Take Your Camera Out In The Snow!

Bad Weather, Good Photos

It’s snowing here today.  Such stormy weather can provide opportunities for beautiful and unusual shots. So, I was very eager to get out and see what I could find.  However, there’s nothing worse for your camera than getting either water or sand inside it.   So as I was getting ready to go out and take some pictures,  I looked around the kitchen for something to protect the camera.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I was out of zip-loc bags.

Zip-loc Raincoat

A large zip-loc bag can make an acceptable raincoat for a DSLR or similar camera.   The camera goes inside the bag, and the lens pokes out the opening of the bag.  You can snug the bag around the lens barrel with a rubber band, or sometimes the zip-loc itself will hold.  But what do you do if there are none around?

Cling-wrap Will Do

Camera, lens and lens hood covered with cling-wrap

Camera, lens and lens hood covered with cling-wrap

The one thing I did find in the kitchen was cling-wrap.  I thought I’d give it a try.  Since my lens had no water seals (most don’t),  I wrapped the lens loosely around the lens barrel, overlapping the camera body a bit.  I made sure that the wrap was long enough to go all the way around the lens barrel and overlap itself by several inches.  This kept the wrap from unraveling in the wind.  My camera body does have water seals (some Nikon and Canon bodies have seals), so I didn’t need to completely cover the camera body itself.

I also used a lens hood to help keep snow from falling on the lens.  In such conditions, it’s a good idea to keep a microfiber cloth in your pocket to wipe the lens when it gets wet.   If you do this, use a very gentle touch and make sure there’s no grit on the microfiber cloth.  You want to absorb the water without scratching the lens.  I also put a UV filter over the lens for added protection in such cases.

Because the cling-wrap clings to itself quite well, it managed to stay on the lens even in a moderate wind.  Surprisingly, I had no trouble operating the zoom ring on the lens (the wrap was loose enough for short turns).  All in all, it worked surprisingly well.  The lens was bone dry when I got back home.

Come In Out Of The Cold, Carefully

Incidently, when you bring your camera in out of the cold, make sure you keep the camera in its camera bag with the lens cap on until it has a chance to warm up SLOWLY.   If you bring a cold camera into a warm room with nothing covering it, water will condense on and in the camera and lens.  This can cause internal parts to rust and jam, or even short the electronics.

Snow Photo

Here’s a shot I took with the make-shift wrap.

Snow Covered Tree © Tony Passera 2010

Snow Covered Tree © Tony Passera 2010

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