Temperature Problems in Iceland

This week I'm in Iceland, and it's gorgeous here right now. Plenty of snow, and today we have a clear sky.

I'm writing this post about my equipment, and just how terrible things are working out for me right now. I brought two camera systems with me - my trusty Mamiya 7II camera, and also a rather mint Hasselblad 503CX which is an addition to my existing Hasselblad 500CM (that I bought from my good friend Lynda over a year ago). I've fallen in love with the Hasselblad system and it's been a real joy working in square format - I think the change from thinking in 5:4 is as good as a rest for me.

But I have to say, that if you're considering taking any camera equipment into some extremely cold landscape for extended periods of time, you might want to get it serviced or checked out first. I've had both cameras completely freeze up in -2ºc conditions, which I don't think is too much to ask of the equipment. The biggest hassle, has been the entire Hasselblad outfit.

It seems that the film backs are not working properly. They don't wind the film on evenly in the cold, and my 50mm wide angle lens seems to cause the body to jam, and I have to push the lens onto the body to make the mirror go up. A second film back advances properly, but in the cold, it does not stop at frame 1, instead, it doesn't indicate anything as to the current position, and before I knew it, I had wound on a fresh roll right to the end!

From reading forums on the Hass system, it seems a regular maintenance plan is what's required. I have to admit though, that using camera equipment in cold conditions can exacerbate a condition that wasn't so obvious when working under normal temperatures.

I managed to slip on some solid ice (hidden by a dusting of snow), and so my Hasselblad Lee adaptor ring (which got my vote for most rubbish piece of equipment I've ever bought) bit the dust and shattered into several pieces. I really love the Lee filter system, but their standard 'plastic' adaptor rings are really awful and they should be ashamed selling something that does not let the holder system go on (without the use of a pen knife to reshape the adaptor ring).... it doesn't work, and they charge you £40 for the privilege too. I would love to buy a wide angle adaptor ring for the Hasselblad, but they don't make them (all wide angle adaptor rings are precision made, and made of metal - so they do the job they're intended for).

And then there's my new Gitzo tripod. Two legs are jammed solid, and trying to unscrew them just makes the rubber grip slide around the leg. I'm sure what's happened is that the grease inside the collar has leaked onto the legs, and the temperature has made the grease thick and unmoving. So I have the tripod lying right next to a radiator at present.

All this is making me feel rather frustrated and defeated in a way, that is similar to how I felt when I came to Iceland in Summer. I remember feeling that things weren't going well, and that I'd have nothing to show for my efforts. So I'm just wondering if my films will prove me wrong when I get them processed.

One thing is for certain. Both cameras as going to the Hospital for a check up, servicing. As for my tripod, well.... we will see. I think yet another tripod purchase is on the cards.