Photo Tips Podcast: Staying Warm While Shooting in the Cold #76
Staying Warm & Dry While Shooting in the Cold #76
Last week I found myself outside shooting in the snow while it was snowing. I was conducting a private session with a couple of long time clients. And I told them to bring hand towels. And they had a lot of doubt but in the end they were really glad that they brought the towels. So what’s the towel for? The towel was meant to cover the camera equipment and shield it from the snow. But why not a plastic bag or a camera cover? First of all, most people don’t have dedicated camera covers handy, the other is plastic bags are really hard to deal with. But on the other hand, if it were raining I would say definitely go with a plastic bag. But I often find towels really handy in wet conditions because you can use it to wipe things off with. And the weight of the towel helps to keep it down on your camera if there is a breeze. Now if you are shooting in the rain, I would definitely opt for plastic but I would still bring a towel to put in the bag. Again the towel can be used to wipe things off with, like your camera or your wet hands before you put them back in your gloves.
When you’re shooting snowy conditions very often you’ll find yourself kneeling in the snow or worse, mud. So might consider bringing something you can put your bag on or kneel on, like a plastic bag or a small piece of foam or rubber mat like a mouse pad, this can be really useful. Yes there are still mouse pads out there.
When I got home from my shoot that day I happen to speak with two other photographers who had also been out shooting in the cold, one on the snow covered beaches of Maryland and the other in the snowy mountains of Vermont. Both told me mentioned the freezing weather. Although, these folks know how to dress for the cold, I found that one piece of equipment that they lacked and it was a Zippo hand warmer. These are not electric hand warmers, although zippo does make an electric one, these use lighter fluid and a flameless flame to keep them lit and warm And they are rated for 12 hours but I’ve had them go about 18.
And although everyone knows to layer up for the cold, I’ve come to find that people are not using the right layers which means they are still cold. I’m a huge fan of synthetics. I’ve found that the advantage of synthetic materials is that they utilize technology to capture and trap your body heat while wicking moisture; this is really important because if you get wet, you’ll be cold. Synthetics also tend to be thinner and lighter than their natural fiber counterparts. The only exception is ultra lightweight down, which is amazing at keeping me warm. If the conditions merit it, you would want to also add waterproof ski pants or rain pants on top of your layers as well. These layers will not only help you stay warm but they’ll also help keep you dry when you need to sit or kneel in the mud or snow.
And then there’s the issue of rubber boots. Unfortunately, in the cold they won’t help you because they are too thin and your feet will get cold. If your feet are cold you’ll be miserable. Make sure your shoes have really good insulation or have a really thick sole to insulate you from the cold snow and ice you are walking on. You’ll also want to consider a warm waterproof hat or beanie of some sort. Yes, they make beanies that are waterproof. I own one.
The last thing you might consider is a poncho. Yup, a poncho. You say? You have all Gortex gear and everything is waterproof already? Yea, I don’t care I do to and I have come to find that a poncho is invaluable! Because they cover everything this includes you and your bag. And when you need a dry space to change a lens? The poncho provides you a work space in which to do it with; just pull the poncho up over your head and there you have it! A huge dry tent in which to work!!!