Glove Levels 1, 2 and 3
“My fingers are killing me, they are so cooled!” I hear this A LOT from photographers even though they have gloves. And if I got paid a dime for every time I’ve taken photographers to a store to get “better” gloves, well I wouldn’t need to write a blog anymore. Seriously, folks with tens of thousands of dollars in camera gloves have the cheapest, single pair of gloves, I just don’t get it. Many get those hand warmer packets which sometimes work but are always an environmental issue with me. Now I post this piece on Gloves every year but I see I didn’t connect the dots for many and wanted to do so now with a very effective way the group came up with in Yellowstone in January. Glove Levels!
The gloves and mittens you see here, I don’t just own these, I take them ALL with me whenever I think it’s going to be cold. And when I go out shooting, I have the ALL with me to keep my hands warm according to temperatures. When the wind comes up, you put on Level 1, when there’s wind and cold, Level 2 and when it’s really, really cold, Level 3 and since I’m the only one who owns the mittens (besides my wife Sharon), I have a Level 4. And there are times when I will wear a Level 1 under my Level 4 so I guess we could call that a Level 5. Now if you only brought a Level 1 and I’m wearing a Level 5, who do you think is going to have cold fingers? Bottomline is pretty darn simple, you think you’re going to need gloves, have Level 1 through Level 3 with you IN THE FIELD so can enjoy the great shooting at hand. Here’s my recommendations for Level 1 through 3 gloved for this year.
Our sons got into xcross skiing and I found the Swix gloves and fell in love. From past experience, I bought 3 pairs of gloves for different temps. Though this year I had to replace none of my gloves, I went looking to answer the question, “What gloves this year?”. I’ve got to tell you, I was pretty disappointed in what I found. It’s like gloves and glove technology took a back seat in design. Gloves A (Level 1) (Swik Universal XC Ski Glove) & B (Level 2) (Swik Icon Universal Insulated Glove) are the style I wear the majority of the time. This first pair (A ) is when it’s just starting to get cold. This next pair Swik Icon Universal Insulated glove(B ) is what I wear probably the most of all of these. The Swix Icon Universal Insulated Glove (same glove as I recommended in years past) simply rock with lots of warmth and flexibility. They have a special material on the top to cut the wind. These are the gloves I always have in my jacket and take care of my hands the majority of my shooting. When going to extremes like when the air temp hovers around zero of lower, I turn to ice climber gloves (Level 3). These seem to change every other day and this season is no different. The pair I got years ago is now gone (but still serve me well), the closest is the Rab IceFall Gloves (Glove C ). They do look bulky but I found them to work really well. They keep the digits warm, permit basic operation and ability to push some buttons. You can push all the buttons on the camera body. You can even run a video camera with them. Unlike years past, I could point you to REI for all the gloves but not this year. What’s up with that?????
My favorite though is ones my family gave me years ago for ultimate in cold weather protection. These gloves mittens I love to shoot with! Actually, they are custom made trapper mittens that are strictly for cold weather use.
How cold? Well, at 12degrees my hands were almost uncomfortably warm, not perspiring but almost too much warmth. Working in places like Yellowstone or the Arctic in the winter, these mittens are so perfect. Yeah, I can squeeze off the shutter, no, can’t work any other feature on the body. No, can’t buy these at REI. They are a two layer mitten, a heavy wool removable liner, and outer Beaver fur. I just can’t wait to get out in the cold and put them to use! Thanks, family!
Many ask about “Photographer Gloves” you see nearly everywhere. The only pair I’ve tried I feel I can mention with all good conscious is the RUCPAC Glove. I’ve had many a photographer walk up to me with their “Photographer Gloves” on to say, “They suck!” Now this is a personal thing (which others have made the same comment), but “finger tipless” gloves just don’t work for me. If they do for you, great, but since they don’t for me, I have no recommendations. One other hand warmer I can highly recommend to you is
the DSLR Parka Cold and Rain Protector. This is my third year using it and it is so simple but sooo effective! It’s really simple, you place your camera/lens inside and place your hands inside and you shoot. You can shoot easily down to zero with no gloves easily with this. You can put a flash through the top slot and see everything through the viewfinder and LCD with the clear, back panel. It’s really simple to attach or remove and get your hands inside to your gear. The inside lining is soo soft as well, it just screams “come in!” It fits anybody, any lens as well as any size of hands. If you’re shooting with a Nikon AFS lens, be sure to have it set to M/A and not A/M. Otherwise, this is the perfect outdoor photographer accessory. I’ll have it the end of the month at Bosque for those cold mornings. Oh, BTW … it makes a great sound blimp too!
(lens not included)