Cold Weather Shooting – Clothing

A post from 2014 seems appropriate for today

It is cold out there!!!
Dress for it of you want to enjoy it!

Well the cold weather is here, but just because the weather has turned cold it doesn’t mean that we have to put our cameras away we just have to take some extra care in how we dress and with our equipment.

The boy scout saying of  “Be prepared” is something that we should take to heart, especially in cold weather!!  The last thing that you want to happen is to get injured when trying to get some pictures.

So what are some of the things to look out for?

1 – Take enough clothing to keep warm. I have heard it said many times from people that “I can stand the cold, I do not mind it”, but when you are trying to take pictures in the cold it can effect you more than you think.  Standing for minutes in one spot tends to cool your body a lot more than working or walking outside.  So starting from the ground up with what clothes to wear:

This little piggy was warm and toasty

A – The footwear.  If you will be going in snow make sure to take boots, warm and dry boots!  Forget about the shoes as they will just get cold an wet on you. In fact in most temperatures below zero I try and take boots because you may end up standing a lot longer than you expect and the feet cool off quick!  Getting cold or wet feet will make your shooting time a lot less enjoyable, and will make you rush. 

Also, if you are heading away from home any great distance (I say more than a couple of minutes driving time) take an extra pair of shoes or even slippers and an extra pair of socks.  Coming home with cold wet feet is not fun.  It is a lot more pleasant to slip on dry footwear (this includes dry socks) and make the drive home.  Plus you never know when you may get delayed and spending a lot of time in wet footwear can drain your body temperature quickly.

B – Pants. Most people will grab a warm coat, mittens and a hat but they will wear summer pants.  If your legs get cold you will start to rush. If you stay warm you can take your time to get the picture.  I have a pair of lined pants that I wear in cold weather. If it is windy I pull on a pair of wind pants.  What a difference it makes.  Also, as with footwear, take an extra pair of pants just in case.

C – Jackets – We have heard it said, layering is the best.  With your jacket a couple of lighter jackets can make you a lot warmer than one heavy jacket.  Along with the warmth layering gives you it will also allow you to remove layers. When it warms up remove and and when it cools down add so you never sweat!

Keep your brains warm!

D – Head and Hand wear – A warm hat can make you feel toasty warm. It has been proven that a hat will not warm the rest of the body. But it sure feels like it does.  I have a lined toque that is amazing!  Hand wear is not as straight forward, many photographers like the gloves, or mittens, that the ends come off.  They are great to get your fingers exposed to use the camera. While at the same time you keep the rest of the hand inside the glove.

The problem that usually happens is that once your fingers get cold they will not warm up again. This will make your hands feel cold.  In cool weather I usually just take my hand out of the glove to take the picture and then once done put it back in. In cold weather I use mittens and insert hand warmers inside.  That way when I am done shooting my mittens are nice and warm and my fingers warm up a lot faster.

Prepare for changes

No matter what clothing that you take always make sure that you not only dress for the current weather, but dress for the worse weather that may hit.  If it is winter prepare for -35, even when it is only -5, in summer prepare for cool wet weather even if it is a nice and sunny day! Just a couple weeks ago I went to Waterton for the weekend, I got up on Saturday and it was a great day no wind, warm and sunny.  In a couple of hours winter had moved in and it was blowing and snowing.  If I was not prepared it could have gone bad really quick!

Also, consider taking a complete extra change of clothes. I have had friends and students fall into creeks and ponds, an extra change of clothes can change a bad situation back to a good one.

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