The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Protect Your Camera

Yesterday was a great day to get outside with your camera and document an uncommon occurrence in Georgia – snow! Not to mention the second time that we have seen snow during the same week.

Cold weather and moisture can cause a little apprehension with photographic equipment. At least it does for me. My first little point and shoot digital camera was sent to an early grave due to spilling (or slightly splashing) a Coke onto the camera body. Anytime I see a spec of rain or any moisture on my digital SLR I think about that old, little Canon Powershot and kind of freak out for a minute.

Cold weather can zap the life of a battery. When you are out and about shooting in cold weather try to keep the batteries warm to extend their use. When in the camera, you can keep the camera close to your body or under a coat except for when you are taking a shot to help keep it and the batteries warm. Any extra batteries that you have on you – keep them “on you” and not in a bag sitting in the cold. Placing them in a pocket (especially if it is an interior pocket) of your coat is a great way to keep them warm.

Even if it is not snowing or raining, moisture can be an issue. If you are out in the cold and then come in to a warm house or car – if the warm place is humid (or moister than the cold place) moisture can condense on the camera and the workings.

I admit that I have not thought much about this and never really taken the precaution that is advised. What you are told to do is to place the very cold camera into a plastic bag prior to entering the warm place. Leave the camera sealed in the plastic until it has warmed to the room (or car) temperature. Any condensation from moisture in the heated space will collect onto the bag, rather than the camera.

Frankly, if I was out in the car – I would just keep it wrapped (and a zip bag is a great idea for this) in the bag until I got home and brought it in to warm in the house.

This whole scenario reminds me of being at the coast and in Florida in the summer time. How many times have you stepped from that wonderfully air-conditioned car or condo only to have your camera fog up for a few minutes – until it is acclimated to the surroundings? Should I “bag” the camera in the summer for opposite temperatures as in winter?

Here is the answer – think about your investment in that camera – are you a gambler? I am not. A zip bag is going into my camera bag today!

For a long time I have kept all of the little silica gel packs that come in shoe boxes (yes I buy a lot of shoes). I place these in various locations where I think moisture could be an issue – like in my camera bag – and keep them there.

Last summer when I was out shooting (in the humid air) and placed my camera into the bag to go into the air-conditioned car – I felt that it was sufficiently protected. Near to home I have not had the camera fog up so as it had in Florida or the Georgia islands in summer.

When I do go out I usually keep a plastic, kitchen-size garbage bag in the camera bag to quickly cover anything exposed in case of a quick shower. Think about it, if your camera is on the tripod and there is a sudden shower, it is easy to slip the bag over everything and carry it to the car. This way I don’t even have to open the camera bag in the rain – I can get to my car, lift the back and have it shield me and the equipment from the rain while I pack everything away and head home.

After yesterday and the amount of moisture I saw collecting on my camera, I am thinking of investing in a rain cape for the camera. I have been looking at them on the B&H Photo website today – they are available at a variety of prices. It makes me wonder is this one of those things that you ‘get what you pay for.’

Right now the top of my list is the Ewa-Marine C-AF100 Hurricane Hood Photo Rain Cape. Something in the product description really got me – the protection against sand – sand is the biggest enemy any camera will face because everyone loves to take their camera to the beach! If you ever see me out – get me to twist one of my circular polarizers for you – that little grinding sound is sand! I think I will order this from B&H to see if it is what I think I need for good, all-round camera protection.

1 comment:

lui355 said...

I love your blog another photographer YESSSS!!!

My biggest concern is the temperature. I have a Canon EOS 40D body and I've heard that the colder it is the more damage it will do to the body (internal things). Any suggestions on shooting in cold weather then going back into a car with the heat blasting?

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