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Thread: shooting in winter (in New England)

  1. #1

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    shooting in winter (in New England)

    Am interested in how LF and ULF photographers deal with shooting in winter. Back in the 1970's I was a student at RIT and on a typical winter weekend day for breakfast would have steak and potatoes, along with a strong cup or two of coffee. Drive south of Rochester and hike up a gorge with my 8x10 B&J wooden view and more in my backpack and a wooden B&J over the shoulder. Thermos of hot tea with plenty of honey got me through the day. Hiked out as the sun set. Well times change... Still shoot LF and ULF yearlong, but when winter weather gets challenging, backpack a Pentax 67 with 3 lenses. Now wear a pair of North Face winter insulated boots with gaiters. In the 1970s, Bean's Duck boots with two pairs of wool socks. Used to hike up frozen streams and small rivers that had waterfalls upstream. Fell through the ice a couple of times. Bushwhacked all the time but now just hike up streams and on trails.

    Was wondering how others deal with shooting in the winter, especially under adverse conditions.

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    I live at the edge of the woods, so I don't need to make a day of it. I just dress for the weather (gaiters over my boots, heavy Bean's jacket, hat, mittens or gloves) and go out for a couple hours at a time with some snacks in my pocket. That fits my schedule too as I have other things to do each day (parenting, work, etc..)

    The new metal and plastic snowshoes I have really liked the past couple of winters when the snow is deep. I don't go anywhere where I could fall through ice into deep water. If I break some ice and step down into a little slush no big deal, but people routinely die around here sledding onto thin ice (probably drunk) and disappearing.

    If it's 4x5 or MF, I just carry the tripod and camera bag. If it's 8x10, I use a Jet Sled to haul the gear and leave it in my general work area while I stomp about finding what I want to photograph. You really don't have to go far into the woods to get nice photos. Just enough walking to get your circulation going strong and you'll stay warmer while doing photos.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/137596...7632415184077/

    I love going out in the snow for photography... I made a little video of me and my rolleiflex that brings back good memories of the snow when it's muggy summer weather. Haven't made a LF video of the snow yet. Maybe this winter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZmEdNUQtfI&t=1050s

  3. #3
    Foamer
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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    I go for maximum warmth--mountaineering gear designed for climbing Mt. Everest etc. I have Mountain Hardware's Absolute Zero parka and pants (800fill goose down), Outdoor Research Gorilla face mask, Black Diamond guide gloves, Baffin expedition boots, and base layers as needed. I'm never cold! For less extreme conditions I recommend a good 800fill goose down parka, insulated pants, medium weight base layer, and medium weight gloves (and lightweight gloves in pocket.) I suggest these be waterproof shell as that will keep you dry in the snow as well as block wind. Blocking wind from blowing the warmth out of your clothing is very important. A light 800fill goose down vest is a great way to layer and build warmth over your body core. Keep your core warm and your feet will be warm as well. I was out in -22F last Saturday night and was perfectly comfortable taking my photos in northcentral South Dakota. One other hint I'll give is that when I'm under my dark cloth, I exhale through a plastic straw. If any breath gets on the ground glass, it's a bitch getting it back off.

    Like JP, I too don't really trust river ice. If it breaks, you will likely be swept under the ice and become fish food.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  4. #4

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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Like JP, I too don't really trust river ice. If it breaks, you will likely be swept under the ice and become fish food.
    Kent in SD
    Back in the 1970s, two of us proceeded to photograph a frozen gorge in one of the finger lakes by starting upstream and proceeding to go down stream. Was solid blue sky when we started out. Climbed down one frozen waterfall and then within minutes the sky clouded up and started to snow (lake effect). Within 5 minutes all the ice was covered with white snow. Well we hugged the edge of the stream and eventually were able to climb out of the gorge after falling through the ice twice. Also remember climbing down one waterfall and seeing the water flow down on the other side of the clear ice. Fortunately only got feet below the knees wet and really fortunately I was wearing double pairs of heavy wool socks. Later on in the summer revisited the gorge and what we thought was a stream was one very, very large and deep stream. Your "fish food" quote quite appropriate...

    Breathing through a straw, very innovative. I breathe through a heavy duty headband pulled down over my nose and mouth... it works. Was told by another photographer that treating the back of the ground glass with Rain X works... it doesn't.
    Greg

  5. #5

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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    I have an exposure app for my iPod that I use as a backup meter, as well as a long exposure calculator. I was fortunate enough to find a thin set of gloves with touch screen capability from LL Bean. Thin enough to work the controls and warm enough in freezing temps. Great stuff not having to take my normal gloves off to use the iPod camera to see if the scene would work in b&w.
    There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

  6. #6

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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidFisk View Post
    I have an exposure app for my iPod that I use as a backup meter, as well as a long exposure calculator. I was fortunate enough to find a thin set of gloves with touch screen capability from LL Bean. Thin enough to work the controls and warm enough in freezing temps. Great stuff not having to take my normal gloves off to use the iPod camera to see if the scene would work in b&w.
    We were at EMS today and my wife was looking for a pair of winter gloves that were water repellent and kept her hands warm. We were shown a pair of rubber? gloves made for white water rafters. Not cheap, but they are amazing. Great dexterity, water proof, and excellent insulation qualities. Will be getting a pair for my winter photography use.

  7. #7

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    Toronto, Canada
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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    HotHands Adhesive Toe Warmer - work nice to keep the feet warm, same for the hands.

  8. #8

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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    Of course, here in South Calif. when the weather gets really, really nasty, I throw a fleece vest over my t-shirt and we're good to go....unless I'm heading for Yosemite over MLK.
    There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

  9. #9

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    Rockland, Maine
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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    I'm getting up in years, so I stick pretty close to my Suzuki SX4 AWD. I shot a lot in the snow last year though. I've been comfortable in various weights of Cabela's or LL Bean cold-weather underwear (more important than outer wear IMHO); lightweight winter pants; down vest and heavy coat. I use glove liners to protect my hands when shooting and some snowmobiling gloves when not shooting. Lowa Renegade boots with gaiters have worked well on most days, but I keep Muckboots in the car for wet conditions. If I can get a larger car this year, I'll follow JP's advice and get a sled like ice fishermen use so I can venture further from the car. So far, I haven't had much trouble with breathing on the ground glass, but fogged eye glasses are a real problem. This year, I'll experiment with ways to keep snow from building up on the camera during storms and off my lenses: sometimes an umbrella is not enough.

  10. #10

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    Re: shooting in winter (in New England)

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    I go for maximum warmth-- Keep your core warm and your feet will be warm as well.


    Kent in SD
    Sorry, buddy - it's exactly the opposite. Keep your extremities (head, ears, neck, hands, feet) warm and the core will be warm as well. From one who lives at 4000 ft altitude.

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