Have you been feeling the heat this summer? Taking photos out in the sunshine can be a challenge. However, it can be made a lot easier with the right preparation. Here are five of my photography hot weather essentials.
As we enter the thick of the summer and temperatures rise, I've found myself, like many other photographers, shooting in a warmer climate than I am typically. The hot weather poses unique challenges: humidity, dust and glare-filled photos, to name but a few. These challenges should not stop you from getting out to photograph and can be solved with the proper preparation. However, fail to prepare and you may find yourself in an uncomfortable, hot, sweaty mess. Here are five camera essentials I'd recommend for shooting in hot climates so you can mitigate the heat and enjoy the summer weather with your camera.
1. Day Bag
I'm sure most of us have been in a situation where we are preparing our bags for the shoot, trying to decide what to bring. I have often fallen into the trap of carrying everything just in case. While this may be manageable in colder climates, despite a sore back a day later, when the temperature rises, this is a colossal error. There is little worse when out shooting than a heavy bag in hot conditions. You may tire more quickly and build up sweat uncomfortably fast in humid environments. I'd recommend bringing a secondary day bag away on your travels. I would advise that it be smaller and lighter than your main bag while still comfortable enough for an all-day shoot. I have started to use a lightweight Regatta backpack. I was given it by a family member who no longer required it, and it has done a stellar job so far while out on my current trip in Indonesia. This particular bag is not designed for cameras. Still, as I'm only putting a small amount of kit inside at once, this doesn't bother me. It is waterproof and features a waist and chest strap, improving comfort considerably. Suppose you're looking for a bag like this. In that case, I'd recommend looking in your local outdoors store or considering a smaller camera-specific bag if you'd appreciate the extra protection.
2. Peak Design Capture
The Peak Design Capture is my favorite product from Peak Design. If you are unfamiliar with it, the Capture comprises two main parts, the clip and the baseplate. The Clip is a small, aluminum two-part clip that features a locking mechanism. The Clip can be attached to either bag strap on your camera bag without excessive additional weight. The Base plate is a small mounting plate, which, once connected to your camera via the 3/4 inch screw, can be used to attach your camera to the clip. Peak Design claims the Capture can hold over 90 kg (200 lbs), which is more than enough for your daily carry. I'd recommend this clip or similar in hot climates because it will reduce the strain and friction on your neck from carrying your equipment using a strap. The camera clip will allow you to have your camera to hand without the need to hold it all the time. I've found that it also helps me photograph more, as my camera is more accessible in moments where I'd like to snap a quick photo instead of grabbing it from inside my bag. I've found it to be an invaluable addition to my kit.
3. Rocket Blower and Lens Cloths
I've combined a couple of items for this as I believe they go hand in hand, especially when it comes to hotter, dustier climates. I almost always carry a good lens cloth in my bag to clean my lens from the odd accidental fingerprint or light rain on the front element of my lenses. However, in hot weather, I find it extremely useful to have a lens cloth to wipe off any dust or pollen that may fall onto your equipment. Adding on to this, using a rocket blower ensures that any small dust particles stay away from your expensive gear. Using a rocket blower each time you switch lenses is also good practice to ensure your sensor stays dust-free. Two reasonably inexpensive items can often be found in bundles and may be crucial on your next adventure.
4. Spare Batteries
Packing extra batteries may seem obvious to some. However, we can easily forget to bring some. When shooting in hot climates, you may notice you go through more batteries than you may typically. With increased temperatures, your camera may have to work a little harder to perform in warm climates, increasing the batteries' consumption. It's never nice to see the low battery indicator flash up on your camera knowing you have no replacements, especially if you're in the middle of shooting! Avoid this by bringing spare batteries for your camera or drone so you can keep powered up throughout the heat.
Filters are another pair of items we can not forget in hot weather for several reasons. When shooting, the right combination of filters will help you get the best-looking images in warmer conditions. First, UV filters. UV filters are a divisive choice in the photographic community due to the argument that they may reduce image quality. Despite this, I would recommend picking one up specifically for dustier conditions. It can save you the stress of excessive dust getting on the front element, which may be more common in warmer climates. These are relatively inexpensive and may save you in an accident. Second, circular polarizers. They are filters often used in automotive photography but one that can provide excellent results for all types of photography in sunny conditions. These filters allow you to cut some unwanted reflections that may cause distractions in your images. They will also cause your pictures to appear more saturated and vibrant, which may be helpful when shooting in conditions with lots of glare. Both filters are widely available from several different brands.
Hot conditions can be challenging for photography, but with these five items, you'll have no issue taking that challenge head on. Get out and enjoy the sunshine! Don't forget to look after yourself, apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and stay well hydrated.