Foul Weather Tips
Saran Wrap It
[12/22/04] From: Dave Oglevie, Seattle
While doing the dishes the other evening I came across an odd piece of semi-clear plastic with a springy wrap that my wife was using to cover a bowl of leftovers. I have always carried a disposable shower cap (taken from various hotels) as a cheap lens cover for when it rains. When you live in Seattle you keep your eyes open for this type of protection. The shower caps kept falling off because they were too large.
Anyway, it turns out that there is a much better product for covering lenses than the shower caps. Saran(wrap) has some things called Quick Covers. They were out of production for several years but now they are back and the small size works like a custom fit lens cover. I tried it on both my 15X Fuji lens shade and also on my Canon J8X6 wideangle lens hoods. It is much snugger that the shower cap. It will not blow off in the wind. These should be available at any supermarket. I just purchased three boxes to cover me thru our winter wet season. A couple of bucks per box is much easier on the wallet that some of the other soft lens covers that are out there on the market.
Oh, yeah, while in the kitchen I also steal my wife's flour sack dishcloths. After a few washing they don't shed lint, are very soft and dry quickly. The only drawback is that the emboidery that her grandmother did on the cloths can get you a glance or two from by-standers...
After many aggravating years of covering hurricanes I've come up with the perfect hurricane wear.
First, you're going to get very wet, so no cotton. The beauty of hurricanes (if there is one) is that for the most part they are warm storms. I wear nylon surfer trunks, t-shirt covered with a light weight breathable rain jacket and a pair of Teva sandals with velcro straps.
I just bought a pair of water shoes (they look like sneakers only they're porous and you can wear them in water), they give a little more foot protection. Going out shooting in the storm then back into the sat truck and then back out again, you get soaked then dry, then soaked then dry, etc.
With the nylon trunks you're bone dry in ten to 20 minutes, your feet are also dry, and you have little chance of hypo-thermia as with cotton jeans and such. Oh, and the best thing is to go commando in your trunks so the drip dry procees is faster and more complete.
For a story about vehicles in the elements, CLICK HERE.
"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.
Send us your best COLD WEATHER CLOTHING TIPS.
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.
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.
Rain, Rain Go Away
from Wayne Pellenberg
In foul weather, I've been getting great results from "Rain X". It's the stuff made for auto windshields. I coat my UV filter with it, and the rain just rolls right off!!! It also seems to prevent fogging as well. "Rain X" is availlable at most auto parts stores. Buy the big bottle because you'll need to re-coat your lens about once a month.
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).
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)
Wrap that Rascal (Part 2)
From: Howard Grace
With the rash of hurricane scares here lately, I needed a surefire way to waterproof my stick mike, I used an idea I got here on B-Roll and took it a step further... I got a fresh trash bag, and after removing the windscreen, i pulled a small piece of the plastic bag over the top of the mike... pull it taught, and secured it to the Mike with Gaffers tape... It worked perfectly with very little loss of overall sound, and it kept the microphone good-n-dry. Another tip I've found very useful lately with these florida sunsets, is the white balance tips for colorful sunsets. Thanks guys for your input. you're making us all better photogs every day.
Heat it Up!
From: Jazz Sanghera
If you don't have a hair dryer in you vehicle to dry your lens, try turning the heat on in the truck and blast the lens. I have tried this and it works if you are out in nowhere land and stuck for a solution.
Sounds Like an Easy Bake Oven
from Mark Lutz WTAJ TV Altoona,Pa
I don't know how many people work in the colder climates but I know that I do. And being the "Live, Local, Late-Breaking" station in the market means that we go out when it gets ugly. We have two masted microwave trucks, three portable microwave unit installed in vans, and a digital/analog satelite truck. When it snows, sleets, or just gets cold we run all of them at once. Every once in a while a mast gets frozen in the up position. So, since you can't drive home with a 40+ foot thing sticking out of the top of your truck here's what you do. This requires you to think ahead. Always make sure that you tie at least to lengths of nylon (cotton stretches to much) to the top of the mast before you put it up. You can use them to steady the dish in high winds also. These will let you and your reporter "help" the mast down. If that doesn't work, and won't all of the time, put a 1k up on the roof of the truck put it as close to the first seal on the mast as possible (barn doors help). Bungee it down and BS with your reporter for about ten minutes and tug on the ropes again. This should eventually work, at least it always has for me. We also run an antifreeze mix in our older masts during the winter months.
from Geoffrey Nelson:
For intense rain, try using a garbage bag and gaffer tape. Cut the plastic bag into long strips and place them over any and all connections on your camera. If you have a BVV-5 deck for example, try putting plastic where the camera and deck meet. Wrap the viewfinder completely...cover all cracks and seams. Make sure you tape the strips down and on the smallest cracks, just use gaff tape. Make sure you finish the job with a sturdy rain cover. I have no idea if this has a negative effect on the heating and cooling of the camera but it has never steered me wrong, and I shoot in Seattle. I have no remedies for inner-camera moisture. Wait, yes I do...edit the rest of your shift. Good luck and good shooting!
Let it Snow
from Jorge, at KCRA:
Just got back from a massive snow shoot....developed a moisture dot on the inside of my lens...ruined many of my shots...moisture I know...
Can anyone suggest how to avoid this or a quick field remedy?
[editor's note: If the spot was inside the lens (and not inside your UV filter), you've got a nitrogen gas charge leak. As I understand it, the lenses are sealed and filled with Nitrogen Gas. This prevents moisture from getting in.
I don't know if it will easily dissipate, but we've started to carry hair dryers in our trucks to use in storm coverage. (We drenched 4 cameras in our last Nor'easter.)]
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
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 knowldge with the readers of the B-Roll web site.
Thanks, Jason Whitaker, News Center 6, Lansing Michigan