With fall coming to an end, at least here in Northern Michigan, it's time to start prepping for winter. This weeks post is about Winter Gear and Tips. Of all the images I have made thus far in my career, I would have to say winter imagery has been my least photographed subject. Don't get me wrong I love winter, I love the snow, but for whatever reason my winter portfolio is minimal compared to other seasons. My goal photographically this winter is to make more winter images. Planning and preparation is an important part of this process. In the spring, summer, and fall I have no problems being out all day, and well into the evening, waiting for the right moment. Being out all day in the winter, is not only dangerous in some situations, it can be very uncomfortable. Having the right gear for winter photography is crucial. Not so much camera gear but winter gear that will allow me to be out in the elements so I am ready when the time is right. Here is a brief list of tips for venturing out in the cold winter months.
We have all heard the saying dress in layers, but why dress in layers? Basically we want to be comfortable when we're hiking and when we reach our destination we want to be warm when we're waiting for the rising or setting sun. To achieve this, layers is the key. Normally I will have a base layer, a mid layer, and maybe 2 other outer layers. For a base layer I will usually wear a SmartWool NTS Midweight Crew - Men's. As a mid layer Mountain Hardwear Men's Monkey Man Jacket works really well. For my 2 outer layers, pack-ability is my biggest concern. Down jackets make a great outer layer. Some of them pack down to the size of a water bottle. Mountain Hardwear Men's Kelvinator Down Jacket is great for this. My last layer helps keep out the wind and the heavy wet snow, it's the Arc'teryx Men's Theta AR Jacket. With this system, I can stay warm when needed and shed a few layers when I'm hiking to my destination. Convenience and comfort can play a huge roll in how your images turn out, it's a worth the investment!
As far as camera gear, it's always a good idea to keep your batteries warm. Keeping them close to your body or put a hand warmer in the same pocket as the batteries. This will prevent the batteries from being used up so fast. Cold and batteries don't co-mingle very well.
When the shooting day is over, the camera will be cold, and when it hits warmer air it will build up some condensation. Putting the camera in one of those plastic grocery bags, the condensation will build up on the bag, and not so much on your camera, preventing potential damage.
The first time you step out into the cold elements, your camera lens will fog up, not to worry the fog will dissipate after a few minutes. There have been many of times while driving I will suddenly stop to catch a scene, and as soon as I step out of the car, my lens fogs up. I am not aware of a way to prevent this, but take notice this will happen, plan accordingly.
The biggest thing to take away from this post is plan for the worst and hope for the best. If unprepared, cold, and miserable, our images will reflect that. We may not be willing to stay to that magic hour, or if we do we may be risking frostbite or worse.
This weeks post image is a sign winter is not far off. The foliage has fallen from the trees and have covered the forest floors. The colorful carpet nature supply's makes a great photographic subject.