Bad Weather can be dangerous to photographers. Safe photography outside in any condition is helped along by the right gear. This is part 3 of a series talking about shooting in bad weather. In part one I said that we need to still head out and shoot in the “bad weather” that we will all be faced with. Part two talked about finding bad weather for an even better variety of shooting situations.
In this article, part three, I will discuss non photography related gear that will help you to be able to shoot in any condition, and to do so as safely as possible. Non of this gear will insure your safety, but it can help in some situations and make you comfortable in almost all of them.
So here are my recommendations!
A good hat – one that can shield from the elements and or keep you warm. You may have to choose warmth and let the jacket shield from the elements…
Ear Warmers or Ear Band – These are so small and light, but can add huge amounts of warmth to your body in any condition with ease! I have one in my camera bag every day of the year for chilly mornings and evening.
A good jacket for blocking out the elements – I like using the layers approach. I have a jacket that shields and can be worn at times it is still warm but wet, and using it with an insulation layer. Gore-tex is always a great choice for this layer, but whenever you use a waterproof layer, remember that the garment will not breath water out well at all (if it will at all, cheap jackets keep it all in as well!).
Have a good layer of insulation – I used to make fun of puffy jackets. Then I used one and fell in love. They offer extreme warmth for weight! I don’t prefer insulated underwear because it is a pain to remove when you get to hot! Where I live and mostly shoot in the desert the temperature and weather changes rapidly, so I like clothing and protection that I can change in and out of rapidly as well.
Gloves – These let you keep at what your doing! There are a lot of ways to effectively use gloves or multiple pairs when shooting in bad weather. I like to get a pair that offer great warmth and moderate ability to still use camera controls. This way I am warm, but still able to do most camera functions except for the occasional small switch or button and you can pull your hand out momentarily. That is my preference. Some prefer to use a glove that allows total mobility while on and wear these inside a much warmer insulating glove. Regardless, these and the ear warmers are with me every single day of the year I head out to shoot, and I almost always use one or the other.
Proper footwear – This will allow you to do about anything you want once you get out there. I have a heavy duty cross training shoe that is water proof. I like this much more than boots, but get what will allow you to do the most.
- I have seen people miss great pictures because they only had on their dress shoes and didn’t feel like they could trek through some mud and rain for a shot…
- Rubber galoshes might be just the key if you know there will be lots of mud and water crossings. They aren’t usually costly, I have a pair of these I love that cost me 9 dollars new!
A compass or GPS device – In bad weather if you are leaving your car or hiking a ways it is twice as easy to get lost. Give yourself the resources to find the way back! Also these are worthless if you don’t know how to use them! Practice ahead of time. Understanding their use in theory without any practice can be worse than not having them at all! I almost got totally lost because of my inexperience with a GPS and relying only on my skim reading the manual. Actual use and practice is essential.
A plastic cover for camera and camera bag – I have a nice big plastic bag to cover the camera. You can buy these specially made for your camera, but they are essentially a plastic bag. I keep a few in my bag, they take up virtually no space and are handy for many other things. I also have a plastic bag to put my bag in in case of extreme wetness. From experience I know that it will keep gear dry even if submerged for several moments, so I don’t worry about rain if it is closed up.
Eye Protection – I don’t wear glasses and so I often suffer from my eyes being exposed. I have a pair of aviators, or ski goggles depending on the weather and time of year.
A small collapsible umbrella – these can come very small, and look kind of like a little Star Wars light saber. Umbrellas are great for being able to set up your gear protected from the elements and maybe even during shooting, although I prefer the previous item for actual shooting in rain. A note on umbrellas, they are horrible in wind! I made sure that my jacket was big enough that I could use it to shield gear from weather as an alternative.
Insulated thermos – This allows you to have a nice hot beverage at all times. A decent insulated metal thermos will allow you have keep a beverage hot for hours. This may not be desired by all, but is a great comfort!
This list stops there. You could add shelter, sleeping gear, and cooking gear but that would only be in certain situations. So I won’t dive into that stuff.
There is a lot of stuff on this list. I have used all of it at least a few times to great effect, and the first eight items, I have with me at least in the car at all times, often on my person. They don’t take up much room at all, and can make the difference in being able to getting amazing pictures, and getting blown away or rained out.
The list above is what allows me to always get out and shoot. Some things are different for other people, and some may not be applicable for you. Whatever you do though seriously consider what you need to be able to shoot in the bad weather you may face, and have it ready, then the real adventures will start to roll in!
What would you add to this list?
I hope you have enjoyed this list. It is the third and last installment of my shooting in bad weather series. If you missed Part one or part two click below to check them out.