Tips for Keeping Your Photography Gear Safe

Keeping your gear safe when taking pictures outside can be quite a challenge. Yet every photographer will tell you the best natural light is outside, come rain or shine. Here are four dangers to your camera equipment you may encounter and what you can do about them.

  1. Water – Rain, moisture, or condensation on your lens
  2. Sand – Danger of scratching expensive lenses
  3. Sun – UV rays are a major issue that filters can protect
  4. Cold – Freezing temperatures can cause condensation
safe photography gear

Photo captured by Beebo Wallace

Cameras Are Not Water Resistant

I can’t count how many times I’ve been caught in the rain while out taking pictures. Taking pictures of flowers with dew drops or rain drops on them can have a set back or two. And those expensive camera lenses seem to attract condensation like bees to honey. I’ve been known to tuck my camera under my coat. Once I even had to slip it under my shirt as I darted for shelter. But there are easier ways to protect your camera from rain and snow.

If you’re going to venture toward water of any kind, you might want to consider protecting your camera lens. Camera bags come in a variety of sizes and most will even carry the additional items you might need to keep your gear safe while taking outdoor pictures. You can even purchase a special housing for most cameras that will allow you to shoot underwater. I just noticed today you can also purchase a portable umbrella just for your camera. It attaches to your tripod and protects your equipment from sun or rain.

Watch Out For Sand

Have you ever seen a camera lying unprotected on a beach blanket near the ocean? That scenario brings up two red flags. The first is water again. Being close to the ocean means high humidity all by itself. Your camera lens will gather moisture. You can expect some condensation if you do not have your camera protected.

The other danger is sand. You need to take extra care in cleaning your lens after a day at the beach. Sand acts as an abrasive and will scratch those expensive lenses. You may want to use canned air to blow any sand particles away. And be sure and use cleaning supplies made especially for cameras. Most cameras sell an accessory kit that includes just about everything you might need to protect your camera from outdoor mishaps.

Take Care of Sun Glare With Filters

Most of the accessory kits I mentioned also include filters. Filters protect your camera from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They also protect against sunspots and flares on your photos. Some photographers even use those filters for special effects.

Freezing Temperatures

You look out the window and snow is piling on the pines. Your first thought is to grab the camera and take a walk, right? I love freshly fallen snow before plows come through and turn it into piles of dirt. But again your camera needs tender loving care. Those freezing temperatures are once again an invitation for moisture to gather on the lenses.

A camera bag will help, but you may be just as well to tuck the camera under your coat to allow body heat to keep it warm. If you notice moisture on the lens, return indoors as quickly as possible. Allow your camera to dry. All should be fine. Outdoor photography is fun and full of adventure. Just make sure you take steps for keeping your gear safe while taking pictures outside.

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2 responses to “Tips for Keeping Your Photography Gear Safe”

  1. Mark says:

    This article has a few flaws. Under the sand section, you advise using “canned air” when that is DEFINITELY not recommended. The propellant used to create the pressure in the can often comes out as a liquid and that chemical CAN RUIN A LENS by damaging the factory coatings. When I am paying as much as $1600 US for a lens, I sure don’t want it ruined with chemicals. All reputable sites recommend a bulb type blower that only blows the air around you. Many suggest the “Rocket Bulb Blowers” that are for sale at any camera shop or even online at Amazon. The second flaw is under “freezing temperatures”. Taking a warm camera out into the cold will seldom cause fogging because the cold air is dryer than indoor humid air. The best way to handle this is to take a large zip lock bag with you when you go out. When you are finished shooting (and before you come inside) put the camera in the zip lock bag with the dry outside air. When you enter into the building, wait until everything has warmed up to room temperature before opening the zip lock bag!!! This method will avoid all condensation that could damage your camera. And a side note about cold temps- batteries hate cold. Take spares but keep them in an inner pocket near your body. When you get a low battery warning, switch them and put the low battery near your body heat. IT WILL OFTEN GET ANOTHER USABLE CHARGE FROM THE WARMTH. This won’t be a full charge, but it often is enough to get a few more shots out of. Those shots might just be the difference between success and failure!

  2. George Hazelton says:

    I second Mark’s comment on canned air. It should be used very carefully if at all. Another source of a serviceable bulb blower is your drugstore; ask for a bulb syringe. While there, have a look at a makeup brush. These typically are very soft and unlikely to scratch your lens as you brush away surface dirt and grit. Just make sure that these tools are reserved for the camera!

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