Monday, June 16, 2014

On the Road (or Plane) Again

by Terri

Photo taken at Asilomar State Beach by my friend and fellow FOL contributor, Susan Case.

Being photographers, our cameras are so important to us. We love them like children and we take them everywhere we go, be it on a day trip in our own home town or traveling to foreign countries. But are we taking the best care of them?
This time of year, many of us are heading outside with our cameras, sometimes on vacation and other times just around home, but in our rush to capture this wonderful time of year, we need to remember to take care of our prized camera gear.

Your gear can sometimes take a beating, no matter what time of year it is. It’s exposed to dirt and wind and pet hair, and subjected to the bumps and jars that accompany traveling. The quality of cameras and lenses these days ensures that they are sealed against the elements and well protected from the abuse that we subject them to. But we should take some precautions to minimize the potential for damage.  

It is very important remember that you never want to wipe your lens with a cloth after it has been exposed to dirt and dust. Wiping it when dirt is present may scratch the lens. To that end, I always protect my lens with a UV filter (shown in number 1 in the collage below), and I clean the filter and lens thoroughly before heading out. I always bring an air blaster to blow the dust off of my camera and lens. I hit the entire outside of the lens with blasts of air before I remove the lens from the body.  

I try to change lenses while I’m indoors rather than outside where dust, dirt or sand can accidentally enter the lens or inside of the camera. I have even brought a clean pillow case with me to the beach in case I want to change lenses while I’m there and I will perform lens changes from within it. When driving, my camera and lenses are secured in a camera case (I never just throw my camera on the back seat) which keeps them safe from bumps and sudden stops.

For short day trips where I don’t want to be saddled with my entire arsenal of equipment, I have recently purchased a Lowepro Passport Sling (#2) camera bag. It is perfect for any outing where my camera and one additional lens is all I need. It keeps my camera and lens protected and has a cross-body strap to keep my hands free and keep it from sliding off my shoulder. There’s plenty of room for all of my personal items, i.e. my phone, keys, money, etc. so if I’m just going somewhere for the day, this is usually all I carry.

Then there’s plane travel.  It took me quite a while to come up with the system I currently use. I feel the need to have every lens I own with me when I travel (I’m trying to get over that but so far unsuccessfully).  Most all of them fit inside my Lowepro backpack-style camera bag (3). Any extra lenses are wrapped in a padded lens wrap and put inside the Lowepro day bag. Inside a small rolling carry-on sized suitcase I pack my backpack camera case with my camera and as many lenses as will fit, my “day bag” with extra lenses inside (discussed above) and my laptop into a small rolling carry-on suitcase.  This way I don’t have to carry my camera and lenses on my back but I know they are all protected inside the padded backpack. I never, never, never put a camera or lens inside my checked luggage. If you’ve ever seen how your luggage is handled by airport personnel, you can understand why you don’t want to subject your gear to that treatment.

Once I am back home, either from a day trip or something longer,  I clean up my camera gear IMMEDIATELY, including the camera case, so that everything is ready to go again when I need it. Then I get to enjoy several hours of post-processing, going through all of the shots from the trip. 

I hope this has given you some ideas on ways you can help protect your camera and lenses. If you have some camera care tips you’d like to share, please do!


Dotti said...

This is such an important and timely reminder for us all. Thank you, Terri! It is too easy to get complacent about camera care, which is silly when we realize how much our gear means to us and how much we have invested in it. We each have to find our own 'system' but the important thing is to take good care. At the beach and I use my old dslr and an old lens and don't change it. I just don't want the sand and grit anywhere near my 'good' gear. Thanks again, Terri!

CarolHart said...

Good information and timely for me as Brian & I will be heading out Friday for a little road trip ourselves. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

Really great post Terri. Super useful. Love the idea of the pillow case. And I love Susan's shot of you shooting. So lovely.

kelly said...

these are such great tips terri! with my new camera, i find that i am much more careful about keeping it away from dust. or flour. ;) but with travel season upon us, i will bookmark this to come back to. maybe find a new camera bag too!

Deanna said...

Hmm, I am not as deligent as you are about camera clean-up. Altho I do have protective lens (UV filters) on my lenses. And I also have that lowepro passport sling carrier. It comes in mighty hand. Thanks for all of these tips, I need to do a better job of taking care!!

susan said...

oh terri… this makes me so happy seeing this shot of you! i remember that day all too well my friend. thank you for sharing all your tips here with us… every little bit helps! xo's

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