Avoiding your Camera's Worst Enemies
As you plan your next photography outing, remember that even cameras have enemies - the kind that will make you mad or sick to your stomach seconds after they meet your camera. With a little precaution, you can keep them at bay and help your camera live a long and productive life:
Dropping a camera in the ocean, a river or even the kitchen sink seldom has a happy ending unless you have a completely waterproof camera. Using the neck or hand strap can save the day if the camera slips from your hands.
Moisture and condensation are more subtle enemies. When moving from a cold to warm environment or vice versa, the camera can end up being covered in condensation. Coming from the cold outdoors, leave the camera in the bag and allow the whole thing to warm up to room temperature naturally before opening it.
The sound of a camera falling to the ground is never something we want to hear (and as someone who experienced this recently, I know all too well that sick feeling). Using the camera strap is the first step to avoid mishaps.
Protect your gear properly while travelling using padded bags and be careful when passing the camera from one person to another. Add a high quality UV filter to your lens to help avoid any scratches on the expensive glass, and to protect it in case it falls (I can attest that it works!).
The Ocean can be a lot of fun, but the salt coming off the sea spray is not your friend as it will get in the camera and corrode it. Wipe your equipment regularly, use a good UV filter to protect the lens, and avoid changing the batteries or memory cards while near the sea spray.
Dust & Sand:
Cameras are made of moving parts and the slightest bit of sand in them will risk damaging or putting your camera out of action. Sealable bags and small brushes can be useful to keep sand at bay. Plan ahead of time the type of images you will want to take and install the appropriate lens accordingly. If you need to change the lens, memory card or battery, be aware of your surroundings to minimize the risk of sand getting in.
Dust won't damage your camera in the same way, but it will damage it by moving in and settling on the image sensor. When changing the camera lens, keep the body facing down to avoid having anything falling in. Find a sheltered corner, away from the wind to minimize the risk of invisible dust to move in.
Sunscreen & Bug Juice:
When photographing outdoors, it is important to get protected from the sun and insects. However, what might protect you could seriously damage your camera. Sunscreens have nasty oils and insect repellents have chemicals that you don't want in contact with parts of your camera. Wash your hands after applying those products and before touching your camera. And always put the products in a sealed bag if you need to have them in your camera bag.
We are all very careful with our camera gear, but sometimes we can be the victim of thieves. If this happens, here are some interesting sites that can help find your stolen camera again, along with a short article about the limitations of such tracking systems:
I hope this helps you avoid the worst while you use your camera over the holiday season. With a few simple precautions, you will be able to enjoy capturing the perfect moments without any worries.
About the Author
Sophie has been a photographer, educator and traveller for most of her adult life. She founded Better Paris Photos in 2008 (which became Better Travel Photos in 2014) to deliver exceptional photography experiences to travellers.