When I am skiing I do not take my DSLR, a simple compact camera will do. It fits into any pocket and allows you to focus on having fun with your family and the sport you love.
Still, I have quite some experiences when it comes to taking the gear out during winter, which is my favorite season. Knowing from previous discussions I will write temperatures as both Fahrenheit and Celsius to avoid any confusion: -5C/23F (-5 degrees Celsius/23 degrees Fahrenheit).
First of all, most DSLRs are built to work at 0C/32F. Your Nikon D5000 has a minimum operating temperature of 0C/32F and a maximum operating temperature of 40C/104F.
Now there are a couple of additional variables you might want to consider when it comes to sub-zero temperatures:
· Battery chargeBattery charge
· Camera/lens storage
Cold does affect the conductivities of the electrolyte
in your battery, which one can think of as increased electrical resistance. So your battery does not magically lose large quantities of the stored energy, it simply gets quite moody when temperatures fall and is trying to keep electricity back for its own heating I guess.
So with every picture you take the battery loses a bit more of its charge than it would usually do. Unless you are shooting below -25C/-13F I'd say there is nothing to worry about. Of course, you won't be able to take as many pictures as usual, but it's like 400 instead of 500. If your lens has built-in image stabilization (VR) you may want to turn it off and lower the power consumption whilst shooting that way.Sealing
Budget DSLRs are usually not the most dust and moisture resistant and therefore you need to watch out for too much water getting onto your gear - especially when temperatures fall. You do not want your camera and lenses to have a frost bite. Some people are simply using a plastic bag to seal off their system. There are also dedicated camera rain/snow covers like the ones from Thinktank Photo.
From my personal experience with both Nikon and Canon budget DSLRs I can say they are not made of sugar and if it is snowing you will have to worry alot more about keeping the lens front clean than your system sealed.Camera/lens storage
Now that's one important point when temperatures fall. If there is one thing your gear won't like it is sudden changes in temperature. This happens when it was kept at a place long enough to adjust to the surrounding temperature (like in a house) and then you suddenly take it to a different location with a much lower temperature (e.g. outside). It's the same when you move it from a colder to a warmer place. Condensations will form inside your lenses/camera and it will take some time to adjust. There is one simple solution to this and that's a camera bag. As long as it is closed it has a climate of its own and slows down the temperature adjustment.Now which camera bag will be suitable for skiing?
Definitely not a backpack. When you are skiing you have no time to fiddle with the bag for 5 minutes just to get your gear out. You want every shot to be as painless as possible and that's why there are mainly three choices:
· An ordinary Joe bag (fanny pack) with a zipper
Pretty much the cheapest solution. It has to be large enough to accommodate your camera/lens and to allow easy operation with gloves. You will be able to place it anywhere around your waist. Usually not padded, so your gear may not like it too much.
· Belt packs
There are specially designed camera belt packs that work a bit like a Joe bag, but are padded and weather proof. I love them and my Thinktank Beltpack replaced the top loader I previously used. It easily mounts on my backpack's waist strap or a separate belt. Can be operated with gloves and allows quick and easy access to your gear.
· Top loaders
You carry them mainly at the height of your chest. Lowepro and Kata both offer excellent solutions with carrying systems. I used to simply clip my top-loader onto my backpack's shoulder straps using two small carabiners. As with the belt packs you will be ready to shoot within no time. Can be accessed with gloves and a padding secures your gear.
I used DSLRs at temperatures below -30C/-22F without a problem. Of course, I didn't just carry the camera hanging from my shoulders. A proper bag always was the first choice and ensured my gear's safety and kept it working.
Another quick tip for sunny winter days: Have a polarizing filter with you - it can do wonders. Gordon has a nice tutorial about how to use them.
For a more technical read try B+W's knowhow page.
Note that polarizing filters should not be used below 28 mm due to the characteristics of polarized light and wide angle lenses.