Guess: what’s the thing you need the most when you’re out taking pictures, besides a good light?
No, you don’t actually have to mail me your answers, especially the guys’. 😉
The right one is: your hands. You have to be able to push tiny little buttons, rotate tiny little dials and keep the camera reasonably steady if it is not screwed on top of a tripod.
While all this is extremely easy to do in the summer or in the spring, when at worst your palms might get a bit sweaty but that’s all, in the winter the game changes radically.
Obviously you will have to wear gloves. Especially if you like to take landscape pictures of mountains and woods it will be not a matter of mere comfort, but literally of keeping your hands from freezing like turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving.
So now you have two contrasting needs: to maintain warmth without hindering your hand movements and sensitivity too much.
If you’ve been shopping for a pair of gloves that can accomplish all that you know that it is a bit like searching for the Holy Grail, only a tad more expensive.
Many brands and models promise a lot of comfort, often for a lot of money (they can cost as high as 250€ for a pair!). But at the first practical test fall short because they will not keep your hands warm enough (most of the time) or because you will not be able to operate the camera controls.
After many years, though, I’ve found a solution.
The gloves pictured above were, according to the eBay vendor from which I bought them, issued in the past to the Finnish Army (during the 50s or 60s by how they look, but maybe the brass just liked the retro style…). When I read this I though: well, these guys should know their cold weather!
These are actually “shooting gloves”, with a tiny “port” to slide your finger out to pull the trigger – or the shutter, in our case – and they are absolutely terrific. The material is wool, so not some modern fabric, but it keeps your hands absolutely warm all the same. And even if they are mittens, like I said you can see that there is a tiny cut to slide you index finger out when you need grip on some tiny dial. I was able to operate the minuscule controls of a Sony Nex 7!
In my experience, at 5€ for a pair, they are an absolute steal. They pop out occasionally on eBay, so check often or create an alert.
If it is biting cold just wear another pair of thin gloves underneath, for when you have to slide out your index finger, like the cheap ones sold with coated fingertips to use a touch screen.