There are many ups and downs associated with landscape photography in the summer months including clear blue skies, high sun, harsh shadows and very early starts for dawn. However one of the biggest issues for those operating in the north of Britain is that of the midge. Milder, wetter winters will I suspect lead to more successful midge breeding and increasingly it seems that insects that once failed to survive hard frosts are now wintering through. Responses range from getting bitten to death and complaining about it to refusing to go out on still days.
For many, the midge net forms a sufficient barrier to allow some semblance of normal working. I usually add some gloves to effectively cover all exposed skin. Opinions and techniques vary but I find it almost impossible to see clearly through a viewfinder or effectively use an LCD due to the mesh of the net in front of my eyes.
I’d rumbled along over the years with a blend of making the best of it and occasionally lifting the net to compose but the process was never satisfactory. On one particularly difficult morning I started thinking about a solution and by the time I got home I had the bones of an idea. However a preliminary Google quickly established that someone had not only had the same idea but had a product on the shelves. Enter ‘Netspex’.
Before I go any further, having tried out Netspex at the end of last summer, a fundamental point needs to be made. If you buy a pair you are going at best to look silly…if not downright disturbing. You may to place signs around to prevent frightening nervous adults or small children.
Netspex are an amalgam of UVEX clear lens safety glasses and a midge net. The net does its usual job of keeping midges away while the clear lenses allow the viewing of the viewfinder, screen, EVF or ground glass etc. I’ve tended to try to breathe away from the glasses which helps enormously with condensation.
In my original thoughts, I’d wondered about a single large panel like the visor on a motorcycle helmet. I asked Mike Jack (the designer) about this and he confirmed my suspicions that it was harder to keep the visor in exactly the right position and said visor was also more prone to steaming up.
In use the Netspex are easy to put on and work exceptionally well. They protect against the midge as well as any decent midge net and the glasses are very clear indeed. You can wear the set over or under a hat or on your bare head. I find a baseball peak gets in the way somewhat as might any wide brimmed hat if wearing the net over the hat. After some experimentation I’ve generally chosen a small skull cap under the net. I’d use a baseball cap but I find the peak gets in the way when shooting portrait format images. There’s a probably a better alternative but I’ve not got there so far. The glasses and attached net come in a stuff bag and a hard outer protective case.
I’m happy to recommend this solution, it changed the game for me at the end of last summer and I’ve just packed them in the bag for new week’s trip to Scotland. (Hope not to need them in May but you never know). They seem to be little known and the only other person I’ve seen refer to them is the great Chris Townsend. His review is here.
Netspex only seem to be available direct from the manufacturers for £27.50 at