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Landscape and wildlife photography brings me to many different places to make presentations. I get a lot of questions about the kinds of gear I use. Obviously, the camera equipment I use is important. However, what most people don’t realize is that the gear I wear in many regards is just as important as what I use to create my images. In other words, my socks are JUST as important as my lenses, or filter systems. Your socks!? You’re kidding, right? Let me explain.
Landscape and wildlife photography requires me being in the right place at the right times. Unfortunately the ‘right’ time isn’t always middle of the day, in 80 degree weather, and right next to my car. In fact…it NEVER is. Most of the time I’m waking up well before the sunrise, hiking long distances, and sitting in miserable temperatures for long periods of time waiting for the lighting...to be perfect, or the animals to wake up. Yes, I'm up before a lot of animals.
When the light does hit that perfect moment, it’s a mad scramble to gather as many quality images as possible in an ever shrinking window of opportunity. Have you ever tried to think artistically with cold feet? Or blisters? I have and it’s nearly impossible.
On one occasion I made a long winter hike to a location in a pair of socks that did everything in their power to make my life miserable. Blisters plagued me early into my hike, each step making me wince in pain. When I finally arrived at the location and stood in the snow waiting for the light….my feet began to freeze. I had no insulation, and the cold was numbing. While that took away the pain from the blisters…it made photography next to impossible. Rather than enjoying my morning doing what I love…I was just hoping the light would fade so I could quickly make my way back to my vehicle and get warm.
When you’re happier being in the car than out of it…there’s a problem. I got back and vowed…I was NEVER making another big hike with cold or sore feet.
In preparation for my next long week of hiking, in the desert regions of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, I purchased a couple pair of Wigwam socks. Over the course of that week I hiked nearly 60 miles and spent several days/nights in temperatures in the 20s.
To make a long story short, I had ample opportunity to totally destroy my feet during that week but ended with no blisters for the duration of my trip. I walked in padded comfort everywhere I went. My feet never got too hot, or too cold. I found that because they kept my feet so warm, on those below freezing nights...I just left them on. I literally had my socks on ALL the time. Even better…when I got home the socks didn’t smell nearly as bad as you would expect for as much as they were on my feet.
In my book any piece of equipment that stays on my body at all times, keeps me comfortable, warm, and doesn’t smell horrible even when it’s been soaked with creek water and sweat has to be listed when someone asks me about the equipment I use.