The two best options..If it's really cold, are A. Ice Armor gloves or mittens with chemical handwarmers..They have a pocket for the warmers on the back of you hands which heat the blood supply to your fingers. B. Gerbing Core Heat gloves with rechargeable Li ion batteries and heating elements all the way to your fingertips..The best I have found after trying everything else mentioned here.
Failing these options, try the small pair of chemical warmers and tuck them into your gloves on the back of your hands. Keep a pair going in your pockets for when you need a quick warmup and your hands need to be bare (Hot Hands seems to be the longest lasting brand)..I have used all the above solutions in -20 to-40 deg. F while using view cameras... Evan Clarke
I tape (paper first aid tape) the handwarmers under my wrists. That warms the blood as it flows to my hands. I also wear the thin liner gloves when using my camera to block windchill.
Kent in SD
I have an unusually low body temperature to begin with, (often under 35ºC as opposed to 37ºC... indoors) so I am particularly susceptible to cold weather. My hands get so cold that I can hardly manage to hold my equipment, and my workflow becomes a series of jerky, desperate motions. It is difficult to force myself to slow myself down into a normal working rhythm. Once my body core gets cold, my whole body starts to shudder, and there is nothing for me to do but pack up and head inside. I did a winter shoot with Marc A (filmsprocket) last year, and was frozen to the core before he even began to feel the cold.
I tend to leave my feature-laden cameras in the bag and use simpler equipment... An aperture, a shutter and a film crank are about the most I can handle in the cold and dark. (oh, ya... for some strange reason, I tend to to a lot of night photography in the winter) Like tripods, camera bodies also suck a lot of heat from your hands, and complex adjustments require dexterous fingers on the controls. I have tried a number of systems, and tend to stick to thin wool gloves for working and warm loose mittens for warming.
As much as I admire Michael Kenna's wonderful composition and printing, I am in awe of his ability to work bare-handed in deep snow with nary a flinch. I think if I did that I'd be looking through the snow for my fingers.
As others said earlier in this ancient thread, winter is a good time for studio work. I can play with a still-life table for days before I get bored and have to tear it down and start again. One benefit of this is that I can work at consistent light levels for a large series of shots and concentrate on composition and camera movements, etc. I can also leave my setup intact for days on end, tweaking my workflow in a way not possible in the cold. (not to mention that I don't have to keep my kit dry and search for lost cable releases in the snow)
Cheers, and stay warm.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
I've worn two sets of gloves in the winter. One thin and tight pair, similar to cotton darkroom gloves. (Mine were actually marching band gloves.) Then a pair of "real" lined gloves on top. The "real" gloves provide the real warmth, and at least enough dexterity to shoot the camera. To change film, the real gloves come off, and the thin gloves remain. They are not designed to provide any real warmth, but they are better than nothing while you are changing film.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I wrap my hands around a mug of steaming rum with a splash of cocoa in it.
To cut down on the wind chill I snipped an inch off the forefinger and thumb of a pair of fleece gloves. But if it's subzero outside I don't even go there. Or at least not more than a few feet from the car, with the engine running and the heater on full and a spare set of keys in my pocket.
Right now in Spain they're holding the Running of the Bulls,
followed by the Soiling of the Pants, and the Burying of the Idiots.
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I use Hothands in my gloves during my trip to Yosemite last week. They last about 8 hours. They're air activated and safe.
When I lived in Chicago I bought a pair of leather gloves that were just a wee bit small and stretched them. With the gloves snug around my fingers I could operate a camera. These days I use full finger mountain biking gloves that make it easy to use the controls without bare skin and the slight padding on the inside of the glove insulates against the cold metal in cameras and tripods. I cover them with another glove or mitten. That works fine too.
I have to admit, I would prefer using hand warmers but I never know when I am going to go out. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible too.