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Entries By jason thompson

Guide Shack: Shooting In Cold Environments

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

I spent over a decade working as a mountain guide and many days I found myself working in very cold environments, often for weeks at a time. I carried my camera on all of these trips. One of the coldest places I worked was on Denali in Alaska while working for RMI. During those expeditions, climbers often had questions about using cameras in these cold environments. Here are a few tips that I shared with them:

1. Keep multiple batteries available. Keep them close to your body. Sleep with them. If you’re not going to be using your camera for long periods of time take the battery out so that it stays warm and it’s ready to go.

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

2. Remember that if you bring your cold camera into a warm room that condensation will rapidly fog the glass in your lens. I have found that if I bring my camera into my tent its usually not enough of a temperature gradient to cause condensation.

3. The solar kits these days are very affordable, compact, light and you would be surprised at how much charge they will provide even if it’s snowing. Check out the Goal Zero kits, they will have whatever you could possibly need.

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

4. Camera technology changes rapidly. One major advantage of the new technology is the size of the cameras available these days offer very high performance while being slightly bigger than your iPhone. A couple of cameras that I have had success with for a pretty good dollar value are the Sony RX-100 and the Canon s100. They are sleek cameras that will fit in your pocket comfortably. Of course one thing to consider in the colder environments is that using the LCD screen will use more battery juice. Having a viewfinder like the Nikon Coolpix 7800 will provide longer battery life.

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

5. Keep your camera handy. The more accessible your camera is, the more images you will capture. I typically will carry my camera clipped to my backpack shoulder strap about chest height and tether it to a small locking carabiner. That way even if I drop it I will not lose it.

6. Safety first. Mountaineering is a team sport. You’re tied in with other people. Just because you see a picture that you have to take right then don’t forget that it’s your responsibility to make sure its safe to capture that picture. Communicate with your teammates.

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

7. Shoot details. Shoot unique angles. Shoot to tell the story. Simply, just dropping to a knee for a different angle will improve your image.

8. IPhones make amazing images. I just recently picked up this iPhone case and modified it by drilling 2 small holes in the side of the case and installed a short tether.

9. My light and fast alpine style camera kit includes the Sony DSC-RX100, Joby Gorilla pod (be gentle with these in really cold environments as they can be fragile), a Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Remote, Sandisk 32GB SD card x2, 1 ziplock bag, 1 dust cloth for the lens and the Lowpro Portland 30 case. This comes in at about just over 3lbs.

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography

(C) Jason Thompson Photography
Jason Thompson is a Senior Guide at RMI Expeditions and a renowned photographer. He has traveled the world to places such as Alaska, Patagonia, and the Caucasus Mountains leading climbs and documenting mountain adventures through his camera lens. See his work on www.jthompsonphotography.com. Jason’s recent videos include the 2013 Reel // Artist Statement and Wrangelled, which was nominated for a Coldsmoke Award. Follow Jason on Instagram at @_jt_photo.

Thanks for the great tips and for the awesome pics.  It’s one thing having all the gear and technology but having the eye for that unique angle or opportunity is another thing.  You have both.  Have enjoyed looking at your photos over the years.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Josephine Johnson on 3/28/2014 at 12:34 pm

Hi Brenda looks like the sun is so wonderful for your journey .  Sea Jay and I are doing fine did cardiac hill today we miss & love you and are so happy you got the best weather!  Stay safe, love you, Rich. Xoxoxo

Posted by: Richie Larscheid on 2/9/2014 at 10:32 am

Mt. Rainier: Teams Reach the Summit August 3rd

RMI Guides Jason Thompson and Tyler Reid led their Four Day Summit Climb teams to the summit of Mt. Rainier today.  At 7:15 am PT the teams were enjoying their time on top with nice conditions and no winds.  The teams will descend to Camp Muir for a short break before continuing to Paradise later this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!

Woohoo!!! So inspiring and well, just freaking awesome!

Posted by: Michelle la Cour on 8/3/2013 at 7:41 pm

So proud of you Bro & extra bonus for me taking care of the babies - we are all so excited for you & the whole Why Fork Mountaineers!!!

Posted by: Wendy on 8/3/2013 at 4:42 pm

Mt. Rainier: July 10th - Summit!

The Four Day Summit Climbs led by RMI Guides Seth Waterfall and Jason Thompson reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning shortly after 5:30 a.m.  They reported clear skies and warm temperatures with winds around 20 mph.

As of 7:00 am the teams were descending from High Break (13,300’).  They will continue to Camp Muir and make a short break there before continuing to Paradise this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!

Jason, Lance, and Andy, you guys were great!

Thank you!

Posted by: Shawn B. on 7/19/2013 at 9:59 am

Sandy, You are a beast! Congrats!

Posted by: Jackie & Dan on 7/11/2013 at 1:36 pm

Mt. Rainier: June 17th Update

The Five Day Summit Climb led by Robert Montague and the Four Day Summit Climb led by Jason Thompson reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  Conditions on the summit were windy (40mph) and clear.  The teams are currently resting at Camp Muir before beginning their descent to Paradise; they will be back in Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!

Walter -

I hope it was a successful climb for you!

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/17/2013 at 3:09 pm

What beautiful scenery.  Congratulations and we can’t wait to hear all about it, Jason.
Mom and Dad

Posted by: Kelley on 6/17/2013 at 2:26 pm

Mt. Rainier: June 13, 2013 Summit!

RMI Guides Jason Thompson and Tyler Reid and their Four Day Summit Climb Teams reached the Summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  The teams reported great climbing conditions, with clear skies, calm winds. They spent some time on the summit and are now en route to Camp Muir.

Eric Frank
and the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz Team Reached the top of Mt. Rainier at 12:15pm PST today.  The team enjoyed putting their newly acquired skills to the test on the route and have started their descent. This is the first summit via the Kautz route for an RMI team this season!

Congratulations to today’s teams!

To JD and fellow Adventurers,

Whoot-rah for you!  We wish you all happy trails and a safe climb. Send us more pictures.

From Your FAU Family
Go Owls!

Posted by: Jackie on 6/14/2013 at 8:10 am

Mt. Rainier: June 8, 2013 Summit!

The Four Day Summit Climb Team led by RMI Guide Jason Thompson reached the summit of Mt. Rainier at 6 a.m. this morning.  The team climbed above the clouds and experienced great route conditions.

Congratulations to today’s Team!

Photos by Jason Thompson, see more of Jason’s photography here.

the most amazing event i have ever experienced!

Posted by: eric u. on 6/24/2013 at 10:09 am

Mt Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar Update

Today our winter team made it to 11,500 feet on Mt. Rainier! It was tough going at the end. We had thigh deep snow and we decided to make the safe decision to turn around.

The weather is beautiful but the conditions are tough. However, that didn’t stop the team from having a great day up high.

It’s a unique feeling being up here in the winter. We are all alone and we are enjoying Rainier’s pristine beauty that can only be enjoyed in winter.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson is now giving a lecture in snow science and avalanche awareness.

That’s all for now.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Awesome! HIGH FIVE, FRANK AND TIM!! I cannot wait to hear all of the stories. You guys look great out there. XOXOXOXO Jenna

Posted by: Jenna on 2/8/2013 at 12:37 pm

WOOOOHOOOO!!! Rock on guys!! **Dan- I can’t wait to see you again, I missed you so much! Hope you got some majestic pictures ready for me; I got beer ready for you <3 Stay safe out there.

Posted by: Roz on 2/7/2013 at 9:29 pm

Mt. Rainier: Winter Seminar Training on the Cowlitz Glacier

Our winter seminar awoke to pancakes and a view! We have a little break in the weather. So we are busy taking photos. It still is a little blustery but we plan on continuing big mountain training. On the agenda, building anchors, crevasse rescue and self rescue.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

~ Yayyyyyyyyy!!!:) sounds AWESOME!! i cant wait to have some pancakes with ya when you get back babe!! muuaahh!!! looks amazingly Beautiful there~ have fun & enjoy the journey to the summit!!!!

Posted by: candi on 2/6/2013 at 12:01 pm

Pancakes on a mountain?? I never get pancakes for breakfast! I am totally jealous :-D Keep your energy up, stay hydrated, and have fun!!

Posted by: Roz on 2/6/2013 at 11:41 am

Mt.Rainier:  Winter Seminar Update

Our team made it to Camp Muir!

It was a long, arduous day but everyone put their heads down, gritted their teeth and made it to 10,000 feet in great style.

The action continues! Despite a little bit of weather to keep us cool we are having a lot of fun training in the snow.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

CONGRATS!!!!!!!! :) be safe!!! have fun!

Posted by: candi on 2/6/2013 at 6:33 am

It’s about time! ;) Congrats to you all!!! Next step: rocking awesome summit bid. Keep your spirits up and remember how truly awesome this journey is for each and every single one of you. Tim: xxxooo! Make it happen!

Posted by: Tim's Little Woman on 2/6/2013 at 6:04 am

Mt. Rainier: July 17th Update

RMI Guide Mike Haugen led his team to the Mt. Rainier summit via the Disappointment Cleaver Route this morning with beautiful weather and a slight breeze.  The team began their descent at 10:00 a.m.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson was leading his team on the Emmons Route on the northside of Mt. Rainier. Due to firm conditions and a cloud cap developing on the mountain, the team had to make the tough, but more importantly, safe decision to turn at 12,500’.  They will stay at Camp Schurman tonight and descend the mountain tomorrow.

To Steve D. on Emmons-

I was following you on SPOT and saw a turnaround.  Then I came here to the blog and read about the cloud cap developing.  Bummer!

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 7/17/2012 at 3:45 pm

Good luck Mehok brothers!!

Posted by: Mike Mehok on 7/17/2012 at 12:23 pm

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