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No doubt you know about the "Blizzard of '96," which blanketed the northeast United States early the past January. The storm resulted in accumulations of more than 2 feet of snow in many areas, and TV commentators earlier urged viewers to stock up on milk, other food essentials and flashlight batteries.

They could well have added film, camera batteries and a weatherproof, one-time-use camera. Without these items, snowstorms and other severe weather conditions become only memories. Through pictures, however, news-making weather events, as well as the family fun they can generate, can be relived time and again and shared with friends and relatives in other parts of the country and the world.So, be prepared. Always keep several rolls of film around the house in the event of unexpected photo opportunities. Some photographers keep their "emergency film" in the refrigerator. This extends the expiration date (stamped on the side of the box). Keeping film in the freezer extends this date even longer.

In addition, keeping at least two different film speeds on hand is a good idea if you want to record all your indoor and outdoor activities. ISO 400 or ISO 1000 film is recommended for indoor, natural light pictures. ISO 100 or ISO 200 film are well-suited for general outdoor pictures.

Keeping a spare battery or batteries on hand is also important, especially for some of the newer fully electronic 35 mm SLR and compact cameras that use lithium batteries such as a 2CR5, CR2 and CR-P2. (Even on a clear day, these batteries may not be readily available at a local drugstore or super-market.)

Weatherproof, one-time-use cameras, which cost about $15, are excellent to capture all the fun in the snow. These cameras are preloaded with ISO 400 film, so you can take outdoor pictures even when the sky is overcast and during a snowstorm. What's more, unlike your regular camera, you don't have to worry about dropping a weatherproof, one-time-use camera in the snow.