Protecting your Hands and Photo Gear in the Cold

Nothing like frozen fingers and painful fingertips to ruin an outdoor photo shoot in the cold and take the fun out of it! I spend many nights out hunting the northern lights, and I have learned from my own mistakes.

So here is what I do and use to enjoy a night out.

Hand protection: never exposing your fingers is the key.

Find gloves thin enough that you never have to take them off to change camera settings and use your tripod. I have tried many gloves, combination of gloves, even cut a couple of tips on some gloves (and spent too much money!), until I found thin and warm gloves at my local hardware store. They are thermolite liners. That’s all I wear until about -10°C (14°F). They are thin enough that I can also keep my hands in my pocket with these gloves on. When it gets really cold, I can wear mittens over them.


Tripod: never touch the metal parts with bare fingers.

Wearing gloves at all time is the best protection for you. There isn’t much you can do to protect your tripod. The head has to be accessible and so is always exposed. Metal and aluminium legs will get colder than carbon fiber. Having some protection for your hands on the legs can be useful. If needed, foam pipe insulation can be used.

Pipe insulation

Camera body: a camera cover to protect from cold, humidity, frost and wind.

I bundled up in my goose down jacket and I also protect my camera, the most expensive gear that I have. I am particularly concerned about humidity and frost, battery life affected by cold and wind chill, as I want to use my camera for as long as possible during the night and not have to use too many extra batteries. I have been fortunate to test and provide feedback on the Camera Parka, a camera cover from AT Frosted Lens, over the past 3 years and I love it. It is made of Polartec® fabric and provides protection to my DSLR, and at the same time easy access to camera settings while keeping my hands warm.

protection cover for DSLR cameras

AT Photography is on Facebook!