Keeping your hands warm while out shooting in cold weather is no easy task. A good pair of gloves will help to keep the hands warm, but those should also play well with the camera, since we will need constantly to change settings.
Based in Portugal, we do have some winter locations with snow and low temperatures, but most of these shootings can be done with a decent pair of wool gloves. As my photography grows also my needs for other extreme locations have emerged, so in 2014 i have found Iceland and more recently Lofoten and find myself in love with the Artic. The Artic it's now my playground for winter photography and no longer a simple pair of wool gloves is enough to face the Artic harsh conditions.
While shooting outdoor in below zero temperatures, keeping yourself warm including the hands it's essential to achieve good results. If you are not comfortable, your creativity will suffer dramatically, and you will be much less likely to get the shots you want.
The above image was done in Iceland, early march of 2018 and at the time i'm wearing the old Markhof gloves with a merino liner. Let me tell you that this trip to Iceland have result on painfull night shooting experiences and even with hand warmers i couldnt manage to have my fingertips warm enough. To perform this image i have spent about two hours standing on a cold icy river to get this composition and waiting the right moment to capture the Northern Lights over the infamous Skogafoss. Somehow i manage to hold on and do the shot and all of my fingers have survived...
On my last trip to Lofoten i have the chance to try the new Ipsoot from Vallerret Photography Gloves rated for deep winter.
Immediately after unpacking you be surprised to discover that the gloves comes into a nice black drawstring pouch with Vallerret logo. It feels like that they are well-made with quality materials and construction. The soft outer shell is composed of polypropylene and leather materials. The palm is a very soft suede that is partially covered with a tacky, kind of rubbery material on the palm and fingers to provide a better grip. The wrist is elasticized to provide a snug fit. The inner lining of the glove consists of Merino wool to provide extra warmth and comfort.
The main difference between ‘photography gloves’ and regular gloves is the flip finger caps on the forefinger and thumb which make it easy to operate the camera without removing the gloves.
On some other brands the finger caps doesnt fit nicely so let the wind and cold get in every time we got our fingers out. The Ipsoot solve that issue and the bigger finger cap covers nicely the finger and even whenever sticking a finger out keeps the hand warm. If you spent a lot of time with your finger tip out, you will start to feel it very cold, but almost immediatly after closing the finger cap you will be releaf and your fingers will be warm again in a short period of time.
Additionaly to the flip finger caps feature, the Ipsoot gloves cames with 2 magnets in the finger caps that hold the tips in place and out of the way while you’re manoeuvring the camera.
Another very nice feature is that the gloves gave a good grip very important for photographers. There will be some times that you will carry your tripod by hand or even your camera so a good grip is a nice thing to have it. Also most important it's when you have to change lenses on these environments. For sure that you will appreciate a nice pair of gloves with a great grip to prevent dropping some of those expensive lenses that you carry on.
They also features a small pocket, design to carry a extra SD card, that i often use to hold a small microfiber cleaning cloth.
Markhof or Ipsoot ? what to choose...
I hold an old pair of Markhof (now Markhof Pro 2) and a Ipsoot pair, and tried both in harsh conditions as the winter time in Iceland and Norway, so my advice goes for the Ipsoot model.
The Markhof are ideal for low temperatures but when it drops below zero you should go for the Ipsoot model mostly if you also face with some windchill.
The Ipsoot constrution it's a litle more bulky, but i haven’t found its extra bulk to be a problem when operating the camera.
While in Lofoten i face some very harsh conditions, with temperatures drop to -12ºC and windchill, sometimes mixed with snow falling. On this conditions the Ipsoot was absolutely a great tool to have it. I find my self to even on that conditions to not have the needs of the warmers that i have carry on my bag to this trip since the Ipsoot performes so well that it keeps my hands warmer all the time. I also have carry my old Markhof model, but did not used them, cause i realize that even during the day with temperartures around 3 or 5ºC the more bulky Ipsoot does the job quite nice and i dont have had any issues on manoeuvring the camera.
As a photographer and phototour leader would i recommend them?
Yes I would, as a tour lead i expect that all my workshop participants be very warm and confortable to stand a few hours outdoor reaching for that great photo.
Ipsoot may still not be the perfect glove, but they are just the best we currently have for a photographer to face very harsh winter conditions.
Some shooting while using Vallerret Photography Gloves
If you have any questions or queries then please feel free to drop me a line...