For as long as I have been into landscape, nature and wilderness photography I have been searching for the perfect gloves for outdoor winter photography. The problem has been that I have struggled to find gloves that are waterproof, yet are thin enough to retain enough ‘feel’ to enable me to use my camera equipment unhindered. I have a drawer full of potential candidates that have all ultimately disappointed for one reason or another; usually because the gloves ultimately lack enough tactile feel for camera operation or are not waterproof. Believe me when I say it has been quite a search.
Up until recently I had settled on a thermalite glove liner; which was both warm and thin enough to enable me to use my camera equipment relatively unhindered. The problem is that they are not waterproof and every time I have been shooting with them in the snow I have ended up with wet and subsequently freezing fingers. It also necessitated having multiple pairs (since one pair always ended up wet). Last weekend I was shooting up at Wallace’s Hut at Falls Creek at sunrise in a sleet and snow with the thermalites and yet again ended up with wet and freezing fingers. I told myself at the time I just had to find a better solution before I leave for New Zealand in a few days and before Antarctica later this year. I have no desire to find myself shooting from a zodiac amongst the icebergs in Antarctica with wet and freezing cold fingers.
Later that morning when I was getting a late breakfast / early lunch in Bright I popped into a couple of outdoor stores just to see what they had in the way of gloves. Amongst the usual assortment of skiing gloves (which are just to thick), woollen gloves (which are to slippery and not waterproof) I found a pair of ‘Seal Skinz‘. On first inspection these gloves ticked all the boxes: Waterproof – Yes, Thin for tactile feel, Yes, Grippy and non-slip, Yes. The Seal Skinz are very similar in appearance to the Lowe Pro gloves (I have never really liked the Lowe Pro gloves finding them still too thick and not waterproof), however, they are slightly thinner for better tactile feel and completely waterproof. Only problem was they were just shy of $70 a pair and they did not have my size in stock. Unperterbed I decided to try and order a pair online when I returned to Melbourne; which I did and the gloves arrived late last week just in time for my trip to the South Island of New Zealand. As an aside, I was also able to find them significantly cheaper online. I ordered the standard version of the Seal Skinz glove. Seal Skinz also make a chill blocker version of this glove; which although warmer again with its fleece lining is too thick for photography for me. Time will tell if these gloves prove their worth. The South Island of New Zealand in the dead of winter should certainly be a good test. Last time I was there I experienced -19 Degrees celsius while shooting from Helicopter above the alps with the doors removed (and that was cold!).
As an outdoor photographer whose favourite season is winter I am willing to accept some degree of finger discomfort (cold) to keep good tactile feel with my camera equipment. I can put up with being quite cold as long as I am not also wet. The trick is finding the right balance of warmth and tactile feel and I am hoping these new Seal Skinz finally fit the bill. I will see how they fare in New Zealand as a precursor test to my Antarctica trip and report back.