Avoid the Burn, Rain and Itches - for Fun Summertime Photography

Young buckaroo learning the ropes.

Young buckaroo learning the ropes.

If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors (or even your own backyard) for some great summer photography, it pays to be prepared.  Even if you’re not laying in the weeds to get that next great shot, just being outdoors can bring you into contact with mosquitos, chiggers and ticks – not to mention that summertime sun.  When it’s really hot outside, it can be tempting to strip down to shorts, flip-flops and a tee shirt.  Depending on our much “outdoors” you are planning to handle, that might not be the best solution.  Now, I’m probably on the extreme side – being outside during the “buggiest” times for several hours, but here are the 3 tricks that work for me.

Pick the Right Clothes

Look for light duty material in both pants and long sleeve shirts that are thin, quick drying and provide rated UV protection.  This shirt from Cabelas is one of my stand-bys.  Not only is it extremely light and comfortable, but it provides UPF-50 sunblock protection.  Look for similar qualities in your pants and a good lightweight hat that helps keep the sun off your neck.

Don’t skimp on your foot protection either.  This doesn’t mean you have to wear hiking boots all the time (although that’s not bad depending on where you’re going) but a good pair of hiking shoes that are water resistant are a great idea.

Treat Your Gear to Some Protection

Waterproof your gear

While a raincoat is optimum for a full downpour, the quick showers and light rain you are likely to run in to during most summer outings can effectively be deterred by a little preparation.

NIKWAX, great for packs, shoes and hats

NIKWAX, great for packs, shoes and hats

I use a NIKWAX waterproofing spray on my pack-backs, vest, shoes, boots and hats.  It does a great job of adding that extra touch of water resistance.  NIK has other products for clothes, check them out as well!

"Bugproof" your gear

There are special shirts you can buy that are infused with insect repelling material, but they are expensive and don’t really last through many washings – so why not make your own clothes insect repellent.

Make your clothes insect repellent

Make your clothes insect repellent

Checkout a product called Permethrin.  While DEET is the ultimate in bug protection, I’m happy to limit its use on my skin as much as I can.  Treating my clothing, boots, hat, vest and backpack with a Permethrin spray, I’m able to go almost entirely “DEET Free” for most outings.

Treated clothing should last 5 to 6 weeks.

Treated clothing should last 5 to 6 weeks.

I’ll usually treat all of my gear every 6 weeks or so – it has no smell when dry and easily lasts through 5 or 6 washings.

Accessorize for success

In addition to any personal medications you carry for allergies or other treatments, don’t forget portable versions of insect repellent, sun protection and itch relief.  These small tubes and vials take up hardly any space and come in handy when you need them!

One more accessory to consider – OFF Clip-on Mosquito Repellent.   I’m been extremely impressed with this for keeping ticks and mosquitos away.  It does not work very well while you’re moving but once you’ve stopped (and stay in one place) for about a minute, it does a great job providing you with a bubble of protection.  In fact it works so well, that along with my Permethrin treated clothing, I use no bug spray at all any longer.

Have fun, stay protected and enjoy your summer photography!

Stay in focus,