Daily Archives: September 6, 2012
I got a great email that made me laugh and then made me think! Eric Harmon who is a student, friend, and fellow brother in Christ, from South Florida, wrote the following after he got the list of recommended cloths for the November trip, “Oh, my! Jackets? Hats? Gloves? Long sleeve shirts? Heavy socks? What are those things? I don’t even own a pair of long pants, let alone heavy clothing! Looks like I’ll be doing some shopping between now and then, though some of that may be tough to find here in South Florida, especially in the middle of summer!” I laughed long and hard and then realized that people that are just getting into the great outdoors photography scene may actually not know what they will need. Let me go through the list of what I think is the essential check list of outdoor gear for the kind of trips we do where temps vary from zero degrees to 115 degrees! I’m not saying you “must” buy these exact items but I have them all and I know they work well in the field!
This is my ESSENTIAL Gear list for Serious Outdoor shooters:
1. A Good Parka Shell made with Gore-tex or some breathable layer. The shell is to cut wind and rain, snow or sleet, if it’s hailing get under something!!! I own shells from Marmot and North Face, other good brands are Mountain Hardware and L.L. Bean. Prices range on the low end from around $150 to high end up to $500. You can get a very good one for around $150. I once asked the president of Marmot, at lunch, (they were a sponsor of the GAPW), why their parkas were so expensive, he said, “If someone rips a seam while climbing Mount Everest, someone is going to die!” Pretty good answer….. * No, we don’t do stuff that extreme!
2. Some Polar Fleece jackets and pull overs, I own 12 (o.k.) I’ve been fleeced!!! Sorry for the pun, Polar Fleece comes in light, Medium and heavy weight, I own several of each but honestly the feather, light weight and mid weight are the most useful. My favorites are light weight L.L. Bean jacket and a mid weight North Face Denali jacket. I have a feather weight Marmot that is great as a sweater. $50. to $200.
3. Smartwool socks. These mid weight hiking socks are cushion just enough to really help your feet when your trekking around all day! $17. a pair
4. Polar Fleece – Windstopper Gloves. You can’t shoot if your fingers are frozen, I have three pair of these, beccause everytime a pack for a trip I can’t fine the last pair and I replace them! I finally found all three pair, gave one pair to my partner Jim Begley and I still a have a back up pair. At Bryce Canon, before sunrise, you’d pay $100. for a pair, they go for $30.
5. Merrell Moab Ventilator Hiking shoes. If your feet hurt, you will be miserable. These mid weight hiking shoes are so good I own 5 pair. I keep the nice ones for meetings and travel, and the older ones for field use, the worst ones for yard work. I see them on the feet of almost half the field photographers I know, must mean something! Under $100. a pair.
6. I always travel with a light weight Marmot, goose down sleeping bag. Cozy in a cold hotel room or when you camp in the vehicle, and a great emergency bag for a unexpected car breakdown in cold weather.
7. Lightweight Nylon pants. Are great for hot weather, and cut the wind, can also be washed and drip dried in your hotel room, and are much tougher than cotton pants. Around $65. for the regular, $85. for the ones that let you unzip the legs making them into shorts. Google REI
8. Soft Cotton T-shirts. I won’t even say how many t-shirts I own, needless to say, I buy one from every location, every restaurant I love, and any place interesting I travel to, or that appeals to me! Lets just say, a closet full!!! Remember nature and travel photography are not fashion shows and great old, soft t-shirts are perfect and let you show off your personality! I love the Life is Good brand. They are super soft, and I love to spread the message, because, life “is” good!!!! $10. to $30.
9. Smartwool shorty socks. Same great sock as above just short for warm weather and running shoes. Do I run, you bet,to every great cheeseburger I can find!!!!
10. A fire jumpers belt. These heavey duty nylon web bets with staniless steel buckles are great fro outdoors and backup as a rescue rope. REI $30.
11. A fur lined Mad Bomber hat! This is the silliest looking, but WARMEST hat you can wear for serious cold weather! I call mine my Alaska Bob hat! Silly or not, if you have to deal with freezing cold weather, this hat is worth every penny of the $50. Lots of color choices of the shell and fur!! Google Mad Bomber Hats
12. A ventilated Ex Officio Shirt. These shirts and the same type shirt form North Face are fantastic for hot or cold weather and the side zips are great to get a little breeze through the shirt!
Now I know we are talking about a substantial investment to get geared up for working outdoors, but trust me being cool or warm, and well protected from the elements is worth it’s weight in gold. If you aren’t freezing or burning up, or soaked to the bone, you can concentrate on making those killer shots that took you outdoors to begin with!!!
The value leaders in outdoor clothing are REI, L.L. Bean, and Columbia Sporting goods. You’ll pay less and get more from all of these retailers.
Be prepared, know Him!
*** Just in case you work in very cold climates, a Goose Down jacket can be magic!!!