don't want to risk breaking my camera but equally don't want to miss a fantastic opportunity. Thankyou in anticipation. Jude

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JLM1981 6 2 England
4 Jan 2012 10:17AM
Ive taken my Canon 50D to Canada during winter a couple of times and have never had any failures due to the cold. But if you are very nervous you could contact Nikon Customer Services and ask if there is a recomended minimum temperature and listen to their advice. Regarding Steaming up, it will. You need to give your camera and lenses 20min or so to acclimatise to the cold outside compared to a warm room. Once this is done you shouldn't have any problems with steaming. This is my experiance, maybe others have different advice. Enjoy Iceland, Ive always wanted to go and this time of year the Northern Lights come out to playSmile
Carrera_c 8 273 3 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2012 11:27AM
You should be ok, there's a few things to remember:

1 - let the camera adjust to the temperature before trying to use it when going from indoors to outdoors or vice versa. Stop you trying to constantly wipe the condensation off the front of the lens.
2 - Extra battery??? Running around in the cold will cause the battery to drain faster than you'd expect, may be an idea to take a spare and keep it in a warm pocket.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2012 11:37AM
When I went to the Himalayas in the 90s, the shutter on my Pentax ME Super ceased up (fortunately just after I had been to Everst basecamp!). I spoke to some people afterwards who would send their camera in for servicing which included using a lighter lubricant on the shutter mechanism because this was less likely to go thick and cause such a seizure.
I have since been told that modern lubricants do not have this problem - but it may be worth asking.

Google came up with this overview:

Quote:The Icelandic winter is relatively mild for its latitude. The southerly lowlands of the island average around 0 C (32 F) in winter, while the highlands tend to average around −10 C (14 F). The lowest temperatures in the northern part of the island range from around -25 to -30 C (-13 to -22 F). The lowest temperature on record is −39.7 C (−39.5 F).[1]

so it looks like it can be quite variable depending on where you are.

As for steaming up, as JLM said just give the camera time to acclimatise outside before using it - and don't breathe anywhere near the lens or LCD!!! And give it time to acclimatise again when you come back to prevent condensation from moisture in the room. I put mine in a dristore bag (the sort of thing canoeists use) just before I come indoors and leave it on the tbale for about 30minutes before downloading the photos - you can use a plastic carrier bag just as well but this also has other uses when outdoors for keeping things dry

And be more careful when handling your camera/lenses because all materials become more brittle in sub-zero temperatures.
Are you taking a tripod as well?
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2012 11:40AM

Quote:You should be ok, there's a few things to remember:

1 - let the camera adjust to the temperature before trying to use it when going from indoors to outdoors or vice versa. Stop you trying to constantly wipe the condensation off the front of the lens.
2 - Extra battery??? Running around in the cold will cause the battery to drain faster than you'd expect, may be an idea to take a spare and keep it in a warm pocket.

Second that. At minus 20C the battery can be very short - I would get at least 2 extra batteries and keep them warm. This article gives some idea of the issues surrounding photography in very cold climate
perkyjude 6 46 11 England
4 Jan 2012 11:51AM
Thankyou so much for the advice. I do already have a spare battery which I always take with me, but did not realise that battery life would be effected. I am planning to take a tripod but have to be conscious of luggage weight also. May just take the one lens because of that. I shall get a zip bag - that seems like a good idea. I won't download until I get back to UK. It is looking like temps will be 28-37 f (-2) so hopefully it won't be too extreme, but I want to be prepared for the worse end and if I am doing night exposures I could be sat out for a long time so didn't want my camera to suffer ( I will be wearing my thermals..lol) . Jude
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2012 11:58AM
Alternatives to a tripod are a Gorillapod or beanbag (cheap version being a sock filled with uncooked rice/lentils) that you can place on the ground, boulder or wall. Plus cable release of course.

Iceland is one of the places that I have wanted to go to for absolutely ages - volcanoes, glaciers and aurora...what a combination! I am so jealous! Enjoy itGrin
JJGEE 13 7.1k 18 England
4 Jan 2012 12:13PM
You wil have a fantastic time, hope you like fine dining as the food is excellent, especially fish ! !

Cannot offer any advice on equipment etc. except that I went there 8th to 11th October 1992 and used about 17 rolls of film so take plenty of cards for for digital camera.

If you like shopping traditional style Icelandic sweaters / jumpers are superb Smile , stiil got mine although a bit of a tight fit these days Sad
ziggy 16 194 England
4 Jan 2012 12:54PM
I was there a couple of years ago and saw the Northern Lights.....amazing. It was a clear day and the clarity was great during the daytime. Went on a bus to the middle of nowhere, but didn't need to as it was very faint and we got back into town about midnight and the sky lit up stronger and stronger. Just went up to a local park which was not quite as light as on streets in Reykjavik and got town shots with Northern lights. Next days were cloudy and obviously never saw anything. Had a great ride around wild interior and to big waterfalls . I took a light tripod...Velbon Ultra Luxi in luggage.....came in very useful with long exposures. Keep batteries close to body, ie inside all layers so they benefit from body warmth. Took 2 lenses...18-200, and 12-24, and both came in useful.
Franticsmurf 15 829 Wales
4 Jan 2012 12:55PM
I went to Iceland at the beginning of December and took my D7000 and a Panasonic GF1. I kept spare batteries in my pockets but I never had any problems with lack of power or other cold related issues. Similarly, walking in the Himalayas in sub zero temperatures had a minimal effect on the batteries and none on the camera. Nevertheless, spare batteries and warm pockets will ensure you don't have problems - especially with night time temperatures. The advice about condensation is good. Take some silica gel sachets with you to control moisture and line your camera bag with something waterproof in case of rain/snow. 101 uses for a plastic bag include a rain/snow cover and something to kneel on for low level shots. Incidentally, a 'dead' battery can be revived by warminig, so swapping batteries as they run down can help.

Iceland uses a two pin socket with 220v so a round pin adapter for your battery charger would be a worthwhile investment.

My visit was fantastic despite not getting to see the Aurora because of cloud. The people were genuinely friendly and the guide was knowledgable and interesting.

For the airport transfers and the Golden Circle tour (if you're thinking of that one), consider using 'Netbus' which you can book in advance on line. Very reasonable and punctual.

I hope you have a great time.

seahawk 10 1.2k United Kingdom
4 Jan 2012 1:59PM
I can't add any advice to what's already been said above, just to wish you a fun trip.
It's a place I've always wanted to go and plan to do so in the near future now that I've retired.


perkyjude 6 46 11 England
4 Jan 2012 2:53PM
Thankyou everybody for you advice and we;l wishes. We will be staying in Reykjavik for the four nights, so will need to plan my time carefully to ensure I make the most of it. Any 'absolute must sees'. from those that have been? Do you think my 18-015mm lens will do as I will only take one lens out to hopefully serve all purposes? Which lenses and equipment did you find most useful? Thankyou for the tip about the beanbag or gorilla pod - I am looking into that.
JJGEE 13 7.1k 18 England
4 Jan 2012 4:13PM
Must See

Everything Smile

But in particular I would suggest

Hallgrimskirkja Church - And the views from the top of the church tower ( there was a lift when I went ) especially around sunset

The Pearl ( Perlan ) The structure itself is brilliant but quite shiny, inside is a "Geyser" that spouts regularly ( high ISO needed ) and the views towards the City are brilliant

City Hall & Lake

Not for photography, a trip to a swimming pool is quite relaxing but it is not really for swimming, as such and you must enter into the spirit of the place and go to the outdoor pool as well.

Just one word of caution, the organised day trips / tours to the Geysers, Waterfalls, National Park etc. were a disappointment for me as all the Tour Guide wanted to do was spend the time at "Souvenir Outlets" & Restaurants where no doubt they got "rewarded" for bringing the "tourist" there Sad
Franticsmurf 15 829 Wales
5 Jan 2012 8:02AM
With only four days, you really need to take advantage of the tours (the roads can be quite bad if the weather is poor but the buses are 4x4 and local drivers know what they're doing). My experience of the Golden Circle tour was that, like any tourist attraction, there were gift shops and restaurants but our driver just gave us a time to be back at the bus and left us get on with it. Do some research on the individual elements of the tour. The main Golden Circle ones are the Gulfoss waterfall (cold wind and damp, try and get down to the veiwing area closest to the falls but if there is snow or ice, be very careful!) Geysir (Strokkur erupts every 6-8 minutes - look for a big turquoise/blue bubble an instant before it goes). Thingvellir rift valley, (the National Park) where the two continental plates are spreading apart is more of a classic landscape venue with a lake, mountains and a river.

Also: Sunset or sunrise at the Hallsgrimkirkja church (you can't miss the tower). Access to the tower stops at 5pm. The Solfar sculpture on the sea front and nearby the arts building (open early so you can go it to warm up after an early morning stroll). We took a whale watching tour one afternoon. Very rough and very cold and no whales but we saw dolphins and the views back to shore were spectacular.

The Blue Lagoon is a nice (but expensive) way to relax. We went there on our way from the airport.

We ate at the Solon restaurant one night - expensive but great food. There are plenty of food outlets around. The choice for vegetarians is limited unless they eat fish. There's a big tourist information centre in the centre of Reykjavik and English is the norm.

JJGEE 13 7.1k 18 England
5 Jan 2012 8:20AM

Quote:like any tourist attraction, there were gift shops

What I was attempting to convey was that for me, being a photographer, 1 hour spent in each of 2 gift shops on the same trip and only 10 minutes ( excluding the walk from the coach park ) at the Gulfoss waterfall was the wrong balance Sad

Perhps Jude needs to just spend the 4 days in the City then have a return trip sometime for the Tours Wink

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