Photography in cold to very cold conditions translates into a whole set of challenges outside the norm of just trying our best to get a good photograph!
A little back story, when I was fairly young on a sledding outing for the day, I frostbite my hands pretty bad. Of course since then, cold and my hands are not friends. And this is escalated more so during photography as you're not moving around as much. So what to do?
In mid-January of this year I went on a combination Ice Fishing/Eagle photography outing to Pettenwell Lakes area. I thought prior to the trip that I'd gotten myself ready. Bought some new Ice Fishing bibs, already had a very good coat, boots and I thought gloves, boy was I wrong! Within minutes of getting ready at the landing for out guide my hands where already done in, fortunately we where fishing in heated shacks and I was able to make it through the day. And have fun besides. Next day the rest of the crew headed home and I stayed to do some Eagle photography near the Dam. Again geared up, got their at 9am, planned on shooting till around 1 or two in the afternoon depending on the action. While I made it till one, again my hands where done in. Thinking to myself standing there, I got to find something to enable me to shoot in the cold.
After coming home from the trip my attentions went immediately looking into solutions to do just that! I both researched mostly online, Stores, photo blogs, other photographers, etc. I did find allot of solutions out there, most where not real bad in cost, but where ranging from about $100.00 to $300.00. Thing that worried me, is reviewed of most items where very mixed at best. Thus giving pause to spend that kind of money. About a week went by, and I recalled a place I used to shop quite a bit not far from me, Sherpers, which is a Military clothing outlet store. And after looking through lots of glove/mitts on display. I stumbled upon the pair of mitts pictures in their Archery section. In trying them on I found them good fitting with an easy to flip up upper part of outer mitt to be able in this case to control your camera. The outer mitts also featured zippered compartments to add heat packs too. They best part! They cost less than $50.00, and a large pack of hand warmers costing $10. Well, I'm set, right? We'll have to see, the proof as they alway say is in the putting.
I didn't have to wait long to give them a try! I'd been watching the weather forecast every week, and the second week of February on a Wednesday it looked promising. Weather was going to be sunny, temps about the same range as I had in January, Single digits, to a possible high in the low 20's. Arriving at the location, I got ready, sticking two hand warmer packs into each mitt, and set out to get some good shots. I'm very please to report they worked extremely well. My hands stayed warm throughout a 5 hour shoot, allowing me to use my camera well and get some great shots!
To sum up, I guess I would say, do your research, just like with anything else. If you can try them out all the better (This is the toughest thing). Are these the only solution, by all means no. But it just another option to be aware of to allow us to do this passion for photography that we share.
Till next time!
I'm a photographer who loves animal photography. Trying to capture that perfect moment is a passion of mine.