To the naked eye, winter can truly create a dreamy landscape. The blanket of white all over the place can really make your usually familiar-looking neighbourhood look like a production set in a Hollywood movie. Apart from making snow men and hurling snowballs towards unsuspecting friends and family for a bit of winter fun, one other thing I like to do in the winter is to preserve these icy moments with photography.
Winter photography can get very tricky though! There are times when the snow reflects too much light, making it hard to capture the texture of the landscape or set the right exposure, or sometimes the weather gets too cold and batteries refuse to work properly! There’s also the problem of snowflakes on your lens and even on the body of your DSLR. And since not all DSLRs are waterproof, protecting yourself from the wintery elements can help you come up with astounding shots without sacrificing the condition of your gear.
Two things that can help you protect your gear in the winter include Ziploc bags for your things and a wearable umbrella if you can get your hands on one. Despite being seen as a novelty item, an umbrella hat is actually practical and comfortable, especially when you shoot outdoors alone and you don’t have anyone to hold an umbrella for you. This can help prevent snowflakes from getting into your gear. For more serious winter photography gear, check these out!
Waterproof DSLR Camera Bag
This may sound like a no-brainer to some but investing in a good waterproof DSLR bag can serve you well if you’re serious about your winter or rainy-days photography. You won’t magically pop up on location, and while you’re on your way there you might be exposed to the elements. Whether you’re out on the windy fields or in the woods, you can expect snowflakes here and there. You might bump into twigs that are laden with accumulated snow. On an ordinary bag, you can brush it off, sure, but later on, you’ll regret it when you see how your camera bag and gear have become damp back in your car. Choosing a good waterproof camera bag can give your DSLR body and lenses the protection they need while on the go. The bag featured here has special anti-dust zippers, polyurethane coating with the water shield material and has a detachable divider inside to help you organise your gear more efficiently. It comes with a waistband and is compatible for a lot of cameras. Nikon D800 and 1200D, as well as similar sizes, can be accommodated.
A trusty tripod is another essential winter photography gear. Of course you can just hold your camera, but imagine what it’s like when the weather gets too cold and you can actually feel yourself shaking. Even the best anti-shake features of a camera might not be a lot of help in your photo shoot when your limbs are shaking! A tripod can provide you the stable footing you need. For winter photography, having that much-needed stability out in the cold can help you capture the best shots. When choosing a tripod for your winter trips, you should get one with sturdy and durable rubber bases. These will work better on a slippery ground. Instead of going for the sleek ones, opt for more solid-bodied tripods that can help you resist strong winds too. This tripod can be a great choice for you. It’s not overly expensive but it gives you the traction and stability you would need in winter conditions. It is made of durable magnesium aluminium alloy and the non-porous surfaces of exposed alloy won’t rust and can be easily wiped dry later on to prevent corrosion. You may also want to consider improving your stability by having a remote control for your shutter release to further avoid shake. This is a great idea for wildlife photography too because you can set up your gear and stay somewhere farther while you wait for your subjects to appear.
Rubber Lens Hood
A rubber lens hood is particularly great for winter photography for two main reasons: it can help prevent stray snowflakes from falling straight onto an exposed lens, and it can also lower the amount of light your lens receives. Instead of just tinkering with the exposure settings on your camera to get the perfect look of a wintry field, a rubber lens hood can help reduce light entering the aperture. It can give your final image a more textured look rather than excessive brightness that may result from the glare on the snowy surfaces. If you haven’t used lens hood before, winter may be a great time to see its effect especially when it comes to allowing light to enter your frame. You can avoid lens flare which is usually seen in outputs of winter photography because of the amount of sunlight snow can reflect. Rubber lens hoods can be used for standard lenses with a focal length of 45 mm. It comes with a metal ring and is collapsible which makes it travel-friendly and easy to carry around. This small addition to your camera gear collection can make a huge difference especially in bright light scenes where you can use a bit of light control. I particularly like how it helps block out stray snowflakes.
Winter Photography Gloves
Next to your eyes that can spot the beautiful wintry landscape, your hands are important for the most part. You will need fully functional fingers that aren’t frostbitten if you want great winter shots. You can protect your hands from the cold by having reliable winter photography gloves. If you have an old pair of gloves at home, you can consider cutting off an inch from the tips to give you better control on your lens and shutter release even in the cold. This is great for not-so-cold winter days when you can still keep yourself relatively warm. When you’re out in the ultra-cold winter landscape though, having something to protect your hands while setting up can make for a more comfortable experience. This is an excellent pair of winter photography gloves for you. They are water and windproof, keeping your hands warm and nimble. They have a Thinsulate lining, keeping them light and non-obtrusive to use.
That’s not even the best part. These gloves have fold-back finger tips with magnet fastening. You can keep your fingertips covered while you set up and just slide the tips of the gloves back when you need more precise control on your gear!
Needless to say, bringing spare batteries when you go shooting in the cold is a must. Sometimes batteries won’t work in the cold even when you’ve fully charged them before heading out. All the slushing through the snow and setting up your gear would amount to nothing if your batteries won’t power your DSLR. Batteries don’t function properly in the cold because the electric current they generate gets affected by the cold weather in the sense that the chemical reactions expected to happen when the battery connects to the terminals become slow. Therefore, they cannot deliver the energy you need to power your DSLR properly. You can just keep your battery in your jacket pocket close to your chest while you set up your other equipment to keep it warm and insert it into your camera when you’re ready to shoot. There are times, however, when the DSLR body gets cold much faster because of the chilly winds and the terminals get cold, too. This is where having a set of extra batteries come into play. When your main battery gets too cold, you can take it out, keep it close to your body to give it back some heat, and replace it with your extra batteries. Of course, you can choose to buy the particular battery like the one your camera came with but if you can use other kinds of batteries, the best ones to consider are lithium batteries, nicad batteries, or NIMH batteries which are made particularly for devices like digital and DSLR cameras. These kinds of batteries are particularly known for their ability to resist the cold longer than usual batteries.
Consider buying these products so that you can have an improved winter photography experience. These items are reasonably priced and, of course, you can find other products that will suit your budget range as well. You can take care of your photography gear, improve the final shots you get to take, and stay comfortable as well when you bring along these winter accessories in your wildlife photography trips!