My buddy, wake shooter and the STANDARD wake quarterly magazine editor, Josh Letchworth hit me up with an email the other day asking about some insight to shooting in the snow. In the spirit of knowledge sharing I have attached the context of the email in this post.
Josh: ok, TG….need some help from the master.
I have a shoot coming up in montana to shoot some snow mobile / lifestyle stuff. I have done minimal shooting in the snow. just some fun snowboarding stuff on trips in the past.
If you could think of all things that have discovered over the years that have made what you do at least a bit more tolerable in those conditions, I would appreciate the lecture.
I am mainly thinking in the vein of CLOTHING, GLOVES, KEEPING EQUIPMENT DRY, BATTERIES DIEING, SETTING EQUIPMENT DOWN, WORKSPACE, GLARE, REALISTIC AMOUNT OF GEAR TO CARRY, GOOD BACKPACK…
I”m sure you have run into many of the pitfalls….
Just thought I would check with you and see if you had any advice to offer.
Thanks so much…I really appreciate anything you’ve got to offer….
hope all is well.
I read your email and get that WARM Florida contact high. Its freezing in Portland this week!
Speaking of freezing…going to Montana is COLD!!
Here are the quick tips on snow stuff:
I little windstopper fleece gloves to use that have rubber grips on the fingers. They are enough to keep you warm and not too bulky you can feel the camera. If your riding a snow machine most have hand warmers and the thinner gloves rule for that too. $20 to $60 for gloves.
Gore-Tex is key. The Burton AK stuff is awesome. I like to wear BLACK in case I am working with a film crew I can get in closer and squat down and look like a rock so I don’t clutter up the filmers shot with a loud yellow jacket. The Burton AK 2l is in the medium price range and function: $300to $500 for a decent jacket. I like lots of pockets to store stuff like a light meter, food, walkie talkie, a leatherman tool to fix bindings. Get pants to match and side cargo pockets are also a must. Gore-Tex breaths and allows the moisture to get out of the jacket and prevents you from freezing later when you are setting up a shot. Snowboard boots rule for snowmobiling. (on the east coast they call it SNOWMOBILE on the west coast the call it SNOWMACHINE)
KEEP IT DRY
When coming in from the cold it is critical to let the camera come up to temp. as it does, water will form on the outer chasse of the camera. As you know water kills a camera. I carry an extra body just in case. I have silica gel pack in my camera backpack. When it changes color ya put it in the oven to dry it out. I keep the camera in the camera backpack and let the heat from the room warm it up. After a few hours
Critical gear! I like the backpacks that load from the strap area. The reason being is when you get to a spot you take the backpack off and flop it in the snow, if you have a regular opening bag the part that goes up against your back gets all snowy and get your back wet and cold. Im not sure if that make sense. Se the links. The Dakine MISSION bag is REGULAR entry, the Dakine SEQUENCE bag is smaller but has the back entry system. Price is $100 to $200. Be careful overloading your backpack too. Your a burly guy and all but if you need to manage a lot of gear an assistant makes sense if the budget allows. Don’t blow your spine out on carrying 100 lbs of gear. The Burton camera back is dope too. A manageable weight is 40lbs to 50 lbs.
Alkaline slow down and hibernate in bitter cold conditions 20 degrees and below. The rechargeable NiCad do fine in cold weather. I am sure your run spares and keep them charged. Same deal in the cold. The Lithium batteries for pocket wizards. I carry a bulk amount of batteries, like 10 on any outing.
The harsh reality of SNOW is getting stuck on an overnight emergency mission. Hypothermia sets in pretty quick if not prepared. In my back pack and in my coat and cargo pockets I carry:
Toilet paper in a zip lock bag- obvious emergency here and a fire starter if needed. Pine needles and leaves to clean the poo after that.
The chemical hand warmers heat packs. http://www.nextag.com/handwarmer-heat-packs/search-html
Beef jerky enough to share
Spare goggles and lenses
Spare pair of windstopper fleece gloves
I also have an avalanche shovel on my backpack to dig out sleds or make a cave. http://www.rei.com/product/704823
Head lamp in case it gets dark too quick. http://www.rei.com/product/736937
I carry a bunch of media cards to shoot the RAW images and transfer at night. I am sure you do to. I have never work my laptop in the snow.
Stoke to see what ya come back with! Send some eye candy and stoke me out as my sorry ass sits here and responds to 100 emails!!