Thursday, November 7, 2013

Photo Shoot? I Don't Have a Thing to Wear!

It's early, and the sun will be creeping over the horizon soon. The mid-fall chill creates a smokey cast on Quarton Lake, in Birmingham, Michigan.  Wet leaves of speckled yellow, burnt orange, red and umber will present a kaleidoscope for the nature photographer.

A perfect day for kneeling in soggy trails, walking in shallow streams, while balancing a tripod along with camera equipment.

What to wear and not feel like I look like a Jane Hathaway wanna-be?  No offense Ms. Jane, I loved your character on the Beverly Hillbillies but most of us are not that retro.

Looking to the Golden Sky
Nikon 600, 14-24mm, f/7.1, ISO 80, 1/320 sec
As I was passing through the airport recently, the duty free shop had a commercial of a lovely young lady wearing wedge high heels, flowing slacks, and beautifully dressed to the nines. Springing out of the cab with her camera in Paris, she makes a quick turn, followed by an immediate shutter snap.  A twirl, then snap. A delightful distraction into another world.

There was no camera bag, shoulder strap, or heaven forbid a case for at least another lens.
In real life, nature photography brings back your childhood of navigating the elements while not worrying about your play clothes.

Magical Moment of Blue and Gold on Quarton Lake,  Birmingham, Michigan
Nikon 600, 14-24mm, f/16, ISO 250, 1/50 sec
Outdoor clothing for women nature photographers can be be a bit colorless and just plain boring.  What options are out there particularly as we head in to the colder seasons?  Definitely not jeans that get wet and stay that way.

Let's start with our feet.  If they are cold, wet, our time in the field may be cut short. A hardy choice, Hunter Boots deliver dry feet whether in a shallow stream or at the water's edge on the beach.

Silver Sunset Stroll on the Beach
Nikon 7100, f/9, Sigma 150-500, ISO 250, 1/200 sec
Completely rubber, no seams and the ability to line them with a comfy fleece boot sock or a shearling insole this boot provides year round versatility. They come in a rainbow of colors from the basic neutrals to the vibrant brights.  Hose them down and toss them over jeans when you want to hit your local food haunt.

Since we are bending, hiking and kneeling in earthy and wet conditions, running pants can handle wear and tear, they wick moisture well and are comfortable.  Brooks' Thermal Pant provides a work-horse black bottom that's warm on chilly days and not bulky. I've Googled gardening pants online and some may have potential, particularly with the ability to insert a knee pad, waterproof knees and seat.  However, a lot of these had the Ms. Jane appearance at first glance.

For tops, jackets, sweaters the spectrum is broad across many local and online retailers.  Athleta specializes in attractive, well-constructed women's outdoor and athletic wear. While they market to specific sports such as yoga, running, hiking, their designs are functionally fashionable. They use fabrics and designs that lend well to outdoor photography.

Lastly, our head.  We lose a significant amount of body heat through our head for the simple fact that the rest of our body is covered, our head is not.  For years, I resisted the use of hats.  A personal favorite in terms of durability, looks and warmth is Smartwool.  They also have a clothing line and their running, hiking and knee-high socks are the best I've come across.

The weekend and chilly conditions are on the way, what will you be wearing?  HAPPY SHOOTING!