How to Protect Your Camera in Harsh Weather Conditions
Picture or it didn’t happen, right? Regardless of where you live or where you’re traveling, odds are you and your camera will be running into some sort of extreme weather this year – don’t be caught off guard! Prepare for the harsh conditions like a pro with a few tips and tricks from the pros.
- Bring extra batteries.
Freezing weather causes batteries to lose charge much faster than normal, so bring along extras and keep them warm. If you don’t have any coat or pant pockets available, put the batteries in a small plastic sleeve and wear it on a lanyard under your jacket – this also makes for easy access! Don’t be afraid to throw in a hand warmer for extra heat.
- Store camera and equipment with silica packets.
Those small, beady packets that come in EVERY new purse or box of shoes you buy? Don’t throw them away. Tropical, humid travel destinations are especially popular this time of year, so reduce condensation and throw those silica packets in to absorb moisture. If you don’t have any on hand, you can order some on Amazon for less than $10.
- Keep equipment in Ziplocs.
Any experienced photographer can tell you how valuable Ziploc bags are when it comes to camera protection. By putting everything in Ziplocs, you’re keeping any moisture or condensation on the outside of the bag rather than inside your camera. If you’re stepping outside into a humid climate, allow the camera to heat up to the outside temperature before removing it from the bag in order to prevent lens fog – likewise if you’re stepping inside a warm room from cold temps outdoors.
- Buy protective equipment.
Wet conditions? A rain sleeve or rain cover is convenient, affordable, and absolutely essential. In the sun, UV filters will protect your lens from harmful rays but also scratches and infiltration from windblown sand, dirt, and dust particles as well. Most importantly, splurge on a safe and ultra-protective camera bag; we recommend a Pacsafe bag, like the Pacsafe Camsafe V25, and it even comes equipped with anti-theft features!
Limit your lens changes. If you must switch lenses, do so inside a car, plastic grocery bag, or under some sort of other protection and point your camera toward the ground when switching the lens. This is advised for any extreme conditions, as damage from unwanted sand, dust specks, and water droplets are all too easy to attract.
- Avoid rapid temperature changes.
Allow time for temperature adjustment. Keeping your camera in your camera bag for a moderate period of time before directly exposing it to harsh conditions is crucial. After getting your shot, immediately return the camera to the bag to keep it at a neutral temperature – don’t leave it hanging around your neck!
- Prevent overheating in hot climates.
In hot weather, your camera needs to cool off just as much as you do! Don’t let your camera get so hot to the point of overheating; take short breaks in an air conditioned car to get your camera back to a normal – and operable – level. Turning off your camera’s display screen and not using video will also help limit the amount of heat your camera generates. Never leave it exposed in the hot sun for extended periods of time.
Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego, California. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them on their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by following their adventure travel blog.