Cold Weather Tips

The first “snow storm” of the season happened last week. You have to take into account that we are in Virginia, to realize why a few inches of snow constitutes a “storm.”

Call me a wimp, but I hate shooting in the cold. Not only does the equipment not work to its full capacity as batteries slow down, and lenses stiffen up, but my hands don’t function right.

Trying to smoothly adjust focus with one finger, tweak iris with another while at same time zooming takes a degree of manual dexterity that’s not appreciated until zero degree temperatures stiffen and slow your movement.

There are no “perfect” gloves for photographers. Over the years I’ve tried many variations. Thick gloves don’t allow you to flip the tiny switches. You need your fingers exposed. So I’ve taken scissors to nice gloves and removed the finger tips, allowing for a warm palm connected to blue nubs without sensation.

Not to offer a plug, but the best combination I’ve found comes from Patagonia. They sell the best fingerless gloves I’ve found. Unlike the typical wool hunting gloves, these have leather pads on the palm to allow you to carry your camera or tripod without it slipping from your grip. At the same time, Patagonia sells thin polypropylene glove liners that are just thick enough to keep your finger tips warm, but thin enough to allow you to operate your equipment.

It may not be the cheapest solution to the cold weather problem, but it’s worth every penny. Over the years, I have developed my cold weather gear combination. After trying many alternatives, the more expensive product is usually the best. You definitely “get what you pay for.” It’s your livelihood, and it’s your comfort. It’s difficult to set a price on that.

THEY KNOW COLD UP THERE!(12/9/01)
From: Geoff Fontes Global-BC (Canada)
Just like “PhotogEye@aol.com” and many others, I too was looking for that perfect pair of “cold weather” gloves. I’ve tried everything – fingerless wool hunting gloves, neoprene, you name it.

I did, however, find the perfect pair, in the last possible place I would have expected to… a ‘Western Tack & Apparel’ shop (you know, the kind of place that sells horse saddles and cowboy hats, etc.). Anyways, they’re a winter-version of a roping glove (only not leather) – they’re 100% acrylic (which makes them extremely thin, yet warm) and have a ‘PVC Dot Coating’ on the palm, fingers, and even between the fingers (which gives you an awesome grip when carrying anything or pulling cable). The pair I found are black and have a velcro strap on the wrist, and best of all, they were only $10CDN!

Don’t forget to look around… ‘ya never know.

THE “PERFECT” GLOVES(12/9/01)

From: Sean Thomas
When it comes to gloves, I’ve spent many hours looking for the “perfect” ENG glove. The closest I’ve come, and it’s not very close at all, are fingerless gloves with a fold-over mitten. The right fabric (fleece for me) allows for accurate lense adjustments with the mitten on. I’ve found wool doesn’t allow for any kind of feel. Too thick. When I was using my wool mitts I couldn’t even be sure that I was making contact with my iris bezel.

Boots are very important. I wear Caterpillar boots with hook laces at the top. This allows for quick removal when you don’t want to track mud and snow all over someone’s house. They have steel toes which is good for construction sites, and are reasonably warm. They’re also flexible enough -without the steel baseplates – for crouching and bending.

SURPLUS WARMTH (9/20/01)
From: Daryl Inman
The best gloves I have found are from the army/navy story they have the thin wool gloves.Then go get some good football gloves to put on over the wool ones. you will have no problem with the tiny screws or carring equement around.. They really work great

HOW TO SURVIVE (10/17/01)
From: Chris Black SporTView Television (Tampa FL)
After shooting sports in the north, and the midwest for several years, then finally getting smart and moving to Florida, I wanted to share some of the things that helped me survive those cruel, bone chilling winters. First of all GORE-TEX shoes, I first bought a pair of GORE-TEX hikers in 1997, at a shoe store that was going out of business, I purchased them at half-price, which at that time was around $45-$50. A pair of GORE-TEX shoes are around $100 now, but it will be the best one-hundered dollars you will ever spend, especially if you like warm, dry feet. The next thing that I find to be a very warm piece of gear is a windshirt, like the college and pro coaches wear, you can wear it over your sweatshirt, and other layers, it is very light, but sure stops the wind, and makes your day/evening a lot more comfortable.
And the last thing which I have already seen the other helpful tips on is lens drying: I was shooting horse racing several years ago at a track up north, my lens developed moisture, and had fogged up, a blow dryer works well, but I had a little portable heater in the tower, so I took the lens off between a race and set it next to the heater, on it’s side for several minutes, that’s all it takes, and when I put the lens back on, no more fogged up lenses for me! Good Shooting, fellow Photogs.

SKI WITH ME
From: Don Wright
I read a recent article about using gloves without finger tips for shooting in cold weather….. Well being form Canada I found they are useful but can still keep you cold in the snow. You finger tips can get wet and thus cold. I suggest cross country ski gloves….. they are thin enough to keep the fingers nimble to use the switches and they cover the whole hand. If all you can get is fingerless gloves get a set of thin glove liners at an outdoor shop and put them underneath the fingerless set. You can shoot for hours when everyone else is freezing……

LOOK FOR THAT COOL BREEZE!
From: Rob Lafaivre, KSPR TV 33, Springfield, MO

It’s cold out (20 degrees) and my shoots at a swim meet. With the camera being inside the car most of the day, when I got inside to the pool, sweat, sweat, and more. And instantaneously fogged over. What to do? My camera fogged so fast I had to wait it out. Only after a couple minutes I found some air vents on the floor blowing cooler (and much drier) air. A/C system? Well I dont know about that but my foggy lens cleared up with the quickness after pointing that lens over the vent. Worked like a charm in about 5 minutes. Remember, look for those air vents.

Feelin’ Foggy
from: Adrian Mosby (WCHS-WVAH Charleston WV)

Take your light off the top of your camera and point it into lens. Close Iris. Add power to light. Bake untill clear. Serve. If you dont want to melt you lens hood or damage lens coatings don’t put bigger lights real close. Watch your fingers, lights get hot, on second thought a frezzi mini fill is best for this, but you always have that right?

By the way I tried this in about 4 feet of space in an abandoned/partily colapsed mine shaft and didn’t realy have time to say, “wait guys I need to go back out and wipe off the lens it’s warmer in here than out side”. Pulled light off heated dvc kid up and 2 min later I was back in Buisness.

File in the Frozen Section
from: Brian Robertson KGW-TV Portland, Oregon

Freezing Rain and Ice help. Here in Portland Oregon we frequently get freezing rain and black ice through the winter. Shooting in and on the stuff can be trying and dangerous at times. Most of the shooters here keep a pair of old pair of golf shoes, the ones with the metal cleats in with their cold weather gear. These shoes work great on iced over pavement. Remember when shooting to position yourself uphill or off the road with a tree or solid object in front of you. Don’t stand behind your car as it will easily slide into and over you if it is hit by another vehicle. We have had a few photographers discover this first hand. Happy accident hunting.

Batter Up!
From: Tom Glanzer KDLT-TV
In South Dakota we get a lot of cold shoots. For the hands batting gloves or football receivers gloves. You still get dexterity and can stay some what warm.

It’s Cold in Here!

From: Mel Stone, reporter/photog, KVLY (NBC), Fargo, ND
I’ve been shooting in the Fargo, ND market for nearly 18 years…. in Fargo, we’ve had periods of 2-3 weeks when the hi temp was -20…. the lows are in the -30s to -40s…. You’re right, in the cold nothing– especially hands– works right. Each year, I look for the perfect pair of gloves– I haven’t found the perfect pair. This year, I bought a pair of thinsulate-lined, leather gloves. they’re big and floppy; this year, I’m working on the theory that no warm glove allows dexterity, so I want a glove that’s warm and I can get on and off quickly. For my legs, I wear thinsulate-lined jeans– I hate long underwear, but i want to be warm. On slightly warmer days, I wear kakis or jeans that are just fannel-lined. and I’ve given up on pride– I now have a russian style hat (with ear flappers).

From: PhotogEye@aol.com
I shoot in the bay area, yeah I know it’s not as cold as the Midwest or back east but I just bought some gloves that work great for me. And just to prove a point I’m typing with them on. check them out on studiodepot.com they are called set gloves.

From: Jay Murdock
Down here in SC, it’s more likely to be freezing rain that drives you nuts. I’ve found that those neoprene gloves you can get at Walmart for 10 bucks are good for those long times outside (live shots)

Ice Drops
From: Bob Murdock WFXT-Boston

Although the winter has been mild for us in the North so far, we are now preparing for storm coverage. I saw a posting from Jorge about a moisture dot inside his lens. Last year the state of Maine had a severe ice storm I had to cover. I developed moisture inside my lens and it froze! creating a nice crystalized pattern over all my video I could not clear (this was at my former station with a sony 7A SP/BETA). I was with our SAT truck doing lives. I brought my camera to Mat M. our operator/engineer (I include his name because his genious saved me!!) He turned my camera off, closed down the iris, and pointed a 1K lamp into the lens!!! I was a bit freaked but he kept a close eye on it to make sure none of the rubber parts were getting too hot, and kept the light at a safe distance. The frozen moisture dot was gone in minutes!!!. This is a real “emergency” move. I don’t reccommend it for every “clouding” problem, use the hair dryer. But for those of you out there with older less air tight gear, this could really save the day! Welcome to winter everyone, stay warm out there!! Bob Murdock WFXT-Boston

Thanks!
This is a note of thanks to Bob Murduck-WFXT in Boston for his tip on how to get rid of moisture spots on the inside of a camera lens. I took his idea and modifyed it by using the sun as the heat source and closing down the iris all the way. This bit of knowledge enabled me to be able to shoot the video I needed to get the story without having to call in another photographer which would have wasted valuable time which in this case could have equaled missing one the biggest car pile-ups in recent memory in Lansing Michigan. Thanks again for sharing you knowledge with the readers of the B-Roll web site.

Thanks, Jason Whitaker, News Center 6, Lansing Michigan

3 thoughts on “Cold Weather Tips”

  1. Neo-Prene, Neo-Prene, Neo-Prene

    I used to go salmon fishing in the Osweg river in upstate ny and the waders that I used were made of Neo-Prene.
    I stayed warm and was waterproof. There are websites that have Neo-Prene gloves which will provide dexterity, warmth and waterproofing if you need it.

  2. (For Tips and Tricks in the section where my fellow photogs are taking about gloves.)

    As a shooter in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I too have had problems finding the perfect pair of gloves… especially when it hits -30 celcius. So I thought about it and decided to go a different way. After some searching I found a website that sells those hand warming pouches that you see quarterbacks wearing on cold game days. I still wear my gloves, but now I can stick my cold hands in the pouch and it takes very little time to start feeling my fingers again! And it clips around my waist, so it never gets in the way, even when I also have a fanny pack on for those extra batts, tapes, etc.

    Jason Trout
    ENG Camera
    Global Television
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>