Sunday last was National Dawn Chorus day, when bird-watchers get up well before the crack of dawn to gather at various pre-determined places to listen to the wonder that is the birds’ dawn song, at its peak in the middle of May. The Carlow gathering that I attended was at Oak Park.
Since it is not a good idea to go rooting for clothes at 4 in the morning, risking the wrath of the other household member, I selected and set out my gear before going to bed. While doing so it struck me that such preparation is similar to that needed for an early-morning photo-shoot, and that it is not easy to take good photographs if you are cold or wet. It is important to dress appropriately.
One consideration is that, no matter how mild the weather, you need to dress more warmly for an extended period with little or no movement than you do when going for a brisk walk. Extremities will get cold, so wear a hat that will pull down over the ears, thick socks and boots, and gloves – if you can get them, the ones with fold-back fingertips. Several layers are better than one heavy layer, and things with zips on the front are great for quick adjustments of temperature. As the day warms up you can consign one or two layers to the backpack.
Another consideration is, as mentioned in a previous tip, we get rain in this part of the country on around 150 days a year, so there is a good chance that it will rain, or has recently done so. Your boots of course should be waterproof, and warm waterproof trousers are also advisable, and if your top layer is not waterproof, a light waterproof windcheater should be in your backpack ready for use.
If, of course, your photoshoot destination is not dawn in the country, but midsummer midday in the city, the notion of what is appropriate will be a bit different. The sturdy boots with heavy socks can be replaced by comfortable shoes and ordinary socks, and the trousers need not be waterproof, nor the top, as if it rains you pop in to a café until it stops. Likewise the number of layers can be reduced.
Whatever the destination, consider the weather forecast, and the importance of remaining warm and dry with relatively little exercise. Comfortable photographers take better photographs.