Dressing Warm for Winter Photography

Posted on Sunday, 27th January 2019 9:50 AM EST

Friend and family who know me well, they know that I detest the long dark cold months of winters of the Mid-Atlantic states. I even compiled a list of Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate the Winter.

I awake and dress in the dark. Outside my bedroom windows, I can hear the cold winds blowing. When I leave for the office, the sun makes a glow through the grey cloud cover. Sometimes it rains. The rain is cold. When I leave for home, the sky is still behind the clouds but it’s lower in the sky. I arrive home just before dark. It’s still cold outside.

During these months, I am loath to go outside with my camera. Even on the weekends, or a sunny day like today, I don’t want to leave the warmth of my home to venture outside for a photo. When I do go out for some winter photography, my trips are short. If I push my self I end up with frost-bitten fingers and toes and stiff muscles.

On a recent photo walk in Manhattan, on an overcast day with temperatures below freezing, I noticed that one member of our group seemed less bothered by the cold. I talked to him about what he was wearing and I learned about base layers and insulating layers and outer shells. He told me about the brands Patagonia and Kühl. He told me to visit the nearest REI store. I did.

I learned even more about dressing for the wintry outdoors and tried on a few things. Then I placed my order.

According to my research, the best way to protect myself from the winter cold is to wear three separate layers—a base layer worn against the skin, a middle layer, and an outer layer. Each has a unique purpose, and if worn properly, all layers work together to wick sweat away from the body, hold in heat, and keep out wind and rain.

Baselayer

Photography is not an outdoor sport. With landscape, cityscape and wildlife photography, I spend most of my time in one spot. I may walk around for a bit scouting the area, but once I decide on my subject I move very little while setting up the tripod, composing the image, changing camera settings, and making the shoot. This can take several minutes or more depending on what I am doing. I can’t rely on the movement of my body to generate heat. I need a base layer that will keep me warm even while standing still.

I purchased the Patagonia Men's Capilene® Midweight Zip-Neck is a "warm, breathable polyester baselayer with minimal bulk.".

Patagonia Men's Capilene® Midweight Zip-Neck Baselayer. Image &© Patagonia. Used for illustration only.

Insulating layer

An insulating layer helps to retain the heat that’s radiated by my body. The more efficiently this layer traps that heat, the warmer I’ll be.

I decided on a down jacket for this layer. Down is compressible for easy packing while offering more warmth for its weight than any other insulating material. Because down is always inside a shell material, down jackets also offer some water and wind resistance. However, I must be careful not to get it soaking wet. The efficiency of down is measured in fill power—from 450 to 900.

I purchased the Patagonia Men's Down Sweater Jacket is "a classic lightweight and windproof with a 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell and 800-fill-power" goose down. This insulating jacket will be worn under a water-resistant shell.

Patagonia Men's Down Sweater Jacket. Image &© Patagonia. Used for illustration only.

Outer shell

And outer layer (or shell layer) protects the body from wind, rain and snow. In case the weather changes while I am out roaming, I wanted to allow at least some perspiration to escape treated while allowing water to bead up and roll off the fabric.

The outer shell is important in stormy weather because if wind and water penetrate to the inner layers, I would get seriously chilled. Brr.

I purchased the Patagonia Men's Stretch Rainshadow Jacket with "an H2No® Performance Standard shell offers lightweight, packable, streamlined protection for a full range of motion in a full range of conditions."

Patagonia Men's Stretch Rainshadow Jacket. Image &© Patagonia. Used for illustration only.

2 thoughts on “Dressing Warm for Winter Photography”

  1. Growth by jansenphoto (Tuesday Photo Challenge)

    Gathers not on a rolling stone…

    This morning I convinced Bhavna to take a walk with me along the Raritan and Canal Park Trail. The sun was out, the air was … well cold, but I wanted to find some images for Frank’s challenge keyword, “Growth“.We slid on a few layers of clothing and drove over to the park entrance just off Mapleton Road on the border with Princeton and Plainsboro. I fully expected to find nothing but leafless trees and my first image was just what I expected.
    Bridge between the Millstone, D&R Canal and Carnegie Lake — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (30.2 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsWe walked along the inner trail closest to Carnegie Lake and talked about our youngest going off to college this fall, our future travel plans, life etc., while I kept an eye out for “growth”. We passed a young Asian couple going the opposite way. The man wore a Michigan beanie hat and we spoke briefly. It was a gift from his brother in Michigan. I mentioned that I completed my master’s degrees at the University of Michigan.
    The man with the Michigan hat — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/5.6, ISO1600), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsBhavna and I walked past Harrison Street to Washington Street then turned around for the walk back.
    Washington Road, Princeton, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (30.2 mm, f/5.6, ISO1600), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsWe found the young couple still wandering near the water’s edge. I heard what I thought was a bird so I approached them where they were standing. I was hoping I might get a photo of the bird.
    Making fozen lake sounds with rocks — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (28.3 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsThey were tossing rocks onto the frozen water of the lake. The rocks bounced around making this very cool noise that sounded like a laser or chirping bird. The sound seemed to depend on the size of the stone and where he threw the rocks.Underneath the ice, the water of the lake isn’t solid. The ice vibrates up and down, similar to a drumhead or cymbal vibrating after being struck. The lake amplifies the sound which we heard as chirping.I found this video on YouTube showing what it sounds like. It’s so cool!
    Extant Lifeform — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (37.6 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsBhavna saw some holly shrubs so we stopped so I could take some photos. We continued on our way. That young couple must have walked past us because they were in front of us taking some of something in a thicket of fallen tree branches. They called out to me excitedly. They had discovered some interesting mushrooms growing on the fallen branches.
    Fan Blades — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsI had finally found the growth of photography I was seeking!The mushrooms were growing in clusters and stuck out from the sides of the dead tree branches like little shelves. According to my research, these shelf mushrooms are a parasitic wood tree rotting group. However, the infected trees provide nesting sites for birds and squirrels. These rots attack the top of a tree, the heartwood inside, and the base of the stem. The tree stem often breaks as a result even though the tree is still alive. The mycelium, body of the fungus, decomposes chemicals in the tree cells.
    Steps — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsAfter photographing our find we drove to the REI store to get some hiking shoes for me and Bhavna. In the past we have “hibernated” for the winter, staying inside to avoid the cold. I wanted to find ways past that to enjoy the outdoors even in winter. That means dressing in layers so we could take hikes in the Sourlands Mountains or along the D&R Canal towpath. Last month, I bought some clothing for this purpose.I hope that being outside during winter, pushing past my discomfort and loathing of the lifeless grey of the skies and the tree line, will help me grow my photography skills.
    Dead Growth — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    Other signs of growth on the lake — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (24.9 mm, f/5.6, ISO1600), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    Jolly Holly — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (19.4 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    Nature Trail — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (31.1 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. Williams
    Millstone River — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/5.6, ISO1600), Copyright 2019-02-10 Khürt L. WilliamsThe Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.
    Share:

    Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
    Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

    Also on:
    Twitter icon
    Twitter

    Like this:

    Like Loading...


    Related

  2. When Frank posts his challenge for the week, I don’t usually respond until the weekend. Most of the week, I am busy with work, commuting in the dark to a location filled with ugly office buildings. Photography is only possible on weeknights.The last few weekends, and during the week as well, the weather has often been cold, wet, and deeply overcast. This is why I have mostly processed many recent images in monochrome. When all around me feels blah and grey, I try to capture that feeling with monochrome. But this weekend we had a change in the weather.Osiris and Isis cried parted the skies and called out from the Earth to Ra, the king of the gods. Ra, the god of the sun, the bringer of light, soared across the sky and made his presence known. The temperatures soared to -2ºC with hints of blue all around. I took the opportunity and drove forty-five minutes to Clinton, New Jersey.
    Hunterdon Art Museum as seen from the banks of the Raritan River near the Red Mill Museum Village, Clinton, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsMy plan was to spend about 45 minutes shooting the Hunterdon Art Museum from the Red Mill Museum Village located on the west bank of the South Branch of the Raritan River. I recently bought some layered cloting to help me withstand the wintry weather better than I have in the past. Before the change in weather, I had originally thought that the water near the two museums would be partially frozen over and that I would get some images capturing how cold it’s been. But Ra’s power was too great, and although I could see some ice on the lower branches of some of the trees, by the time I arrived — around 11:30 AM — the water was mostly free-flowing.But the skies were clear and blue and as is often true with outdoor photography, I made do with what was available. I walked across the Main Street Bridge, stopping a few times to capture images of the Red Mill Museum Village and the Hunterdon County Art Museum. The art museum is on the opposite bank of this section of the Raritan River.

    The Hunterdon Art Museum is in the heart of the quaint nineteenth-century town of Clinton. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon of shopping in unique boutique shops, dine in restaurants that feature everything from light lunch to elegant dinners, and visit the Red Mill Museum Village where you can learn about the industrial heritage of the region, all within a stone’s throw of the Art Museum.

    Hunterdon County Art Museum, Clinton Township, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Red Mill Museum — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsI tried to focus on shooting images of the Hunterdon County Art Museum and the Main Street Bridge. I had already captured images of the [Red Mill Museum Village] on my last visit a few years ago. But, the Red Mill Museum was just too colourful to resist capturing a few images.I walked across the main street bridge. As I approached the far eastern side of the bridge I notice a group had gathered on the steps that lead down the bank of the river. Some of the ducks were gathered waiting or hoping to be fed. I had not noticed the ducks until then. I waited for the group to disperse so that I could walk down to photograph the ducks. In the meantime, I photographed the Red Mill Museum on the other bank and the Main Street Bridge.
    Main Street Bridge, Clinton, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (23.4 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Main Street Bridge, Clinton, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsBuilt before 1880 by William and Charles Cowin, the Main Street Bridge is among a small group of metal truss bridges in the USA, that use cast and wrought iron. The bridge was designed by Francis C. Lowthorp. It can be challenging shooting long exposure images from the Main Street Bridge. The bridge vibrates whenever a vehicle rumbles across the bridge, creating slight movements that cause ghosting and blurring in long exposure images. I kept a close eye for any approaching traffic and captured my images in between arrivals of vehicles.
    Main Street Bridge, Clinton, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Red Mill Museum and Main Street Bridge, Clinton Township, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsWhen the group moved away so did the ducks. I walked down and waited for them to return but they did not. I settled for capturing some images of the Main Street Bridge. At this point I was hungry so I walked down Main Street to the Ye Olde Sub Base, a sandwich restaurant which has 4.5 stars on Yelp. I ordered the Italian sub with ham, prosciuttini, capicola, salami, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and vinegar and olive oil. Whenever I eat a sub sandwich, regardless of where I visit, this is how I like it. I walked back to the car and sat to eat.
    Main Street, Clinton Township, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Ye Olde Sub Base — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (36.5 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsBut the thought of the ducks was calling to me. I grabbed my camera, and tripod and walked back toward the art museum. I could hear the ducks. It seems the ducks only gathered when they see a group of people. As I approached the end of the bridge I called out to the group of people who had gathered. I explained to them what I thought was going on and asked them if they would mind waiting for me to grab a few photos. They agreed.I got some close of photos of the ducks. I carefully stepped out onto the rock, many of which were covered in ice, to grab some close up of the ducks. They must be used to people because I got quite close.
    Ducks swimming in the ice cold water. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Duck close up. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams
    Frozen water on the banks of Raritan River, Clinton Township, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (31.1 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. WilliamsI captured some images of the frozen rocks and shrubs in the water. I hope this gives an idea of how cold it was.Now that I had captured the photos I wanted, I walked back to my car, to sit and eat my sandwich. I thought about my plans for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to stop in at Conclave Brewing to try two of their new IPA. I realised what time it was and that I needed to leave.I shot all of my images bracket (5 exposures) so I could get a set of images I could choose from for post-processing. However, when I started editing the images in Lightroom, I tried to create a natural HDR image from one set. I applied the Classic Chrome Fujifilm Film Simulation preset to each image before processing as HDR. I like the result. With the exception of the photos of the ducks, I processed the remainder of the images as HDR.*Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d883.9215226726332!2d-74.91206160997706!3d40.63632257875016!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x0%3A0xae27ed7a16bde5f2!2sHunterdon+Art+Museum!5e1!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1548596399139&w=960&h=720%5D
    Share:

    Twitter
    Facebook

    Also on:
    Flickr icon
    Flickr

    Twitter icon
    Twitter

    Instagram icon
    Instagram

    Like this:

    Like Loading...


    Related

Got some feedback? Please leave a comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.