Barriere, British Columbia Star Journal newspaper Editor, Jill Hayward, asked me to discuss the use, care of, and protection of cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment during wet conditions. She worried about people carrying and using their cameras under the wet conditions at the North Thompson Fall Fair this past weekend. She also mentioned that she meets many local photographers that have scratched lenses.
I rarely let wet days limit my photography. Nevertheless, with the exception of those expensive pro level DSLRs and, of course, a few small waterproof cameras, most of the cameras photographers use don’t have much resistance to water.
Several years ago my wife, Linda, and I took a photography vacation on Vancouver Island. The weather was forecast to be completely rainy, so we prepared with plastic bags to cover our cameras, umbrellas to deflect water off our viewfinders, hairdryers to dry out cameras and tripods every evening, and wet weather attire because we didn’t want wet clothing. The trip was a bit uncomfortable, but the coastal downpour didn’t stop us from doing photography, and we didn’t waste a day of that trip huddled indoors. We were outside, cameras in hand, every day of that excursion and returned with great pictures, and a fun experience of shooting in the rain.
We had a good experience because we were prepared. That’s the secret. I always carry an old towel in my camera bag. And when water (or soon snow) begins to gather on my camera I continually wipe it off. Those areas I worry about are around the pop-up flash, where the lens mounts, the LCD, and the info window, and anywhere else that I think water might find a way into my camera.
I keep a lens cap on my lens. But what about when one is taking pictures? I know there will be those that advise putting a UV filter on every lens.
UV filters are from a time when we had a necessity to colour balance our film and in the spring we would use (U)ltra (V)iolet filters to warm the colours. Using an old UV filter is fine, as are any of the many different clear filters manufactures are selling for lens protection, but digital sensors no longer need colour correction filters and many photographers worry that inexpensive filters placed in front of their expensive lens glass might degrade the image.
Whether you agree with that notion or not, I think that using a lens hood is much better insurance than clear protection lenses. My advice is to get a plastic lens hood for every lens. Plastic lens hoods protect our lenses by bending, bouncing, and sometimes even breaking in the process of absorbing the impact and saving the lens. Personally I feel safer with a lens hood than a tight fitting glass filter. Anyway, we should always be using lens hoods to keep glare off the lens front.
When I return home after a day of photography I remove the lens and check my equipment. I remove the memory card for downloading to my computer, recharge the battery and, especially after rain, wipe my camera and lenses.
As I already wrote, I don’t let rain limit my photography. And there are times when the rain adds something to a picture.
Country singer Roger Miller wrote, “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” Those are good word for creative photographers. And for those afraid of taking pictures in the rain, another singer, Cher made me laugh when she said, “Don’t take your toys inside just because it’s raining.”
Great post, John.
Thanks Jane. Glad you liked my thoughts.
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Fab advice, I keep a shower cap & elastic band to keep it on the lens in my bag when out with the camera just in case!
Thanks fragg..Hey shower caps are perfect. I have a red shower cap for mine…like minds. I expect folks in your part of the world experience more rain than here in the desert like interior of British Columbia.
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Yes and have to admit I am not a fan of going out in the stuff!
Living in a country where it rains a lot, summer or winter, that is a main issue here and I have already seen all kinds of protection ideas by now… some funny, some absurd and even some well found 🙂
My rain equipment goes into a small purse, not bigger than my hand. It’s got a plastic bag, some lens (glass) tissues and a very small towel. And that has worked fine up to now.
Recently, since I have a small Sony RX100 that works with RAW, I tend to take that along if it looks like rain all day. No, it is not waterproof – but so easy to stash away in my purse in its own bag or to let it disappear in the sleeve of my oversized raincoat if I am walking the streets… 😉
I like your ever-ready rain purse Nil. Great idea.
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Hi John.. It was a pleasure to meet walking on English Bay and enjoy a conversation about photography. I’ll be following along as you continue your blog. Trent Watts
Hi Again Trent, What a fortunate meeting we had out there standing in the sand. I look forward to seeing some of your images in the future. I am so glad you took the time to get in contact. seeya, John
Some of the best images area created on rainy days. To paraphrase an old Boy Scout saying, “Weather doesn’t determine what we do, it determines what we photograph.”
Well said Rich!!!