The Queen of the Night: What Women Wear For Astro Photography

Let’s face it. I am both a Queen and an Adventurer.

On the one hand, I am a huge fan of bathhouses, getting buttered up and exfoliated, lying in a pool of bubbling, aromatic waters as my skin softens up and my mind relaxes. I like to smell nice. To dress nice. I embroider. I love roses, peonies in particular. I am feminine, gentle and demure.

On the other hand, I am an adventurer. I can trek through the wilderness in freezing temperatures, jump over wombats in the middle of the night to take photographs of nightscapes in remote parts of the country, and often on my own. I walk 15km every morning and have the endurance of Bear Grylls. I love adventures and going on expeditions to test the limits of that endurance. I am strong, courageous and fun.

I guess there is nothing wrong with being two sorts of women.

This post is intended to help women like me better understand what type of clothing to wear when deciding to do a night session out in the wilderness for photography. I have experienced lots of struggles finding the right gear for my small frame and my needs, but the following is my list.


This is so important! I don’t know about any of you, but I am so cold in the evenings that I need to layer up to a point that it would take at least 45 mins peel off my clothes to see some skin. On my first adventure, I threw on a jacket and pants only to find myself freezing and rushing home halfway through. If you want to enjoy a night out and take the time – as being a photographer requires – to take good photos, you need to be prepared for the cold.

When the skies are clear, the heat from the earth is able to escape that reduces the temperatures to a point of frost. As such, you need to be prepared for such freezing temps, but also comfortable to be able to walk around and bend and move. Here is what I own starting bottom up:

  • Heatbods Thermal Socks – I have really long ones that go up and over my thermal tights, and are at 2.3 tog rating. These are a must!
  • The North Face Women’s Shellista IV ‘Shorty’ Insulated Snow Boot: This has an insulated pocket inside the boot which keeps my feet toasty warm. I got once size up to allow me to wear thick socks, but it is pretty big already so you may want to consider just a half-size up instead.
  • Heat Innovation Long John Thermal Pants: I wear these babies underneath to keep my pegs warm without the itch.
  • Lorna Jane Amy Winter Thermal Tights: These high rise tights are fabulous and have a phone pocket to slide your mobile to keep your jacket pockets free for camera lids and torches. I would recommend getting a size bigger so they are slightly loose. There is no real truth around ‘tighter’ things keeping you warmer. You want to be comfortable.
  • Heat Innovation Thermal Long Sleeve Top: These actually work, despite being thin and are a stable underneath the onslaught of layers.
  • Heattech Fleece Turtleneck Long Sleeve T-Shirt: This is a great turtleneck without the neck itch. If it is particularly cold, I would layer up even more, usually with a jumper or zip-up over the turtleneck.
  • The North Face Women’s Shelbe Raschel Hoodie: I treat this as a ‘jumper’ or a second jacket, but it keeps me really warm with its soft fleece lining and is really comfy. I use this when hiking during the day too when I go on vigorous hikes in winter, so it has double benefits.
  • Kathmandu Epiq Women’s Longline Down Coat: I am obviously a North-Facer, but I decided on this longline coat because it is thinner but has excellent insulation. I have another puffer jacket and I look really puffed! This is thin, flexible and an excellent final layer.
  • Gloves: This is my BIGGEST PAIN. I have very cold hands and blood does not travel through it well when cold. I need my hands to be warm, but the type of gloves that I need are only made for MEN. Sooo:
    • Therapeutic Heat Fingerless Gloves: I wear these underneath to keep my hands warm. It is thin and warm and doesn’t roll about, but also helps with blood flow and stiffness that forms when my hands get cold.
    • Index Finger Gloves: I wear these in a mens medium, because that is all they have! I have tried to find gloves where the index finger can slip on and off for women to no avail. I need this to help keep my hands warm, and to grip my equipment, but also to remove the fingers to use the buttons on my camera without having to take the gloves off. I am persisting they make women’s sizes, or at least men’s small, but for now, I have big gloves 😦
  • Balaclava: Sure, it makes me look like a Russian mafia dude, but you need to keep warm! Its big and soft and sits over a beanie.
  • Beanie: I like to by lined beanie [to avoid tight marks around my forehead and itchiness] and slightly bigger so its sits comfortably under the balaclava.

So yes, a lot of clothing!!!! In Summer, the milkway is not really around and so nightscaping does get limited, but earlier in the year, you can cut some clothing out and even wear thermal socks with runners rather than snow boots. However, I highly recommend that you realise that it does get really cold and so find a way to layer up and keep yourself warm with enough flexibility to carry equipment and move about.

About Me

I am an aspiring writer and photographer, particularly nightscape, landscape and astrophotography. I am also a passionate human rights advocate, especially for women and children.

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