Fighting the Cold Hands Blues

It snowed yesterday. No big surprise, in January, in North Central Wisconsin. It’s almost a daily event. The unique part of yesterday’s work day was the outdoor portrait session I did with a couple to celebrate their engagement during the snowfall. This was the second time in my career that I have conducted a portrait session in the snow. Both were for engaged couples. Neither was spontaneous. In other words, the snow was a gift on the day of the appointment.

Jay and Amanda loved the snow and they had a good time breaking trails on our studio property from one background to another. Jay helped by carrying my light (on a metal stand) with his bare hands while I carried the tripod and camera.

While it wasn’t an extremely cold day, in comparison to some of the arctic days we have experienced lately, it’s still January! So it was cold and I had to handle a metal tripod outdoors. Regular winter gloves make adjusting  camera and tripod controls nearly impossible. One spends a lot of time taking them off, putting them into pockets, making an adjustment, putting them back on again, and then try to find the shutter release! All that fumbling adds up and the subject/s are getting colder and losing their enthusiasm for their photographer and their session!

A pair of cold weather bicycling gloves
A pair of cold weather bicycling gloves

I had an ah-ha moment that helped me solve the winter handling problem about 15 months ago as I was preparing to photograph hockey teams. One might think that an indoor hockey rink is a warm enough place to go without gloves, but it is not. It is a lot better than photographing outdoors but it is still cold. The answer I found was full-finger biking gloves.

My daughter bought me a pair for my birthday last year in anticipation of a late season bicycling event in which I was registered. Normal biking gloves are half-finger and thumb and provide extra grip and padding on the bars while the touch is unobstructed for the brakes and gear shifters. Cold weather gloves are full-finger and thumb. They fit the hands tightly and are thin enough to still provide the tactile response that a rider/photographer needs to make adjustments quickly. And, they provide enough protection or warmth to keep the fingers from going numb. That is a good thing when handling expensive professional equipment.

So, what is the bottom line? If you want to extend your riding season and lengthen the amount of time that you can photograph out of doors in the cold, one of the items that you want to buy is a pair of full-finger bicycle gloves (or put them on your birthday wish list – Thanks, Niki!). You will be able to work faster, keep your subjects happier, and keep your own enthusiasm high for the job at hand.

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