This week, I'm posting a series of tips for the Landscape (or Outdoor) photographer that have nothing to do with Camera Gear. That doesn't mean it won't leave you with a bit of a shopping list though. Today's super tip is all about Wearing the Proper Clothing
Ugh. Okay Mom.
I’m guilty of ignoring this tip as evidenced by my often frostbitten fingers and soggy feet - but do as I say, not as I do. Going to the lake? Bring rubber boots. Is it snowing? A pair of good gloves will go a long way. Does the weatherman think it’s going to rain? Sometimes he's actually right you know, so remember to pack a raincoat for yourself, not just the camera. Check the forecast and throw some extra warm, dry clothes in the truck whether you think you’ll need them or not.
The morning I took this photo was a seemingly balmy Canadian spring morning. Sure, 3 degrees felt nice and warm when I left the house wearing a pair of sneakers, but as my feet broke through the thin layer of ice coating the marsh I changed my tune. Hobbling back to the truck on frozen feet with tears streaming down my face made me realize something: I needed to buy some rubber boots. I spent years fighting my parents on the topic of rubber boots, mostly because there's absolutely no way to look good in them, but these days I'm a proud owner of an $11 pair of ugly rubber boots that I picked up at Canadian Tire because a comfortable photographer is a productive photographer. Do I look good in them? Well, if you think an ultra prepared, slightly clumsy walking photographer with warm dry feet is sexy, then yes, I look pretty damn fine.
The problem I find however, especially in the winter, is that when I get into a composition, like...really into a composition, I find myself shedding all the important clothes I've put on. Not like, "Ooooh man, this photo composition is making me kinda hot!" shedding clothes but more in the realm of "These stupid mittens are slowing me down!" or "I can't bend my knees with these 80 pairs of snow pants and the foreground interest is way down by my feet!" and then sooner or later my warm clothes are strewn about the snow, I'm crying because I got frost bite again and all I have to show for my stupidity is a really rad photo. I am learning though, and I'm here to tell you (I'm using my motivational infomercial voice right now, in case you didn't catch on) there are clothing products out there that allow both function and comfort. Seek them out, try them on in the store and do some squats in the dressing room, don't forget to wave at the hidden dressing room video camera and wear those functional and comfortable clothes in the field. You'll be a lot more productive, and you won't have to worry about the sound of your mother's voice swimming in your head repeating "Are you really leaving the house like that?"