In the previous chapter, we focused on Which camera to take with you on a trip and Tools and Accessories to recording your trip.
In this post, you’ll learn how to protect your Camera Gear from the elements. Maybe you’re heading to a hot humid location, or plan to soak up the sun at the beach, or maybe you’re going on Safari across the dry, dusty plains of Africa. A camera’s two worst enemies are water and dirt. Sheltering your camera from both is really important. So how do you do that?
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way.
If your DSLR or video camera can use filters, I highly recommend getting a UV filter. These are clear and they just screw on to the front of your camera. And they will protect your lens from scratches, salt spray, and dust. I leave mine on all the time.
DSLR Waterproof Case
Now you can buy special rain covers like this for many different kinds of cameras, some of them are even waterproof so you can use your camera underwater. Unless you’re planning to record video during a tropical rain storm though, you probably don’t need one.
Here’s a free hack for protecting your camera from light rain or drizzle.
You know those little shower caps that come in many hotel rooms? Well take one of these, poke a hole in the middle, and put it over your lens. And then just wrap the rest of it around the body of your camera. The Nice thing is, it’s wide enough to cover it but you can still see the screen and access the different controls. If nothing else, a shower comes along, just throw your whole camera right into the shower cap. Close it up, and it’s protected. So the next time you’re in a hotel room and you see those little useless shower caps, grab one and throw it in your bag. You never know when it might come in handy.
Speaking of hotel rooms, many have air conditioning. This is great for staying comfortable, but it can cause a real problem with your gear if you’re in a really hot, humid location. When you take your nice cold camera outside to record video, the lens will fog up. This will eventually clear, but then when you take your warm camera back into that nice cool room, condensation forms. When you’re doing this repeatedly, like I was in Mexico, your camera might stop working because moisture gets in the inner workings.
The same thing happens if you’re visiting a really cold location and you’re moving back and forth between heated buildings and the outdoors. I have a plastic zip lock bag full of little silica gel packs. They’re often put in shoe boxes or handbags or vitamin bottles to absorb any moisture in the air and protect the goods. Most people just throw them away, keep them.
When you bring your camera inside, from a hot humid environment, seal it inside a zip lock bag with a few of these little silica gel packs the seal it up. They will remove any moisture from your camera.
What To Do If Your Camera Gets Wet
If your camera or phone gets seriously wet, do not turn it on whatever you do. The first thing you should do is remove the battery. And then you should remove any little SD cards that you have as well. Open up any little doors and compartments to let the air in. Then carefully dry any water from the outside of the camera using a soft towel or lens cloth. I’ve even used a hairdryer on a very low setting to help dry things off. Then what you’re gonna want to do is put your camera again in a bag with some of those little silica gel packs or even some rice grains and seal it up good, leave it somewhere warm and dry for at least 24 hours. Once you’re confident it’s completely dry, then replace the battery and switch it on. This method may or may not work. It depends on just how wet the camera got. If it was completely submerged in water, you might be out of luck at the very least; you’ll probably have to have to get it professionally cleaned and repaired. And as bad as fresh water is, salt water is even worse. Saltly is corrosive, so you don’t wanna get your gear wet with salt water.
One of the advantages of traveling with an action camera, like a GoPro, Is that they are encased in a hard plastic protective housing that’s waterproof and dust proof and drop proof. They’re meant to be used in the water and snow and dirt, you name it. One thing you might have noticed when you use one of these in the water though, is that little droplets sometimes stick to the lens. I like to spray a little bit of water repellent; Rain-X is an example. I spray it on the lens and that will repel the water droplets. You can find these water repellents in many auto part stores. People spray them on their windshields to help repel rain, sleet and snow.
Waterproof case for smartphone
As for smartphones, there is a wide variety of cases you can get to protect them from water, sand and scratches. Another reason these devices have become so popular for capturing photos and videos on vacation.
One item that I never leave home without, if I know I’m going to be near water or in a rainy lake location like the jungle, is a dry bag. These are made out of a rubbery, waterproof material and they come in all different sizes. They’re often used on rafting and kayaking trips to keep clothes and food dry. I just put all of my expensive camera gear, and my microphones and stuff inside, then I roll down the top a couple of times, as recommended. And then, whoopsie. Then you just seal it up. It’s watertight, this thing could fall overboard and everything inside would be protected. I’ve actually used it during monsoon rains in the jungle. I’ve attached it to my belt as I repel down waterfalls. It just gives you peace of mind knowing that your gear is safe and dry. You can find dry bags in most sporting good stores.
If you’re travelling in developing countries, be mindful of the fact that the camera you’re carrying may be worth more than many citizens earn in an entire year, that can make you a target for robbery, or worse. I always bring a small day pack to keep my gear in when I’m not using it. And I watch this like a hawk. This one is a great one, because it’s waterproof and it folds up really, really, really small.
I hope you found these tips helpful to protect your camera gear while traveling. In the next lesson, you’ll learn how to be mindful of foreign cultures and customs when you’re capturing video.