Dressing for the Tropics—That Means Us!

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With temperatures pushing into triple digits, the Northeast has become a sweltering steam bath, and no place for photographers or A/V pros to be working outside. But if you must, plan to dress for the heat. You want a lightly colored, brimmed hat like the Soundman Sun Hat from Koala (left), not a baseball cap. No matter the logo, a cap leaves your ears and the back of your neck exposed, a recipe for disaster under an unforgiving sun.

Cotton is a double-edged sword for a utility jacket. Did I say jacket? I meant vest. Long sleeves are an unwelcome extension this time of year unless you're photographing bees. My first inclination would be to choose a vest made from 100-percent cotton. But what if there's a late afternoon cloudburst? The same fabric that lets sweat evaporate out will absorb rainwater in, leaving you wet and ugly. Cotton is still the best choice for this time of year, but you also may want to pack a water-resistant poncho to pull over yourself and your gear during a downpour. One example is the Petrol Rain Poncho (right). Though marketed for "the working sound person," it won't discriminate against photographers and videographers. It will keep them dry, too.

A cool vest should have air vents. The Billingham Large Photo Vest, for example, has three air vents. It also has 12 exterior pockets, at least one of which should be occupied by a bottle of water or a canteen. Better yet, two smaller containers in two pockets for balance and backup. The stone-colored Billingham vest (right) is available in five sizes. Loose fitting is better than tight fitting. Not only will your body be able to breathe, but when the weather finally starts to chill, you can always add layers of clothing. To see a variety of photographer vests from different labels in a range of colors, fabrics and prices, click here.

Incidentally, another approach for transporting water hands-free is by using a padded carrier that hooks to your belt or Modular Accessory System. An example is the Tamrac MX5398 (M.A.S.), though I'm not enamored with the black color. Where's the beige brigade when you need it?