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Alister Champman TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Alister Chapman
Issue 96 - December 2014

First and foremost you need weather protection. Both for you and your equipment. If you are cold and uncomfortable you are not going to be happy and your work may suffer.
So item number 1 on my list is a good quality thermal base layer. This should be made of a high quality wicking fabric that draws moisture away from your skin helping to keep you dry and as a result warm. I use sports type compression tops and bottoms that can be purchased in most sports or outdoor pursuits stores. Get a good base layer and keeping warm is much easier.
Number 2 on my list is good shoes or boots. I hate having cold feet so good footwear is important. For very cold weather such as my trips up to Arctic Norway I use boots with a thick, removable thermal lining such as Sorel Blizzards or Baffin boots. For the UK and less extreme climates I use good quality hiking boots. For cold weather always buy boots a bit on the large side. If your boots or shoes are too tight it will reduce the circulation in your feet leading to cold feet. Get boots large enough to allow you to wear some very thick winter socks over a very thin pair of socks and take spares socks to change into if your feet get sweaty or wet.
Number 3 is the right gloves. If your hands are cold, operating the camera is difficult. If you have thick gloves, operating the camera is difficult, so you may be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. In very cold weather I wear military surplus mittens. These are thick and warm and if you get a large size you can wear a thin pair of fleece gloves inside the mittens. This allows you to quickly pull the mittens off (mittens are quicker to remove and replace than regular gloves) leaving the thin fleece gloves on to operate the camera. For more moderate climates I often use fingerless gloves that have a mitten type flap that can be pulled over your fingers to keep them warm.
The cheapest items on my list comes in at number 4 and is one of the most versatile. Bin bags. I always have a few bin bags in my camera kit. If you get caught out in the rain a bin bag can be used as a makeshift rain cover for your equipment. Cut a hole for your head and arms and it can be used as a rain cape. If you are filming outside in sub zero conditions, when you take the cold camera inside into the warm it will get covered in condensation and moisture. By placing the camera in a bin bag before you take it inside and allowing it to warm up inside the bag you will reduce or eliminate the condensation build up helping prolong the life of your expensive camera kit.
In at number 5 is a Chamois leather lens cloth. Have you ever tried to wipe rain drops from a lens with a micro-fiber lens cloth? They just smear the water all over the place. Tissues work for a couple of wipes before disintegrating in a mushy mess. A lens cloth made from a well washed Chamois Leather will absorb moisture leaving a wet lens dry. It wont damage or scratch the lens and will last many years. Its also tough enough to wipe ice off a frozen lens in arctic conditions. If the cloth gets dirty you can wash it in warm water with a few drops of dish soap.
Number 6 may be obvious - a camera rain cover. Your camera is likely to be worth thousands of pounds so treat it to a good quality rain cover. The cover should protect the camera, lens and batteries. It should be 100% waterproof. For a full size shoulder cameras with large buttons and switches a tight fitting cover can work very well. For smaller cameras with fiddly buttons a baggy cover that allows you to get your hand inside to press the tiny buttons is often a better bet.

Tags: iss096 | alister chapman | winter | shooting | camera | cold | conditions | Alister Champman
Contributing Author Alister Champman

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