Sunday, January 19, 2014

Preparations for a Photo Trip to Canada

As much as I would rather be out photographing, I am getting all my equipment and clothing ready for my trip to Alberta Canada to photograph Snowy Owls, Northern Hawk Owls and Great Gray Owls. Even though we may have more snowy owls here, the main reason I am going is to get the Great Gray Owl.

I have cleaned all a contacts on my camera and lenses, clean the front element of the lenses. I am only taken three lenses with me, 70-200 mm f/2.8, 500 mm f/4 and a manual focus 24 mm lens to use for landscapes and hopefully if there is a clear night, the Aurora or northern lights. All my camera equipment, except for the tripod and head will fit into my Think Tank Airport 4-Sight Rolling Camera Bag. What I like about this bag that it will fit in the overhead in most of the regional larger jets.

Right now, the 10 day forecast for temperatures in Alberta range from the mid-20s to the low 30s. This is better than the recent cold snap that we had.

Preparing for the trip, I have reviewed what is the proper dress for winter photography. First and foremost do not use cotton, because it traps moisture and stays wet and will cause you to lose heat. Next dress in layers. A base layer that is tightfitting and wicking including wool, polypropylene, polyester and other like material. Next is a mid layer which includes down, fleece, wool etc. finally an outer layer that helps block wind and moisture but does allow moisture to escape.

I found the Cabela's WindStopper® Trans-Alaska Elite Trail Suit – Regular which is a great piece of clothing which I have worn out photographing with only a base layer of thermals underneath and have been absolutely comfortable in the cold weather. Here is the description from Cabela's: Extreme winter warmth and durability for surviving the lowest temperatures and most intense winter conditions. This series features a heavyweight nylon GORE WindStopper® shell that blocks heat-robbing winds and resists winter moisture for protection from the harshest elements. Lined with 100% nylon taffeta for smooth layering. 200-gram PrimaLoft® Sport insulation delivers high-performance warmth with an ultralightweight feel, reducing bulk and increasing range of motion. Microfleece-lined hood, chin guard and insulated handwarmer pockets. Fully adjustable hood with wire brim and removable coyote-fur ruff. 3M reflective tape. Top-quality YKK® zippers throughout. The Trail Suit is an all-in-one arctic weather outerwear. Drop seat for answering the call of nature. Adjustable belt and internal suspenders for custom-fitting comfort. Kneepad pockets with included kneepads. Two insulated chest pockets. Two cargo pockets. Interior pocket with media port. Leg zippers for easy on and off. Snow gaiters at leg cuffs.

I also found a great pair of boots to utilize, which are a pull on and have a Velcro strap to tightness at the ankles and a draw cord at the top portion of the boot. I purchased these from the Sierra Trading Post: Kamik  Collingwood Winter Pac Boots - Waterproof, Insulated.

I have a pair of glove liners along with a peer of heavier gloves that still allow me to control my camera. I also bought a very heavy pair of gloves that I can attach to my wrist to keep my hands warm when I am not photographing.