It’s summertime and we all want to photograph our family playtime, our vacations and our gatherings with friends. Here are a few tips to keep your camera working well and capturing all the fun throughout the season.
Taking your camera from a cold air-conditioned room and going outside to the hot humid air can cause condensation on the inside and outside of the camera. Moisture, especially on the inside, is never good and can cause damage. It’s best to let the camera gradually acclimate to the warmer temperatures. Leave your camera in your padded camera bag and set it outside (in shade) for about 30 minutes or so. This allows a gradual change in temperature and therefore, no condensation. If condensation does form on the camera, stop using it immediately. Remove the battery, the memory card and lens cap, and keep compartment doors open until the condensation evaporates. Don't remove the lens, leave it attached and just avoid using it again until all the moisture has dried.
Note - the same is true in the winter; going from the cold outdoors into your heated home can cause condensation. When coming indoors in the winter, leave your camera in your bag and let it acclimate slowly to the warmer temperature.
Moisture from Humidity
Silica packs inside your camera bag can help keep moisture at bay and are especially useful if traveling to humid environments (including our DC summers at times). You can find these at any camera store. Carry a lens cloth to wipe off the moisture on your lens caused by humidity.
A day at the beach is a summertime favorite, just keep the beach off you camera and lens. A single grain of sand can cause serious damage so keep your camera protected by wrapping it in a sheet or towel (not plastic as that will cause condensation). Also, if you take your camera bag to the beach, set it on a towel not on the sand. This will prevent any sand from making its way into the bag and onto your gear.
Heat and electronics don’t mix so take care not to let your gear ‘cook’ in your hot car. If it’s not convenient to carry you gear with you when you leave your car, get a cooler large enough to fit your camera bag and put one or two of those plastic ice packs inside the cooler next to or on top of your camera bag. You only need to keep it at room temperature not ice cold. If it does get too cold, just make sure to let it acclimate when you take it out and want to start shooting.
Rain covers are always useful to have on hand in the event of a surprise rain shower. Plastic rain covers let you keep shooting while keeping your camera and lens dry. Try a product called "Rain Sleeve." It's designed specifically to cover a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens and has a drawstring to secure it around the end of the lens. Use a lens hood to keep water off the front lens element so you can continue shooting. It’s a great idea to have a cover for your camera bag as well. Many cases come with a waterproof rain cover tucked in the bottom of the bag. When buying a new bag look for this feature. We still have 2 full months of summertime left, make the most of it and enjoy capturing the fun! Speaking of summer photos, check out our Flickr Group page and share your favorite summer snaps with us there! We'd love to see what you shot! https://www.flickr.com/groups/capitalphotographycenter/