Winter Wonderland Photography

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

My experiences photographing in a blizzard and in extreme cold temperatures

- Tips, tricks and gear for a successful winter photography adventure -

Snow covered pine trees during the Baltic dusk with Orion constellation visible in the starry sky

Landscape photography has taught me to realize and appreciate the beauty of nature in every season and any weather condition. Living in Latvia has its perks, especially in the winter time, as the real “winter wonderland” phenomenon still exists in the Baltic region. After a massive snowfall, the next day started with clear skies, so together with a few friends we decided to have a look on the nearby swamp region. As we arrived the site, we’ve found ourselves in a massive blizzard, but that didn’t affect our good mood so we entered the path to pursue some great moments.

Proper clothing is essential

First and probably the most important thing is that we feel comfortable on the field. This needs a proper preparation including analyzing the weather forecasts (temperatures, precipitation) and dressing up accordingly. If we plan on trekking in deep snow, we definitely shall wear water resistant hiking boots, which are capable of keeping our feet reasonably warm. It is essential to keep our limbs warm and dry during our activity in order to keep an acceptable level of comfort which makes us stay longer out.

Handling the camera gear requires warm hands and fingers. It has been an issue for me for many years: wearing a warm ski gloves makes it impossible to change camera settings, lenses, etc. On the other hand, a lighter pair of gloves simply couldn't keep my hands warm enough. Last year finally I found the solution for this imperative issue. There is a great company out there, called Vallerret. The founders are photographers themselves, so they exactly know what features great photography gloves should offer. On their website we can choose from a great variety of glove types starting from the nifty urban adventurer (Urbex) up to the one that has been tailored for arctic winter conditions (Alta Over Mitt). I went for an Ipsoot, which is designed for deep winter as well. In order to ensure that your fingers receive the required freedom the thumb and index fingers of the glove can be bent backwards on both hands. With the use of a little magnet, they stay nicely bent throughout you want your fingers to be out of the gloves.

Photographing in a blizzard. During the heavy snowfall my gloves did a great job
While shooting in a blizzard, the Ipsoot did a great job

The Ipsoot scored 5 stars on the day of that magical blizzard. In case you feel like under protected with your fingers being out, don't be afraid: just grab a thin underlaying layer of gloves and wear it together with the Ipsoot! Vallerret offers a product for this purpose, called the Power Stretch Pro Liner. While wearing it, you can even scroll your phone's screen. In case you decide to go with the double layer arrangement, just make sure to choose the right size of the outer layer - you might need a size up to feel comfortable.