I had the opportunity to shoot in the Canadian Badlands last December out at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada. We had a meeting out the Dinosaur Field Station and I had the chance to stay overnight at the base camp facility for lack of a better term. They have a coference facilities as well as small trailer complex for housing reserchers and other special visitors to the park who are staying for longer periods of time.
The skies were overcast but I had hoped for clearing by nightfall to capture some night time lapses, unfortunately this was not to happen. I did get to capture some incredible winter shots even in the flat light which I didn't mind. Flat lighting has a mood of it's own and in this case it almost gives a monochromatic feel with the snow covered landscapes. There are several shots where I focus on the snow flakes coming down and to improve definition I increase the shutter speed to about 500 and it work really well for those particular shots. The rest of the time I was set at a shutterspeed of 50 at 24 fps with the exception of the slow motion segments. My favorite pieces of gear are the Glidetrack HD and the Steadicam Merlin which performed really well in the cold and snow.
The Glidetrack HD: actually seemed to better in the cold as the self lubricating ploymer in the slider doesn't freeze and it seemed the cold weather was helping it out. An issue I ran into was snow hitting my track was melting and making it wet. When the track gets wet it makes a smooth slide much harder to accomplish, to avoid this it`s best to store your track out in the cold for a few hours before shooting.
Steadicam Merlin: Even crunching through the deep snow the Merlin worked flawlessly as you can see from the video above. I hope to post a full review of the Merlin in the near future.
My primary lenses were Sigma 30mm f1.4 and the Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 on the Canon T2i and 7D respectively. I had the battery grip for the 7D and never had to change batteries all day and only once for the T2i. Colour grading was done with Magic Bullet Looks.
I used the very cheap Velbon video head on my Glidetrack and I found that the cold made for very stiff panning and the Velbon kept coming unscrewed from carriage. I recommend the Manfrotto 501HDV video head it may or may not solve cold weather shooting issues but it`s a much better head than the Velbon.
Music: Walking in the Air (Christmas Glitch Hop / Dubstep Remix) by Retrotation