Tom Westbrook

LF Tips

This page will contain various tips I learn from other photographers and the occasional ones I invent myself. Take any of these for what they are worth—they may be useless for your working methods. .

Cold Weather 

(I mean freezing & below)

  1. The best gloves I've found for moderately cold temperatures (above 10F/-12C) are the Manzella Silkweight Windstopper gloves. They're made of a light windstopper fleece, but aren't nappy enough to stick too well to velcro (a big problem with regular fleece gloves). They could probably be used for liner gloves in really cold temperatures. They do have some thin friction enhancing stuff on the fingers and palms.
  2. If it's really cold, wear thin liner gloves under heavier mitts on tethers. You can pop the heavy gloves off to fiddle with the camera. There are also glove where the fingers come off and fold back.
  3. Steamed up ground glass is a major annoyance in cold weather. Try using a surgical mask. It should trap most of the moisture from your breath. It might work to use a ski mask to breath through if the weave is tight enough to trap moisture. Horse blanket style dark cloths are, in my opinion, better in the cold than the tube-style cloths, since they ventilate much better: you can usually just flap the sides of the cloth to clear trapped moisture.
  4. A chemical alternative for helping with steamy ground glass might be Rain-X anti-fogging glass treatment. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to this winter (2004-2005) and will report what I find here.
  5. The best dark cloth I've found for cold temperatures is the one offered by Justin Gnass--it's all cloth with no plastic coatings. It's very comfortable and a breeze to take on and off. It does have velcro which might be a problem for those using fleece gloves, but only on the side that attaches to the rear standard. He only make one for 4x5 cameras, but if enough people ask I'd bet he'd also offer a size for 8x10. The only problem (not much of problem, though) is that it's a bit grabby on your head if you have a stocking cap on, esp. if its fleece. GnassGear Dark Cloth.
  6. Before bringing gear & film indoors after being out in the cold, be sure film is zipped up in plastic bags &/or you camera bag is fully closed. Leave everything closed up for a few hours to let it slowly come up to room temperature. The two biggest issues are condensation on film & inside lenses. Be sure lens caps are on your lenses.

Odds & Ends 

(mostly picked up from others)

  1. Rap the  bottom of your film holder against your palm  before inserting it into the camera back to settle the film & keep it from shifting during exposure (more important for long exposures).

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Page last modified: 16-Feb-2012