No matter who we are or what we do, we all have to deal with the weather. It is an inescapable force, even when you work in a cozy studio. Weather affects our daily lives, which is why the morning news has weather reports every 10 minutes! As photographers, how we deal with the weather, and use it to our advantage, can define our work and our attitude.
I thought this topic seemed appropriate given this HOT time of year! I know that I don't do nearly as much shooting in the summer months because of the heat and humidity. At my house, you break a sweat just sitting in the shade! Here are some things to consider when you do shoot in the heat. Most of it is common sense, but hey, I know I need to be reminded of the simple details sometimes.
First of all, take care of yourself. If you are sensitive to the heat, limit your exposure. Be sure to take plenty of water, snacks, sports drinks, etc. with you so that you can stay hydrated. Rest when you need to. Listen to your body. Everyone is different and has different limitations. You know yours and should abide by them. Don't push yourself too hard. If you start to feel lousy, rest, go inside, find some shade, get out of the heat and sun. You can also soak a cloth in cold water and drape it around your neck. That can really help. If you are in the sun, please use sunscreen. Protect your skin. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes. I am very sensitive to bright light myself and have to be very careful when out in the bright sun. Along with the heat, usually comes bugs. Try some sort of bug repellant and check for ticks once you are back inside. Those little buggers are relentless.
Now that we have mentioned you, let's move onto your camera equipment. Usually, camera equipment fares pretty well in heat. However, cameras can overheat. If you're hot, your camera is probably hot, too. To protect your gear, particularly in full sun, keep it in your camera bag when not using it. The bag will be cooler than out in full sun. Try to keep your camera gear in the shade if at all possible.
Another consideration when the weather is hot is the transition between cooler areas, like air-conditioned spaces, and the heat outside. Your camera and lenses can fog up, just like glasses do. If you keep your house or car significantly cooler than the outside temperature, this can occur. Allow your camera and lenses time to acclimate to the heat. You can try to wipe the fog off your lens, but it will usually reform until your camera and lens have completely acclimated. Simply wait it out!
You can also simply stay inside. Buy flowers and create a tiny studio in your kitchen. There are many photography projects that you can do inside your own home. You may have to be a bit more creative with your lighting options. Try lamps and flashlights, window light and reflectors, work lights and your external flash. There are a lot of options. Summer is a great time to experiment with the home studio.
Even though the heat adds a challenge to photography, there is a silver lining - the best times to photograph outside are early in the morning, late in the afternoon, in the shade, or on overcast days, all circumstances that help avoid the worst of the heat! Additionally, the heat will end before we know it, and then we can explore the challenge of the cold!