Accessorising the Photographer

(Reposted Feb 2015)

Sometimes in your quest for the perfect image you will find yourself climbing up or down things, wading into the sea or into a river, standing out for hours waiting for the sun to rise or set, for an oncoming weather front to pass, for a break in the clouds and so on.

Being prepared for many circumstances and situations is something I have learned the hardway in my photography journey, I have got wet and dirty and wetter and dirtier, shivered on cold frosty mornings, gone walking on a mountain top with only half the kit I needed and generally done everything wrong at every opportunity.

Here is a collection of useful clothing and other items I find handy to have in my camera kit or in my car – if you have any suggestions of things you find useful please let me know, always glad to hear other ideas!

1.  HATS

I have a sun hat for warm weather, even when the sun isn’t shining I wear it, because the sun is very harsh here in NZ and its easy to get burnt if you are out for a long time.  A sun hat also makes a good shade for the lens if you are getting lens flare as well 🙂

I have a polarfleece hat with a waterproof top for winter wear as well, it comes down and covers my ears and won’t blow off on a windy day.  Keeping your head warm in cold weather is important.

2.  GLOVES

If your hands are so cold you cannot feel the buttons on the camera then that is not an ideal situation!  It doesn’t often get really cold (like Canada cold) here in NZ but if you are sitting still on a cold day you can start to feel quite cold.  I have some Kathmandu windproof gloves with silk tips that are thin and flexible but still keep my hands warm for using the camera.  I have a thicker pair of polarfleece gloves to go over those when I am not shooting.

3.  JACKET

Its all about the layers with keeping warm.  I have a polarfleece zip up jacket for warmth, and once you are out walking its often all I need.  But for wet days I also have a rain jacket, sized 2XXL to give me lots of room in the front to tuck the camera with a lens on down the front to keep that dry!  Also good for snow days 🙂  The rain jacket also makes a good wind break as well, when sitting still.

I also have a new Kathmandu Exmoor jacket which is incredibly light, packs down to a tiny size, is super warm and comfy, has lots of play in the arms for when you shoot, has a built in hood and will withstand a light rain shower and it is my FAVOURITE jacket.  It is also extra long, a side benefit of it being a style for men.  Women shop in the guy side of the store for jackets, it might surprise you 🙂

4.  PANTS

I have struggled to find good waterproof overpants to fit my generous curves, so currently don’t own a pair, but I am continuously looking.

Paramo apparently make some nice options for womens clothing for outdoor use but I haven’t purchased any myself.

In hot weather I have a pair of knee length cotton cargo pants that are very comfortable to wear, breathable and have lots of pockets!

5. FOOTWEAR

Having good footwear is important.  I have a lovely light pair of walking shoes that have good tread, and teamed up with a pair of Thorlo running socks, are comfortable to wear in everything from hot to cold weather.  I wear these on most of my adventures.

Last winter I bought myself a pair of Muckboots – the camouflage pair which are very warm and comfortable to wear.  They live in the back of my car in case they are needed while out on adventures.

That covers the basics, most of this kit I carry in my car so it is always available (yes generally wherever I go my car goes too).

Here is a list of some other bits of kit I have found useful:

Headlamp – ideal for hands free lighting while in the dark (before dawn, after sunset, in a cave, lightpainting at night time).  Other than my Exmoor jacket, this is the most useful item I have acquired.

Camping cup and plate – sometimes you take some food but need something to eat off or drink out of, I bought a collapsible rubber cup and plate which live in my glovebox.  I need to get camping cutlery to match!

Cash – I keep some change and a $5 note in my camera bag and very handy for unexpected parking costs!

Muesli bar – always one tucked somewhere in my camera bag and are often snacked on because I forgot to eat breakfast

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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20 Responses to Accessorising the Photographer

  1. Ruth says:

    I carry a small compass in my kit-bag as well, so that I can jot down (for next time!) roughly where the sun might be at any particular time at a certain place.
    LOVE your Muckboots! They look very comfortable! Yes, I need a pair of them!

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks Ruth, I actually use The Photographers Ephemeris program (free!!!) and it will tell you where the sun will be at any time of the day for any place you and find on Google maps – have a look at it 🙂

      The Muckbooks are awesome, we did a volunteer day at Orana last year after the big snow, and my toes were warm and snug all day. Would suffer wearing them in summer tho!

  2. Those gloves are a good idea. I live in Alaska half the year and there is nothing worse than trying to shoot with freezing hands or big gloves. I need to get some of those.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I started with big gloves and I ended up unpicking the ends but then my finger tips got cold all the time 😦

  3. SkiDaddy says:

    How about tissues or cloths, to wipe or clean noses (or camera gear, but not at same time lol).

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I always have tissues in my pocket anyway so didnt think to list those. For the camera I have a microfibre cloth which is very useful for cleaning the lenses and gear. Well spotted!

  4. Lots of good advice here! I was out shooting beautiful snow pics this weekend and had to take my gloves off to shoot. But it was so cold that within moments my finger tips became numb. Still, the shots were worth it and I rushed back inside the car to warm myself up. I did get a little wet as I was trying to get some icycles from behind and the ice water was trickling down the cliff. Luckily, the large icycle that fell while I was photographing missed me!

    • lensaddiction says:

      I am glad you werent impaled by an icicle! It doesnt get that cold here fortunately but you might try checking out the gloves I listed (or something similar for where you are)

  5. Justin Avery says:

    I’m always looking for gear to help me in the winter. The summer is easier since I don’t have to worry about keeping warm. I’ve just recently picked up a pair of mittens that zip down on the sides so I can stick my finger(s) out when I need to. Mittens also keep my hands warmer than regular gloves due to poor blood circulation. I’m always on the lookout to how to keep my hands and feet warmer when out in the sub zero temps.

  6. Another good pair of gloves are fingerless gloves with a mitten type thingy that you pull over your fingers when you don’t need them, and then pull them back when you want to use them. I keep meaning to look for a pattern to make. They would be warm when made with Merino/possum mix. I also have a bearskin hat that I brought in Berlin after the wall came down. The Russian soldiers weren’t being paid so they sold their uniforms on the ground in front of the wall. It is the warmest hat I have ever possessed. I don’t look flash in it but at least I am warm.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I have seen those but the problem is you then have bare fingers and they can get cold quickly. No reason why you couldnt do both tho!

      Your hat sounds lovely and warm, I never care what I look like so long as I am properly warm, thats the important thing!

  7. Jen says:

    Great post! Thanks for the glove recommendation! I was battling the cold the other day and not sure WHAT to do — too thick to feel the buttons, too cold to go without. Will look into these!

    • lensaddiction says:

      Glad to help Jen, my friends who live in the deep north recommend two layers of gloves and heat warmer pad thingys to put between them for when its really cold. It doesnt get that cold here unless you go up to the mountains.

      • Jen says:

        Today we’re having the coldest days of the year. So cold they canceled school yesterday – didn’t want kids waiting for the bus in it! With the wind chill it’s dangerous.

        Perhaps keeping a pocket hand warmer in the glove’s palm would be a good idea — thank you for that. Might take some getting used to at first — but — better than nothing!

        Other day I was trying to take photos with the smart phone and it was so cold that my finger heat wouldln’t register on the screen. And it killed the phone battery!

        C’mon, spring!!! 😉

      • lensaddiction says:

        Yes I forgot about the cold effect on batteries, that’s the other good thing the hand warmers are for, keeping the battery warm too

      • Jen says:

        So frustrating to go out with a fresh battery — and have it dead within a half hour — max! o.O

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