So winter is here, the foggy days, rain, wind, bright sunlight (if we are lucky in the UK) and the dreaded cold. As a photographer who shoots mainly in the outdoors it is essential to be dressed for the ever-changing weather, either that or put your camera away and stay indoors until summer and I certainly don’t want to do that!!
So what are my recommendations for being prepared for your winter shoots that, hopefully will not cost you a penny, as you probably have everything you need already? Of course, you can trail the internet and buy yourself the most up to date ‘photography gloves’, ‘waterproof camera covers’ and anything else you fancy, or…. you could save your money for new lenses….I will always go for the second option!
So here we go….
Boots, walking shoes or a good shoe with a deep tread.
I have a pair of much-loved walking shoes, I dread the day they wear out. Shoes with a good tread are essential. I shoot in a lot of rural areas, where, in winter, there is a tendency for it to be slippery and wet. When shooting outdoors I find I get into all sorts of positions and I need a good grip on my shoes so that I do not end up in a muddy heap at the bottom of the hill with my camera under me. That has happened this year as I very unceremoniously slid down the muddy bank of Burrow Mump!!
Lightweight down jacket
Down is amazing and makes the lightest of jackets really warm when it’s cold but also not too hot when its warmer. They are generally shower proof so offer protection against the sort of rain you can cope with on a shoot. And they roll up into a tiny package if it really does get warm outside.
Socks. Nice warm ones
If like me, you suffer from toes that seem to sometimes have been in the freezer overnight then good socks are a must. I have some old walking socks from years ago I rely on. There is nothing worse that cold feet…… well maybe cold wet feet!
Hat, Scarf or Snood
It is always useful to take a beanie hat, just in case it is really freezing or drizzly. One that can be popped easily in your camera bag when you are not wearing it. A Snood, for those that don’t know, this is one of those cotton neck warmers that are basically a tube of material, I always wear a snood, to keep my neck warm but also have found on a number of occasions it covers my camera and lens perfectly if it starts to drizzle a little. It is also very useful in these times as an emergency mask should you need to be near anyone.
Layers of clothing
Just as it is horrible to be cold on a shoot it is equally horrible to be hot and have to carry extra items of clothing alongside your camera gear. Thin layers are a great idea, T shirts and vest tops rather than bulky jumpers.
It is impossible to control a camera with gloves on – unless they are fingerless of course. I use a pair that have the little mitten tops that you can flip over for when you are not shooting. You have probably realised by now that I do not like being cold!
Considering I don’t want to pay out for purpose made plastic rain covers for my camera, what could be easier that a large sandwich bag. I am not going to be shooting in torrential rain, just the normal UK winter drizzle so I find that a large sandwich bag is adequate to cover my camera and lens with plenty of room to hold the camera and use the controls. I make a hole in one corner of the bag and fit it over the lens, holding it is place with a hair band if needed and there you have it – a perfect drizzle proof cover (just make sure it is covering the whole lens and camera!)
Coffee coffee coffee (and snacks)
It’s always a good idea to check out the location of the shoot and near the top of my list is checking out if there is a nice café that does takeaways nearby. I’m a bit of a coffee freak and a nice flat white during a shoot goes down a treat. If, however I am shooting in a very rural location a flask of coffee is a must and maybe some biscuits or snacks – after all being out in the cold winter weather I think I deserve it!!
Of course, there are many other important things to remember for a shoot. your camera. Lenses… batteries. …SD cards etc but that’s a whole other checklist. The list above is my ‘Must keep warm’ checklist for those winter UK shoots.
Happy Winter Shooting!!