Seeing as I use this my page more as a blog with the aim of helping others get out and take photographs rather than just dumping photos on here and not saying much about them I thought I'd cover something a little different. Clothes!
I frequently get asked by friends if I'd meet up with them and show them places to take photographs all over the North East. At all sorts of times and weather conditions and often when I turn up they're stood there in shoes or them daft canvas shoes that people seem to run around in these days and some sort of fancy knitwear!
If you're taking landscapes then you're an outdoor walker first, and a photographer second, unless you're not planning on leaving your car! The last thing you want is your clothing to dictate you composition or worse still the amount of time you're prepared to wait for the light. Being cold is a total nightmare, you don't think properly because you're preoccupied with being cold and the pain that goes with it, which makes you cut corners or just pack up and go home.
So here's a run down of what I wear.
1. Berghaus Gore-Tex waterproof jacket. A good coat is essential and Berghaus ones have a big chest pocket for maps, but a filter wallet also fits in perfectly so they're always close at hand when you're working. I've got three Berghaus coats and I've had them all for over 6 years now, they just work and last if you look after them.
2. North Face Down Gillet. I only wear this when its really cold. I wear it under my coat and I look huge but the goose feathers keep your core extremely warm. I've worn this when taking just about ever star photograph, when the nights are clear and the temperature is well below 0 degree Celsius.
3. Berghaus polar snood and 4. Buff. Sometimes a beard just isn't enough! It's remarkable how much heat these things can prevent from escaping from your body, you can pull it up to cover your face when its really windy. I wear the Buff as a base and the Berghaus over the top.
5. Berghaus Extrem Soft Shell Windstopper. Anyone who knows me probably thinks I live in this thing. It is the single best item of clothing I have ever bought. Unbelievably versatile, it keeps you warm, cuts out wind but is vented through the pockets.
6. Helly Hansen long sleeve base layer. Great tops, they keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your body.
7. Helly Hansen knitted hat. It's a myth that you lose upto half your body heat from your head, but you should still have a hat when its cold!
8. Thin glove liners. As gloves go these aren't great, but by being thin I can still handle all the controls on my camera. They're also woven with metal fibres in them so I can use my phone with them on. I never take my gloves off when I'm out.
9. Thinsulate fingerless gloves. I wear these over the top of my thin gloves, so my hands are warm and only the finger tips are exposed, but still covered by the thin gloves.
10. Socks. Just a regular pair of socks, like the ones your aunty buys you at Christmas.
11. Thermal socks. Bought by the same aunt that bought number 10 funnily enough! These are really thick and I wear them when I have my wellies on. Cold feet is a massive distraction when taking night shots. Keep them warm!
12. Haglöfs Mountain Pants. These trousers are great, they have canvas ankles, knees and backside so you can kneel down or sit in the damp/mud. This is another case of where you don't want to not want to kneel down to stop you getting a good composition.
13. Berghaus Deluge Overtrousers. If you want to do seascapes then these are an invaluable addition. Wear them over the top of your wellies and they'll allow you to go into the sea upto the tops of your wellies and still be hit by waves and not get wet feet. They're safer than waders as if you get water in a pair of waders it can be very dangerous.
14. BUCKLER Buckbootz. I've owned wellies since I could walk and these are the best I have ever had. They are similar to the popular Muckboots but they have a safety sole on them so they much better on wet rocks. Honestly, if you want to do landscape photography I can't stress enough how important a good pair of wellies are! These also are neoprene lined and topped, so the neoprene traps the air inside the wellies keeping them warm. You can replicate this with standard wellies by putting your feet inside plastic bags then inside your wellies.
15. Walking boots. If you buy a good pair of boots and look after them they'll last you a life time. I bought these one morning in 2007 after I had a terrible time slipping and sliding around on the rocks at Dunstanburgh Castle. I got in a strop and packed up and drove straight to Alnwick and bought these. I paid £110 for them so that works out at only £15 per year and they'll only get cheaper. Don't buy cheap boots, you'll end up buying an expensive pair after all and it'll have cost you even more in the long run.
16. Heat packs. These are brilliant. They're like large tea bags. You expose them to the air and they produce an exothermic reaction giving out heat for around 8 hours. I stick them in my gloves, touching the backs of my hands so I can still work with my hands but they're kept warm. Against your wrists is another good place. They're single use but I got 60 for a tenner, so they're far from expensive and you don't need to use them all the time. The ideal situation to use them is when you're thinking "it's getting too cold, I'm going home". These heat packs are also good to elastic band round your lens if the temperature is below freezing; it keeps your lens warm and stops it from fogging up.
17. Underwear. Whether you're taking photos or not everyone should wear underwear, but you don't really need to see mine!
Well I hope that this has been of some use to some of you. Remember the 6 P's: Perfect Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance! Landscape photography can lead you to some very remote places and weather can change quickly, as many people have heard me joke in the past 'Safety doesn't take a holiday!!' but it's true. Be safe and be warm and then you'll be able to devote all you attention to getting that next photograph!
If you've found this useful then please share it with others that you feel would find it of use.