December 6, 2018
Taking pictures in the wintertime (in the snow belt at least) is fraught with challenges– not the least of which is just trying to stay warm! Photography is, for the most part, an inherently non-aerobic activity. In other words, on a very cold day, it’s nearly impossible for me to work up any extra body heat because I’m mostly standing still. I’ve managed to keep most of my body semi-warm by using multiple layers—everywhere but on my hands. Even though I have on the warmest possible gloves (I think), my fingers still freeze up. To keep them from becoming totally dysfunctional, my hands take turns balling up into a fist inside my gloves so that my fingers can snuggle up to each other to provide some mutual warmth.
Another wintertime challenge/frustration (that I experienced multiple times today) is having the viewfinder fog up as I am attempting to take a picture. This happens either because I make the mistake of breathing and/or my eyeball creates a fog on the lens! I’ve tried doing away with the breathing part (at least temporarily), but I can’t do much about my warm eyeball –so I’ve missed some really good shots.
As for getting cold feet, I’ve pretty much solved that problem– and the problem of falling on ‘black ice’. Yesterday, I bought myself a pair of over-boots that have built-in ice cleats. The boots are really clunky and totally un-fashionable, but given the very high likelihood that I will eventually slip and fall on ice somewhere along the way, I really can’t afford to care how ugly they are!
That said, I spent a good couple of hours both yesterday and today standing and waiting (for the most part) in the cold, cold air waiting for birdies to fly in for a photo shoot. Luckily, they did–cedar waxwings, golden crowned kinglets, white throated sparrows, cardinals, American tree sparrows, and my very favorite—the Carolina wren!
Even though winter photography presents some unique and frustrating challenges, I enjoy it—especially if I get a few good shots!