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Jay Curtis
shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Jul 25, 2008 at 3:41:48 am

Following up on the thread from the guy with the smudged lens. I'm looking for the best ideas for avoiding the same fate.

I'm producing a series of daily short videos at the the church youth summer beach retreat next week. (Paying someone was the last resort, but at least I was available.)

I've already made sure they have a UV filter on the camera, and am brainstorming on the best ways to shoot activities on the beach without hurting the camera and lens.

My initial thought is to gaff tape a clear plastic garbage bag to the lens hood, exposing only the lens. That way, the clear-ish plastic bag allows button access while protecting the rest of the camera from sand and salt.

In that scenario, I realize that humidity and temperature changes are the enemy. I'll make sure the camera is acclimated to the outside before securing it in the bag.

Canned air and lens cleaner/cloths will be on the shopping list for cleanup after the fact.

What are some other solutions?

Thanks in advance!

Jay


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Ryan Mast
Re: shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:59:59 pm

What grade of a camera are you using? Are you talking about a Canon XL, Canon GL, or Optura (roughly speaking)?

I've shot with a couple consumer cams and a Sony A1 at the beach without any issues. Don't worry too much about it. Humidity will be your greatest enemy, most likely. I was working a summer camp last year with a small fleet of consumer cams rendered useless by the high humidity. Have a cleaning tape on hand. Sony makes sports cases for some of their cases -- it's waterproof and durable. Might be worth looking into -- it's served us very well, and it'll keep the sand and seawater out for you.



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Jay Curtis
Re: shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Jul 25, 2008 at 9:55:08 pm

Thanks for your help Ryan. I'm shooting with a Canon GL-2.

The only time I've tried shooting at the beach was with my consumer miniDV camera (a couple of years ago) -- it fogged up immediately and didn't have any intention of doing anything else. I had the sense to turn it off and take it back inside to let it dry off before I tried to use it again.

So what's the best way to protect a camera from the humidity? Is it merely a matter of letting the camera adjust to outside conditions before powering up?

Thanks for the case suggestion, but my connection with the retreat came together in less than a week, and we leave on Sunday night.
I'll check on the possibility of a cleaning tape, too.


Jay Curtis

Blue Vase Productions


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Tim Wilson
Re: shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Jul 27, 2008 at 3:21:47 pm

[Jay Curtis] "So what's the best way to protect a camera from the humidity? Is it merely a matter of letting the camera adjust to outside conditions before powering up?"

Pretty much. The heat's not your enemy. Air conditioning is.

I had a production company in the Florida Keys for 10 years. My biggest clients were the national marine sanctuary there and Everglades National Park...but I did many, many sand and saltwater shoots, but the camera did fine as long as I took care of the cool-to-warm transition.

As long as you're taking the standard precautions -- not loading tapes with sand actually on your hand -- I don't think you'll need to worry about much more than air conditioning for the shoot itself. Clean the outside of the camera often though. Unless you're shooting in a boat it's unlikely that things will get too salty, but I still like having some alcohol-free wipes handy. Keeps the camera smelling fresh too.

tw



Tim Wilson
Associate Director, CreativeCow.net
Associate Publisher, Creative Cow Magazine!


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Jay Curtis
Re: shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 11:08:43 pm

Thanks for your insight Tim!

A progress report: it was a trouble free week camerawise. I did end up loosely bagging the camera with a clear plastic garbage bag, using gaff at the eyepiece and lens hood. It was mostly for my sanity, to protect the camera from a wild splash or kick of sand.

Although I was in a cabin with polar bears (they loved the A/C), I didn't have too much trouble with humidity. There was usually that 5 minute walk to the beach that allowed the camera to warm up. On one stormy-looking particularly humid day, I did find that the polarizer liked to fog up on the inside (between the polarizer and the UV filter). I learned that I needed to take the polarizer off until both the camera and the filter had adjusted.

I had them pick up a can of compressed air and a set of lens cleaner & wipes before we left. I used these pretty reguarly, and had no trouble. Thanks to all for the insight!

Jay



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Ryan Mast
Re: shooting near salt & sand: camera protection?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 11:57:35 pm

Glad it went well for you, Jay! Thanks for reporting back on your findings -- it really helps other people when they read through topics later on.

Have any cool video to show off from the trip? :-)



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