Beating the Heat While Photographing the Summer
As summer rolls on and people are out and about on vacation, it's natural to want to get out and get the best photographs you can. Summer's long days and bright colors give photographers ample tools to work with -- in some ways, even more than the colors of spring and autumn. However, summer does bring one thing that the other seasons don't: heat. So, while you're out there traipsing about in search of the perfect photo, please take some time to prepare yourself and to ensure that you won't get beaten by the heat.
1) Wear Sunscreen -- Even if you're not on the beach, you'll want to wear sunscreen if you're going to be out during the hotter parts of the day (10 am - 4 pm). Wearing loose clothes is also a good idea -- clothing that is too tight will not let your skin breathe or your sweat evaporate which will keep your body temperature up.
2) Don't carry too much gear -- Try to plan your trips carefully and carry only as much gear as you need. The less weight you're carrying, the longer you'll last outdoors. Also, the less gear you're carrying, the more water you can carry.
3) Drink lots of water -- Keep several bottles of water with you at all times when outside and drink even before you get thirsty. If you're out in the heat and sweating, your body will need to replace the lost water in order to keep functioning so you can take your photos.
4) Carry some sports drinks with you -- Water isn't the only thing you lose while sweating. Salts and electrolytes need to be replaced and most sports drinks can do that for you.
5) Keep your cell phone with you. And charged -- If worse come to worse, then you'll want to be able to call for help. If you begin to feel excessively dizzy, notice that you are no longer sweating, or begin to suffer from severe muscle cramps or nausea, you may be suffering the early signs of heat exhaustion. Call someone immediately if you can and then do your best to find a cooler place to lie down.
6) Let people know where you're going and when you'll be there -- Even if you have a cell phone with you, it's a good idea to let others know where you're going to be and when so if you don't turn up for a later appointment, they'll have a good idea of where to start looking for you.
7) Unless your camera's equipped for it, don't take photos of the sun -- Looking at the sun directly is a bad idea. Even if you do it through a camera (unless you're using very special lenses to protect the sensor).
Summer is a great time to advance in the art of photography. But just...be careful and be mindful of the temperature so that you can continue practicing your photography through the autumn and winter months.
-- da Bird