Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gloves for Cold Night Photography Work

Even in late May it can get quite cold when you're at a high elevation on a clear night, with a full moon ~ © Royce Bair

It's surprising how cold and numb your fingers can get while setting up your camera and tripod on evening photography sessions—especially on unseasonably cool nights. Even though it was late May, the high elevation (8700 feet) of this mountain lake and clear skies caused the temperature to drop to 45º F, and I was glad I had on a pair of gloves liners.

Silk glove liners
Glove liners are thin gloves that can be worn inside a regular pair of gloves. They offer extra warmth inside the heavier gloves, but their main function for photographers is to provide a few minutes of protection against the cold while your hands are outside of the heavier gloves. They are thin and flexible, so they usually offer enough dexterity to allow camera operations. For not-so-cold nights, they can even be used as stand alone gloves. I have purchased most of my glove liners through adventure/extreme sports stores, i.e. REI and Kirkham's Outdoor Products (in Salt Lake City, Utah).

Thermasilk liner gloves are the thinnest and lightest weight of the glove liners. Thermasilk is a brand of 100% real silk, one of nature's most perfect insulators. I have used non-branded silk glove liners in my photography work for over 30 years. They don't grip as well as some of the more modern materials but the are very thin, flexible, and offer an amazing amount of warmth for their light weight. (Thermasilk is also available on Amazon.)

Gordini Lavawool
Thermawool liner gloves are a little thicker, heavier, and warmer than silk. Thermawool is a brand of soft, itch-free natural Merino wool that insulates and keeps warm even when wet. (Thermawool is also available on Amazon.)

Gordini Lavawool Stretch Gripper II Glove Liners are one of my favorites. The shell is 93% polyester and 7% wool.  They are not quite as warm as the Thermawool, but they fit and grip better. Although normally wear a large glove size, but their medium fits perfectly and still offers great flexibility. They are my favorite stand-alone glove for short time periods. (Lavawool is also available on Amazon: Small or Medium to X-Large.)

Head Digital Sport Running Gloves w/Sensatec are the thickest of the liner gloves, because they are not a true glove liner. They are really designed to be worn alone, but are thin enough that they can be warn in heavier gloves or mittens as a liner. Their design produces a snug, but stretchy fit. They have a wind-resistant soft shell outer with fleece lining (53% Polyester, 41% Nylon and 6% Spandex). I particularly like their silicone grip dots on the palm and fingers. Sensatec® on the thumb and forefinger make them touch screen compatible, although I had limited success with this feature. The best pricing is at Costco (about $13). However, because this is a seasonal product, you'll often have to purchase it elsewhere during the off-seasons.

On this very cold (below zero) January night, glover liners were a MUST. As soon as camera adjustments were made, I quickly returned my hands back into the larger gloves!
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  1. If you want something really warm, tactile, and waterproof... look no further!