Somehow this year has flown by again and we are now in that period of Autumn/Winter where the days are shorter and it gets a bit cold out there. For photographers this poses several challenges, the first being to drag yourself out of bed and make the most of some glorious light that you get from the sun being low. The light in the morning, coupled with some frost or mist can create stunning landscapes, but it takes patience to get that outstanding shot.
For those of us (yes, I’m including myself in this) who like the warmth of a bed, then the late afternoon and evening light can produce similar opportunities and you don’t have to go far to find them. At this time of year the combination of warm light and autumnal colours in the trees can give the photographer a whole host of possibilities.
There are also the challenges of working in the cold. Fingers get cold and shivering doesn’t help get a sharp picture so there are a few recommendations I have for some handy accessories to help you.
Gloves are very important especially if, like me, your fingers don’t work well in the cold. Gloves can make using your camera very tricky though as camera manufacturers like to make buttons and dials on their cameras small and hard to operate at the best of times so adding a nice warm layer of fabric isn’t going to help. I have found that gloves designed for hunting also work very well for photographers. They have removable sections for your thumb and fingers so you can keep your hands warm while you are wandering and then remove the ends of the fingers when you need to operate your camera. Very handy. Hand warmers are also a nice comfort to carry with you for times when gloves don’t quite keep your fingers toasty enough.
Beanbags are a very handy accessory to have especially if you are using a long lens. Rather than hand holding your camera, resting it on a beanbag which can be placed on a fence, rock, log or your car window frame provides a great way of safely supporting your camera while helping to reduce camera shake and they also have the additional benefit of allowing you to keep your hands warmer as you aren’t having to hold a cold metal body or lens as much. The only downside to beanbags are the weight and they are not easy to carry around, but providing you don’t fill it with anything too heavy then it’s not too bad to carry around on short trips.
Waterproof clothing is handy especially when you in areas where the ground is damp or muddy. Keeping warm is important and the worst thing to have is cold, wet clothing. Waterproof trousers will allow you to crouch down, kneel or even lie on the floor without getting soaked. Getting the right perspective for your photo is key to getting that great shot so don’t restrict yourself by wearing the wrong clothing which won’t allow you to get down and dirty if you need to. Missing that perfect shot because your couldn’t kneel down is very frustrating, so be prepared with the right clothing and you’ll end up getting better shots, probably.
So being prepared to make taking pictures in the cold autumn and winter a more pleasant experience will go along way to help you get better shots. Getting up for the early morning light and mist or getting out in the early evening will give you light to make your shots that bit more impressive. So get off the sofa, stop watching rubbish television and get out there and take some photos. Even if it’s just in your garden or local park and if you get really lucky you might get to see something like this to make it all worthwhile….
…. Go on, do it now.