I think we all love nice sunny days to go out and photograph the world around us. Bright light, shadows, white puffy clouds, 70 degrees, no humidity, and breezes that stop when we decide to shoot a macro flower shot. How much better can it get.
Unfortunately we have to step back into the real world and accept the fact that nature can have a tendency not to play nice all the time. But as diverse photographers we can always be up to the challenge.
I happen to love rainy weather for creating images. Sure it is lacking a lot of the elements I noted in the first paragraph but it comes with its own set of goodies for making dramatic photographs, especially in black and white, or for some really nice saturated colors. Did I say Fall is coming? If mother nature provides us with a great Fall colors we should do a rain dance for at least a couple of soggy and moody rain days and you will know what I mean.
—–That brings me to the point of this article. Water, rain, snow, ice, streams, rivers, boats, fishing, soda, milk, orange juice. The one thing all of these things have in common is they involve some way of getting WET.
—–Getting camera gear wet is not a fun thing to do. I remember oh so many years ago that our repair technicians had a call from a photographer using a Nikon F2 with an 80-200 zoom on an assignment at the beach and he had dropped his camera and lens into the surf. It was quick and he pulled it out pretty quickly from what he said but it was soaked in salt water. The technician told him over the phone to get a bucket of FRESH WATER and stick the camera in it to prevent salt damage, and rusting. Then ship it to Nikon in a big bottle of fresh water and they would repair it, and they did. Unfortunately with todays digital cameras that would not work SO DON’T DO IT. The lens however was another story and was beyond economical repair.
—–Let’s fast forward to today. We now have digital SLR cameras as well as COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERAS, and some of them state weather resistant or water resistant, or water proof or weather sealed. Semantics. I have even seen YouTube videos where someone was pouring a glass of water on a camera or standing fully clothed in a shower to prove how water tight their brand new camera was. I would call this gentle rapid run off and stupid.
—–I had a call today from a photographer who shall remain unnamed as well as the camera gear he was using. He called to find out what to do about his camera and lens which he was using during hurricane “Odile” off the coast of Mexico. He had the camera and lens on monopod and was facing into some incredible winds and rain. Within 10 minutes of shooting his equipment stopped functioning. When I asked him how the wind and rain got through his very expensive RAIN COVER he admitted that he had not used it because his BRAND NEW CAMERA AND LENS were “WATER AND DUST RESISTANT.”
—–Oh! The lens was not sealed against the elements.
—–Once again semantics comes into play and how much you believe marketing hype. I am pretty sure, but I am also no expert, that “water resistant,” “splash proof,” and similar terms mean that the camera has SEALS around the chassis, around the buttons, battery compartment, card compartment, flash shoe, etc. will help prevent water from getting through in the case of a drizzle, falling snow, mist spray off a water fall, but will not be much help in a driving steady rain. For that matter the rain probably does not have to be driving, just steady and perhaps heavy.
—–For as long as I can remember photographers have always protected their gear from the elements with what they had handy. A coat, a hat, a towel, a car mat or for sure a professionally made rain coat, rain cover for their cameras and lenses and yes their flash. There is never, ever a time when I do not have one of these in a camera bag. As a matter of of fact, a lot of back packs, camera bags, etc. come with a rain cover to cover the whole bag when necessary. Now what do those bag manufacturers know?
—–There are lots of rain covers out their for cameras gear. Some are about as resistant as a weather resistant camera and lens. Others which I shall name are highly protective and fold up nicely into a pocket or camera bag.
Lenscoat Rain covers MY FAVORITE
Aquatech Rain Covers (shields) Big bucks and big size
ThinkTank – Big bucks and big size
Vortex Rain Cover – these would be my 2nd favorite choice
—–You can see that I have marked my favorites. I like these because they are tripod and monopod usable and they are highly protective in a small light weight package. They cover a large range of camera, lens and flash combinations. They fold up into a very compact package which means they do not get in your way or take up much space in a camera bag.
—–Be smart and save yourself a lot of grief. Rain covers have a long history of protecting your very expensive camera equipment but the jury or juries are still out on just how protective cameras with SEALS truly are. I guess we could try and find out what a camera and lens manufacturer warranties really say they will protect when it comes to liquid.