Cold Weather Gear for Photographers

Buffalo Wool Company

I dislike being cold. Hate is a strong word that I don’t use very often but it’s fitting to say I HATE being cold.

Being a wildlife photographer has many perks but being outdoors in sub-zero environments isn’t one of them. Sometimes wildlife photography requires being out in the field when most people would prefer snuggling up next to the fire with a hot cup of coffee.

A few months back I met Rob and Theresa who own The Buffalo Wool Company. The manufacturer products made out of bison fur. Not only are they cool folks, they are incredibly knowledgeable about bison and how to make quality products. I shared my frustration about freezing when photographing wildlife in the winter. They offered some suggestions.

Yellowstone National Park, January 2017
Yellowstone National Park, January 2017

I ended up ordering a pair of the Bison/Merino fingerless gloves, the bison beanie, the flip mitts, trekker boot socks, crew socks, and the insoles.

Buffalo Wool Co

The order arrived extremely fast. Here are the goods.

I was eager to put them up to the test. I did a trial run during a photography tour to the Grand Teton National Park in Jackson, Wyoming. It was -24 degrees and snowing. My hands staying really warm. When wearing the flip mitts I make the mistake of not getting all my fingers in the mitten when switching from flipped open to flipped close. It didn’t take long to realize why my pinky finger was going numb.

When I returned home to Salt Lake City I wore the gloves and beanie during a walk in the snowstorm.

My head stayed warm
My head stayed warm

My head and hands were still warm. Nothing beats some good gloves, socks, boot insoles, and a beanie that keep me toasty.

I HIGHLY recommend The Buffalo Wool Company. Make an investment in quality American Made products. Their gloves are backed by their satisfaction guarantee that’s as straight forward as it gets… “Satisfaction Guaranteed: NO FINE PRINT,  If you don’t truly love them, send them back.” They are priced slightly higher than the cheap imported stuff you’ll find elsewhere but definitely worth the investment. When you buy from companies that are Made in America.

As an added bonus for a limited time, my friends at The Buffalo Wool Co are giving my friends a special savings. From now through 2/28/17 use coupon code robsfriend to receive 10% off your order.

Exclusive Buffalo Wool Company coupon
Exclusive Buffalo Wool Company coupon

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Let’s talk about boots, baby!

For years any time I am out shooting in the field, my feet FREEZE! It’s one thing when my hands and face are cold but once my feet get cold, it’s all down hill from there. Unless I am photographing something incredibly awesome, the cold feet quickly ends my desire to keep shooting. I took my “What are your favorite boots?” question to facebook and received lots of recommendations.

Meet my new favorite boots.

Cabela's Men's Zoned Comfort Trac Boots. Photo credit: Cabelas.com
Cabela’s Men’s Zoned Comfort Trac Boots. Photo credit: Cabelas.com

These are Cabela’s Mens Zoned Comfort Rubber Boots. You read that right, rubber boots. Who knew? Judging by the response I received on facebook, apparently some of you knew rubber boots may be the way to go. At first I was incredibly hesitant about rubber muck boots. My experience with rubber boots is that they’re great for working in mud but I was looking for boots that I would hike in while in the field. After hearing my concerns, the shoe sales person at Cabela’s suggested I try them on to see if they field like past rubber boots I’ve owned. I tried them on and I was sold.

These boots have 2,000 grams of thinsulate in the toebox, 1,600 grams in the saddles, and 1,200 in the heels. They’re a bit on the heavy side (6 pounds) but it’s a small trade off in comparison to how warm they keep my feet.

The boots are Cabela’s brand which means they come with a lifetime warranty. If ANYTHING goes wrong or I somehow wear them out, they are replaced for free. (Seriously folks, who doesn’t like products that are fully backed by the manufacturer?)

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Cold Weather Killing Your Camera Battery?

If you are a photographer or know someone who is, and you (they) photograph in cold temperatures, keep reading! I assure you will thank me later as this will quickly become a necessity.

See this pouch?

Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com
Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com

Whether you shoot Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, or another brand camera, this is no ORDINARY pouch. During a recent trip to the Tetons, it was FREEZING…… as in -24*F. Brrr! All was well until I pulled out my camera gear and put the batteries to work against the cold weather.

Epic fail!

If you have ever photographed in cold weather, you know the feeling of seeing your battery charge literally deteriorate quickly due to freezing temperatures.

#TheStruggleIsReal

Photography gear, camera batteries especially, are no match for cold temperatures. You can insert a fully charged battery and within an hour it is completely dead. Keeping batteries in a warm climate was the solution, but how? Frustrated, The Vest Guy created the ultimate solution.

Meet the Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch.

Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com
Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com

The camera battery cold weather pouch is the ULTIMATE SOLUTION to keeping your camera batteries charged longer!

The photography camera cold weather pouch features a mesh pocket to house an activated hand warmer. The hand warmer keeps batteries nice and toasty, making for a happier photographer and a higher chance of getting the images you are in the field to photograph. Depending on the warmers you use, batteries can be kept warm for 8-10 hours. When you remove one of the batteries, the built-in webbing dividers keep the remaining batteries secure.

Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com
Camera Battery Cold Weather Pouch by TheVestGuy.com

Available in two sizes:

– Medium: for smaller batteries like Canon 7D2, 5D3 (shown above)

– Large: for bulkier batteries like 1DX, ID-IV (shown below)

The camera battery pouch carrier comes in a large selection of color choices. The products are Made in the USA. Have specialized batteries? No problem! Items can be fully customized to meet your needs. The bonus…  The Vest Guy products, items are backed by a lifetime workmanship warranty.

To snag your camera battery cold weather pouch or to browse other Vest Guy items, head over here.

See, I told ya you’d thank me. 🙂

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TFCFL XML T6 LED Flashlight Review

I’m a gadget guy. (Honestly, which guy isn’t?) With 16 years of law enforcement, I have seen my fair share of flashlights. From photographing wildlife, experimenting with light painting and nightscape photography, or just having fun, I enjoy being outdoors and flashlights are a necessity. Not that long ago we went through the CERT training where the importance of emergency preparedness is stressed. I have an emergency go bag (EDC) with everything you could image but wasn’t entirely satisfied with my flashlights. They weren’t bad per se, but I always have my eyes open for quality gadgets and toys. When I stumbled cross the TFCFL XM-L T6 flashlight and saw it was under $40, I figured I’d give it a chance.

I ordered the TFCFL XML T6 10000 lumen flashlight from Amazon. It arrived yesterday and I got to play with it last night. Woot woot! I’ll let the flashlight speak for itself.

The 10,000 lumens is very bright, brighter than anything I’ve ever seen. The multiple bulbs make for more of a floodlight vs laser spot light. I am excited to use it for light painting distant objects for nightscape photography. It’s quite large (image the size of a soda can) but it’s aluminum frame keeps it lightweight. The flashlight will be a good addition to my emergency bag. I am ordering a second TFCFL flashlight to keep on my bed table. Whoever finds themselves on the other end of the flashlight will wish they hadn’t entered my house.

TFCFL Flashlight
TFCFL Flashlight

Looking for a LED flashlight alternative? I highly recommend the Smiling Shark 5,000 lumen headlamp too. I was happy with the headlamp until the LED flashlight arrived. In this case, brightness matters so the flashlight wins for me.

Smiling Shark Headlamp
Smiling Shark Headlamp

 

CREE LED Flashlight 10,000 Lumen
CREE LED Flashlight 10,000 Lumen
CREE LED Flashlight 10,000 Lumen
CREE LED Flashlight 10,000 Lumen

LED Flashlight-2363

Have a favorite flashlight or headlamp? Share with us in the comments.

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Camera Support Bean Bags by The Vest Guy

Camera Support Bean Bag

Hate lugging around a tripod? You are not alone! Not only are tripods cumbersome, if you photograph wildlife by the time you get the tripod set up, you may have missed the action and the shot is gone.

Camera Support Bean Bag over railing
Camera Support Bean Bag over railing

The camera support bean bag by The Vest Guy provides effective camera lens support system designed to provide a soft and flexible yet sturdy camera support for wildlife, landscape, sport, and event photography. The non-slip material on the top supports multiple lens sizes up to 800mm. The camera bean bag has a U-shaped notch on the bottom, also with non-slip material, so it can be placed on flat or uneven surfaces like a car window/door, truck, hood, fence posts, rocks, benches, tree branch, stumps, railing or even placed on the ground when shooting at ground level. The camera support bean bag also comes in handy where tripods are prohibited such as boats, museums, churches, galleries, etc.

The camera bean bag arrives unfilled unless you select the filled bean bag option. It is light and compact, making it travel friendly. The bean bag can be filled with dry beans, rice, bird seed, sunflower seeds or buckwheat hulls. Personally we prefer buckwheat hulls since they’re light weight. We took unfilled camera bean bags on our Africa Photography Tour; threw it in the suitcase unfilled, filled it with maze (dried corn) purchased at the Tanzania market, then donated the maze to some locals the day before we returned home.

Great for photographing birds from the car
Great for photographing birds from the car

Camera support beanbags are available in 3 sizes and a variety of colors.

  • SIZES: Small (5x9x9)  /  Large (9x9x9)  /  Extra Large (9x9x12)
  • COLORS: black, coyote, tan, ACU – Acupat, Digi Desert, OD – olive drab, A-TACS, A-TACS FG, Woodland Camo, Red, Orange, Royal Blue, Navy Blue, Yellow, Burgundy, Gray, forest green, florescent green, ACU Camo, Crye Multi-Cam, True Timber Mixed Pine, DWR True Timber HTC, and Pink Camo (see color options here).

The camera lens beanbag features a heavy duty velcro closure to ensure that your filling stays in the bag while still allowing you to add to whatever filling you use if it breaks down over time. The camera bean bag straps make carrying the bag convenient.

The camera support bean bag by The Vest Guy is made in the USA and backed by a LIFETIME workmanship warranty.

Camera Bean Bag in Timber
Camera Bean Bag in Timber

For a LIMITED TIME, save 30% on camera beanbag supports with coupon code BEANBAG30. Order yours here.

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CERT Safety Reflective Vest Sale

CERT 30th Anniversary National Conference & CERT Safety Reflective Vest Sale

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CERT, also known as Community Emergency Response Team, is a program that educates volunteers in disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster medical operations, and basic first aid.

In September 2016, CERT held their 30th anniversary national conference in Southern California and we got to be among the vendors.

CERT 30th Anniversary conference
CERT 30th Anniversary conference

Thirty years is cause for celebration. Hundreds of people from across the country (and some international folks) attended the celebration and gained valuable knowledge they could take back and teach to their communities to become better prepared.

This is the face behind CERT. His name is Frank Borden. We had the pleasure of meeting this rockstar.

Frank W Borden | Photo credit to CERT Conference
Frank W Borden | Photo credit: CERT Conference

Frank is a humble, kind man with over 36 years of service with the Los Angeles City Fire Department and a list of accomplishments and awards a mile long. Frank… you are awesome. (Learn more about Frank here.)

With much appreciation for volunteers that give back to communities across the world, The Vest Guy offers EXCLUSIVE sales on CERT reflective safety gear. (Translation: CERT codes are ONLY valid on CERT gear. Anyone who tries to use CERT discounts for other products and will end up with cancelled orders.)

The Vest Guy offers CERT reflective products from basic/minimal frills up to pockets and features galore.

Basic CERT Vest with zipper
Basic CERT Vest with zipper

Basic CERT vest has reflective striping, adjustable sides, 2 D rings, and sewn on name tags. Bare bones and cost effective.

CERT Vest with Pockets 001

The CERT Vest 001 is a basic 2 pocket vest, slip pockets behind each pocket, upper and lower reflective striping, and customized removable name tags on velcro.

Yes, you read that right…… CUSTOMIZED name tags. Choose from a variety of colors and you can even use your logo.

CERT Vest with customized name tags

If you are working within a smaller budget and like the ease of carrying a few items and keeping your hands free, the CERT reflective radio chest pack is another option.

CERT Reflective Radio Chest Pack
CERT Reflective Radio Chest Pack

The CERT Commander Reflective Vest has a few more bells and whistles than the CERT 001.

CERT Commander Reflective Vest
CERT Commander Reflective Vest

The CERT Medic Vest is the Cadillac of vests with pockets galore. (To learn more about the CERT Medic Reflective Vest, read an in-depth review here.)

CERT Medic Vest
CERT Medic Vest

The High Visibility CERT ANSI II Vest features 2 radio pockets, clear ID window, and 360 degree 2″ reflective.

High Visibility CERT ANSI II Vest
High Visibility CERT ANSI II Vest

The Vest Guy CERT Sale

These vests have dual adjustable sides that expand up to 8 inches on each side. Adjustable sides means you can use the same vest year round (even when you’re wearing bulkier clothing in cold months) or multiple people of varying sizes can share vests.

If you are CERT, use code CERT2017 to save 20% on all CERT items at TheVestGuy.com. (Anyone trying to use CERT discounts for non-cert products will have their order canceled!) Like all our products, every thing is made to order and can be 100% customized. If there is something specific you are looking for, visit us at TheVestGuy.com or call us at (801)725-0076.

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