How to prevent Trashing your camera gear
TRASHING gear is par for the course in my world. The above photo shows my second drowned Nikon camera and a 70-200mm lens in one season hiking around the backcountry of New Zealand. Admittedly, even other pro photographers marvel at my destructive habits on both camera gear and fly fishing equipment. You name it, I can break it.
With that admission out of the way, I do consider myself a bit of a trial by fire expert in how to prevent inadvertent damage to your camera gear. The following recommendations can help prevent your expensive photo journeys or vacations from meeting a tragic ending. Specifically, how to minimize water damage…even if I can’t.
- Never leave electronics in dry bags once you have left harsh environments. They become saunas by trapping in ANY moisture you experienced prior to sealing them up. This quickly penetrates the interior electronics of even the best sealed equipment. Creating moisture drops and cloudy glass best case to right out dead electronics worst case.
- When you photograph in either the tropics, or brutal harsh cold winter, always place your gear inside plastic bags when going from these humid or bitter cold environments into an air conditioned or warm motel room. I leave my gear covered in the bathtub for at least an hour to acclimatize to the change. Fight the fog-up!
- Always travel with humidity packs, available at all big photography retailers, inside your traveling camera cases or in a luggage storage compartment. They’re incredibly cheap and can be reusable. If you get separated from your camera gear its almost guaranteed to go into a cold or damp underbelly on your airplane.
So now let me defend myself. Here is my rationale as to why I am so hard on my expensive gear?
Early on in my photography career I would return from trips reliving moments in my mind of remarkable wilderness interactions. Few of which I was able to photograph. The primary reason was that my high quality Nikon camera and lenses were packed away in cushioned waterproof bags to prevent damage. There was never time to unpack them. Great moments were simply experienced and lost (still quite epic in my mind).
So my mantra now is that in order to capture raw, wild moments I must put my equipment seriously on the line in the field and avoid silly and careless mistakes whenever possible. That mindset has led me to capturing unique images like the shot below. I was able to sit in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in rural Idaho with my camera slightly above water level. This became my first “double spread” magazine photograph for The Fly Fish Journal.
One last moral to the story…never ever buy my used gear. It’s not right. Rode hard and put up wet.