Easy Photo Tip: How to Keep Your Fingers Warm During Winter Photography

The weather forecast for New York calls for temperatures to dip into the single digits this weekend, and if you’re like me, you find it challenging to keep your digits warm while out-of-doors with your digital camera. Here’s a little trick I learned back in my salad days when Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were in my territory and I was a sales rep with Minolta Corporation.

Water freezes at 32 degrees, and my fingers freeze-up at 40. I have warm mittens and even fur-lined gloves, but neither allows me to handle a DSLR with any dexterity. Then there’s my cell phone. It balks at the touch of leather—real or faux—and insists that I swipe, flick and peck with the skin of a fingertip.

Through a stroke of good fortune I found a pair of woolen gloves in an Army-Navy Surplus store. They had long sleeves, two fingers and a thumb. The finger tube that covered my index finger was neatly nipped off so that the last two knuckles of my trigger finger were bare, while the other three fingers huddled together in the warmth of an extra-wide finger tube. They were okay—and cheap—but alas, like GI blankets other Government Issued things made of wool, they itched like a burlap Speedo.  

To the rescue: Campmor, an El Primo camper/hiker/cycler/trekker store in Paramus, New Jersey. There for the paltry sum of $10 I found a pair of Fox River Ragg Wool Gripper Fingerless Gloves that have separate tubes for each digit, but all are open ended. Each fingertip is free to click or text. And if that’s not enough, the palm surfaces are covered with tiny rubber nubs that increase friction and make it easier to handle slick things like a car’s steering wheel, for example.

When it gets ridiculously cold I can scoot my wrist up higher inside the cuff and cover all of my fingers and thumbs. (To the casual observer, who can see only the gloved hand and floppy shortened fingers when I do this, it probably looks like I tried to trim my nails with a Cuisinart Food Processor.)

In addition to operating a large, very fun retail store, Campmor sells online. I’m sure there must be other stores, and other brands that are of equal quality, but this pair is now in its third winter and shows no signs of wear. I wish I could say as much for my digits.

—Jon Sienkiewicz