It’s cold! Pamper your tech

frost_250.jpgWith the amount of gear I have around I’m surprised this doesn’t happen to me more often.

The weather in Edmonton has been rather cool of late, in the -20 to -30 degree range in fact. And today, since it’s warmed up to a reasonable -2, I decided to drive the car, rather than our other, warmer, SUV.

After digging it out, scraping it off, and jumping in to wait for it to defrost, I rummaged around in the centre console — and discovered that I’d left my TomTom GPS in the vehicle since the fall.

Hmmm, this was not good. Weeks of cold-soaking the batteries at extreme temperatures can harm their life, and perhaps even physically damage them.

As well, bringing the device into a nice warm room also has it’s own hazards. As anyone who wears glasses and shovels snow in Canada knows, moisture quickly accumulates on these frozen devices. Wet electronics are not a good thing.

So, what can you do to keep your gadgets safely working through the winter? Here’s a few ideas:

Don’t let them freeze (duh)
Staged Warming – If they do freeze, warm the slowly, in stages, in a humidity free environment. In my case, I left the GPS in my garage for an hour (warmer than outside), then moved it to my car (warmer than my garage), and finally moved it inside the house. This reduced the shock to the components, and reduced the capacity for humidity to form as the unit was warmed.

Outdoor use
Cameras, music players, phones — keep them in an inside pocket, next to your body if possible. This’ll keep the batteries warm and extend the charge of the unit. Cold temp reduces the power of a charged battery.

While not all electronics are designed for Canada’s extreme cold swings, there are things you can do to enjoy your devices in the great outdoors. What do you do to keep your tech working in the weather?
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Some photos of the day

I’m in Canada, so snow is a way of life at this time of year. It’s to be expected, it’s routine, almost mundane. But occasionally you get the right mix of an early morning snowfall, and some really interesting light to provide the basis for creativity.

Mix in a little Lightroom tweaking, and I have fun:

Morning SnowMorning Snow

Morning Snow-2

Morning Snow-2

Oh, and occasionally, there be Daschunds.

Precocious Daschund

Two resources for planning your lunar photography evening

A friend pointed me to this BBC article about tonight’s full moon. It seems that tonight’s full moon event will occur when the Moon is the closest it’s been to the earth (during a full moon) in 15 years.

Well, methinks. A perfect time to get out the photography and telescopy equipment and capture this event.

But wait. This is Winter. In Canada. In Edmonton. Before we head out to the great white north, let’s do a bit of research to make the most of the event.

When will the full moon occur?

According to the helpful chart at Edmonton’s Telus World of Science, the Moon will rise at 3:53 pm and set at 9:12 am the next day. Since the Sun will be setting about the same time, great twilight illumination of any surrounding clouds or landscape will occur. Similar resources can be found at Skymaps.com, Astronomy.com and SkyAndTelescope.com.

What about the clouds?

Of course, to actually see this full moon, cloud cover should be at a minimum.  Unfortunately, according to the Clear Sky Chart for Edmonton, overcast conditions are predicted. Charts for your region may be found at ClearDarkSky.com

Click the image for the full size version

So. Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll be doing something other than taking pictures of the moon this evening. Hmmm, Rock Band 2 anyone? 🙂