Keeping their hands warm is one of the biggest challenges photographers face during the winter months. Born and raised in Norway, I know how dangerous it can be when your hands begin to freeze. But unfortunately, warm gloves are bulky and hard to use in combination with a camera.
Here in Norway we often deal with temperatures down to -25°C or even colder so I’ve always been conscious about how I dress when going out photographing during winter. Keeping my feet and body relatively warm isn’t a problem, even when chasing the Aurora Borealis in freezing conditions. The hands, however, have been more challenging.
Let’s face it: having a good grip on your camera and being able to easily adjust the settings is essential for landscape photographers. This can be difficult with bulky gloves, so the solution is to take them off when you need to make adjustments.
Needless to say, that’s far from ideal!
In recent years, a handful of companies have started designing gloves and mittens specially made for outdoor photographers. I’ve tested several from various companies but it wasn’t until I received a pair from Vallerret Photography Gloves in 2016 that I finally found something that felt right. Even when temperatures drop.
My Favorite Gloves for Landscape Photography
Vallerret is a relatively young company based out of Norway so I was excited to test their gloves when I received the first model in 2016. The professional design which is optimized for photographers caught my interest right away.
Key Features & Design
The main difference between ‘photography gloves’ and regular gloves are the flip finger caps on the forefinger and thumb which make it easy to operate a camera without removing the gloves.
I tried several other brands but most of them were loose around the fingers which let the cold air in to chill the rest of my hand whenever sticking a finger out… This has not been the case with Vallerret; their gloves fit perfectly and keep my hands toasty.
The second neat feature is the tiny pocket on top of each hand for storing a memory card, microfiber cloth, hand warmers or other small accessories.
Vallerret has done a great job designing gloves that have a good grip which is very important for photographers. When using gloves without it, you risk dropping the camera (or you’re constantly paranoid of doing so). All the Vallerret models have a non-slip grip that gives you a good hold on the camera.
Lastly, there are magnets in the finger caps that hold the tips in place and out of the way while you’re working.
Bulky gloves tend to keep your hands warmer but they also make it much more difficult to operate your camera. The combination of flexibility and warmth has been a key factor for me when searching for the perfect winter photography glove.
I’ve tested all the Vallerret models and mostly use the Markhof Pro (now Markhof Pro 2.0) and Ipsoot models.
The Markhof Pro is ideal for most of the year. No matter the season, whether at work or play, if I’m outdoors it’s my go-to glove until the thermometer dips below freezing.
In temperatures below freezing, I use the Ipsoot model. It’s a more heavy-duty glove that has reliably kept my hands warm even below -25°C and I haven’t found its extra bulk to be a problem when operating the camera.
An alternative for those extremely cold days is the much bulkier Alta Over-Mitt glove; a glove referred to as a “sleeping bag for your hands”. I’ve used this in temperatures below -30 Celsius and have still felt warm on my hands.
The Merino Liners
Vallerret also has a few different options for liners. I tend to use them inside my gloves during cold winter days. They’re also nice by themselves when it’s a little chilly outside.
The fingers have a ‘touch’ technology that allows you to use both your camera and phone as normal.
That being said, I have had some issues with the liners in the past. I use them on a daily basis half the year and noticed that they typically didn’t last for much longer than a season. I’ve addressed this issue with them and it seems to be an issue that they’re working on resolving.
If you’ve ever been photographing during winter I’m sure you’re familiar with the discomfort of frozen hands and the difficulties of using your camera wearing thick gloves.
Gloves for landscape photography are a brilliant invention to overcome those hurdles. I’ve tried several types and there’s no doubt that they’re constantly getting better. The Vallerret Photography Gloves are by far my favorite and having tried all their models, I can vouch for both the quality and comfort they provide.
I’ve depended on them for all my winter workshops the past years and they’ve kept my hands warm in places such as Greenland, Iceland, Finland, and Arctic Norway. Honestly, I can’t imagine spending winter without them.
They’re available online at Vallerret Photography Gloves or B&H Photo.
More Winter Photography
Are you ready to take your winter photography to the next level? Here are a few articles to get you started: