Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Spring is every bit as unpredictable as other seasons. Check out these tips and products for shooting at this time of year.
Hypothermia can occur when your core body temperature drops as little as 2º F. Spring is a prime season for hypothermia because many people don’t pack the necessary layers to stay warm when temperatures suddenly dip. Also, we lose heat 25 times faster when we’re wet, which can quickly turn a mild spring day into a hypothermic situation. A good pair of waterproof, breathable shell pants like The North Face Venture Side Zip Pant ($89 estimated street price, www.thenorthface.com) and the Columbia Thunderstorm II Pant ($42 estimated street price, www.columbia.com) can keep you dry in spring. The Mountain Hardwear Epic Jacket ($120 estimated street price, www.mountainhardwear.com) or the Columbia Hail Tech Jacket ($90 estimated street price, www.columbia.com) are both great choices for your upper body.
Technically, there are three stages of hypothermia: mild, moderate and severe. The symptoms of shivering (or mild to moderate) hypothermia are controlled or uncontrolled shivering, lethargy and the “umblings”—stumbling, mumbling and fumbling—all signs of decreasing dexterity. Non-shivering hypothermia is a much more serious case and should be treated as a medical emergency and calls for immediate professional medical attention.
Treatment for companions with mild hypothermia, first and foremost, is to keep them shivering! Shivering is the body’s mechanism to warm itself up and it’s a great ally in the fight against hypothermia. You also can gently apply heat externally by using air-activated chemical hand warmers such as the Grabber brand variety pack ($19 estimated street price, www.warmers.com) or a fuel-powered warmer such as the Zippo Hand Warmer ($19 estimated street price, www.zippo.com). Most importantly, get out of the cold weather and into a warm vehicle or building.
Bears typically hibernate throughout the winter; however, warming weather and new vegetation are sure signs that the bears are coming back. During springtime there will be a higher concentration of bears in low-lying areas, increasing the odds of an encounter with an unsuspecting photographer. One way to respond to bear encounters in the wild properly is to avoid them. Consider storing your food in a bear-resistant canister such as the BearVault BV500 canister ($71 estimated street price, www.bearvault.com). Available in a variety of sizes, canisters are ultrastrong containers that keep your food out of reach of a hungry bear and even are mandatory for overnight stays in some places like Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. No matter how long you’re planning to be in the field, always check with your local park organization for any bear notices in the area that you’re preparing to visit.
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