Winter is here, and for many of us, that means harsh weather – bitter cold, snow, ice, etc.
Never let those things deter you though because winter is a fantastic time for photography. The biggest thing when braving winter conditions is to be prepared. How’s that classic adage go, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’
That’s definitely true.
With the onset of winter, I’ve started to go through my gear, both photography and outdoor gear. I’ve been organizing, replacing some heavily used stuff, and thinking about my setup for upcoming winter trips.
One item I came across was my pair of Valleret Markhof gloves. The Markhof’s are specialized photography gloves, made by photographers for photographers. Outside of camera gear, these gloves have been my most used piece of gear and have followed me from Alaska to Nepal.
I’ve used the gloves for over 4 years and they were still going strong. Still, some updates to the original model enticed me to purchase a new pair of Markhof Pro V3s (I had been using the V1) and a pair of Hatchet gloves, both from Valleret.
Markhof Pro V3 Photography Glove – $84.95
Hatchet Photography Glove – $109.95
What’s Special About Them?
Valleret makes gloves designed for photography. The most specialized feature of the Markhof Pro V3 and Hatchet (and almost all of the Valleret lineup), is the flip-tech design that allows the thumb and index finger coverings to be flipped back. This allows you to use your index finger and thumb to handle your camera, while the rest of your hand is still covered by the glove.
This seems subtle, but it’s game-changing for photography. Being able to use your index and thumb makes it so much easier to operate and handle your camera in the cold. Especially now, where many cameras offer extensive touch screen functions. I use my index finger to use the touch features on my Z7’s LCD – and I use those features all of the time.
Another key benefit of being able to reveal your index finger and thumb is the huge improvement in overall dexterity. Camera buttons and dials are small and require precision to operate. You don’t have that precision while wearing a glove, so being able to just flip out your finger or thumb is such a time-saver. Not to mention, you can do it while keeping the rest of your hand warm. That’s nice when you’re dealing with frigid winter temperatures.
In the past, I used to take my gloves off completely to operate my camera or use cheap fleece gloves with the fingers cut off. Neither of those solutions is ideal. Then, I bought the Markhof Pro and my life was changed for the better. Seriously, you’ll find these gloves work awesome for photography. I even appreciate them when I’m in the field and need to use my phone to bring up PhotoPills, I just flip back my finger and boom!
Functionality, Warmth, and Appearance
Valleret has designed an awesome flip-back system for photography – of course, that’s great, but there are also other important features to consider. Are they functional? What about warmth – overall appearance?
For me, the Markhof Pro started out as my photography trip go-to gloves but slowly transition into my daily drivers. That has a lot to do with how functional they are overall. I like the flip-back system for phone use, as I mentioned, and I think that has a lot to do with why I wear my pair for non-photography reasons.
I mentioned that I owned my first pair for over 4 years – they’re super durable. The thing that impresses me most with the new Markhof and Hatchet is the overall quality. These gloves are not made from cheap materials. They’re designed to be durable and last for years, even with rugged use.
In terms of warmth, both gloves have 100% merino wool inner lining. The Markhof Pro V3 features Thinsulate insulation (C100/C70), the Hatchet features Primaloft Gold insulation (170/133). The Hatchet is warmer overall and better suited for colder temps. The Markhof Pro V3 is better suited to be an all-season glove, that has good warmth for milder temperatures.
Both gloves look great. You’ll notice that the Markhof Pro V3 and Hatchet have a different construction. The Hatchet is a full leather design, versus the hybrid-leather design of the Markhof. The Markhof also has a sealed zipper pocket, which I use to store microfiber clothes.
I’ve had no issue with the durability of the Markhof, but in terms of design, the Hatchet should be a bit more durable and better suited for rugged use.
What Glove to Go With?
I decided to pick up the Markhof Pro V3 and the Hatchet to cover myself for a variety of situations and climates.
If I had to pick one, the Markhof Pro V3 is the do-it-all glove, in my opinion. It’s so versatile and it’s useful in all seasons. In winter, it provides enough warmth for temperatures down to the teens and in all other seasons, it’s the perfect glove. I’ve used my pair from summer in the mountains to winter in the Midwest.
I do like the sleek look of the Hatchet’s and the leather design. The extra insulation is nice too if you know you’re going to consistently be in cold weather.
Extreme cold weather doesn’t worry me much because I generally use two gloves for sub-zero temps. In the past, I’ve worn the Markhof as a liner and I’ve worn a larger mitten over them. Valleret has a really nice solution for dual gloves with their Alta Over-Mitt (retails for $109.95). I’d check that out if you’re routinely shooting in single digits and negative temperatures. I find the dual-glove system to work well for photography because, in those temps, you want to be able to operate your camera, but it’s crucial to prevent frostbite and to keep your hands warm. Overall, I love both gloves, but if I had to recommend one, I’d get the new Markhof Pros and an Alta Over-Mitt.
I’ve tried a lot of other glove options out for photography. I’ve bought lots of different fleece gloves, from fingerless to flip-tops, leather gloves, and general outdoor gloves. The biggest thing I find is that many of the fingerless or flip gloves are cheap. Sometimes cheap in price, but mainly cheap in quality. They tend to not last very long. I remember buying a pair of fingerless fleece gloves for a trip to Zion and after everything I put them through, they were toast after a week-long trip.
I like Valleret a lot because the gloves are functional for photography and do everything that I want them to. But, just as important, they last, and they’re durable. Quality goes a long way for me and I’ve noticed it in the 4 years of using Valleret gloves. If you follow me, you know I go backpacking and try to get off the beaten path as much as I can, so I have put my own gloves through the wringer.
Shop Valleret gloves here: https://photographygloves.com/
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com