Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.
Protecting Your Camera From Humidity and Sand
If you plan to travel or live in a tropical area, there are precautions that you should take to protect your camera and accessories from the humidity. My husband is a professional photographer and we have been living in the tropics for twelve years. We can tell you about the problems you may encounter and how to avoid some of these.
Often a trip to the tropics isn't only filled with humidity. If you are near the beach there will be other potential problems such as sand, dust, and salt in the air. The result may be dust inside the camera, a scratched lens or at worse a camera that is beyond repair. The humidity will cause mold to grow on the lenses and the salt air can lead to rust inside the camera.
With a little forward planning, you will return home with beautiful images and not a camera that will either need to be repaired or replaced.
If you are traveling with a camera, it should have its own bag. Putting your camera in your handbag or in your suitcase may be convenient but can lead to the scratches and other possible damage. Camera bags are specially designed to cushion your camera, lenses, and other photographic accessories.
There is usually a designated place for you camera's memory cards as well. These too are sensitive to the damaging humidity.
What is Silica Gel
You may have seen silica gel and didn't realize what it was. They often come in boxes along with other packing material. They are the little pouches that are usually tucked in a corner. If you keep your camera in a bag, it's always a good idea to have silica gel packets inside the bag. They are small enough to tuck in each compartment.
These will help keep the moisture away from your camera when you are traveling.
Using Diapers to Protect Camera Equipment
If you think I am kidding, I'm not. Have you ever seen a child with a wet disposable diaper? They are extremely absorbent, and are just what you need. Keeping a camera and lens wrapped in diapers, will keep your camera almost free from moisture. These can be quite bulky so when you reach your destination, this is the place to use these. In a camera bag you should use the silica gel.
Protection From Sand and Dust
Protecting your camera from sand, is important if you don't wish to have a cleaning bill when you return home. The fine particles can blow into the smallest openings on your camera. These can be the openings where the dials move or between the camera and lens. Another place of great concern is the lens. As the sand blows past the lens, it is scratching the surface. If you have felt the sand whipping against you skin, you know how damaging it can be. Purchasing a protective filter will aid in the preservation of your lens.
Whether you are near the beach or in a desert location, blowing sand can prove a problem not just for the camera body but also the lens. A protective camera housing is your best bet but if you can't afford that there are things you can do. A rain sleeve or hood will offer protection not only against rain but also sand.
In a pinch you can use a trash bag and duct tape to protect the most vulnerable areas.
Recycle an Old Refrigerator
If you will be staying in one location for an extended time, consider using a refrigerator. Because of the rubber seals that are around a refrigerator they make wonderful storage units. Ensure the appliance is switched off and dry, then place your camera inside. We have found this to be an excellent storage not just for camera equipment but anything else that is sensitive to humidity. As extra protection, we wrap cameras and lenses in diapers and then place them in the refrigerator.
If you are traveling with valuable camera equipment, travel insurance is a must. Not only is this necessary for medical reasons but also for theft. Check your policy to see if it covers your cameras and lenses. This should also be for damage to your camera not just coverage if stolen. You may pay a bit more for an extensive coverage but in the long run it will be worth the added expense.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Mary Wickison
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on November 05, 2012:
Thank you for the vote.
Unfortunately, protecting the camera is often something that we think of after the fact. Pass this info on to your friend, and hopefully next time they will return with their camera in the same condition as when they left.
Great to hear from you.
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on November 04, 2012:
Good info here. A friend of mine went to Hawaii and had a problem with humidity in her camera. Well done, voting up.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on November 02, 2012:
The diapers may be easy to find but the old refrigerator could prove difficult. We too had to learn this the hard way.
Thanks for stopping by.
Power Ball Pythons from Mobile, AL on November 01, 2012:
Useful! I had to worry about sand when I was deployed out in the desert. Now that I'm in Mobile I have to worry about sand AND humidity. I barely take my best (also most expensive) camera anywhere for fear of damaging it. i had to repair 2 lenses because of humidity. I will certainly use your tips now.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 22, 2012:
We didn't either until it was too late. We had to send them away for specialist cleaning and now are protecting them. The humidity and the salt combined have taken the paint off my 3 year old refrigerator. Plus, my friends who live at the beach, part of their roof collapsed two weeks ago. It wasn't rotten wood, the nails had rusted through!
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Have a great day.
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 22, 2012:
What great suggestions. I honestly did not realize that camera's could be effected by humidity.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 19, 2012:
Not only is it great for cameras, we use it for dried food storage. It keeps the bugs out as well. Plus we always thought it was a great if we get robbed again. Who is going to look in a broken refrigerator for camera equipment!
Dianna Mendez on October 18, 2012:
Here in South Florida humidity is a big problem. Good information to know on how to protect cameras, especially the refrigerator fact. Well done.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 18, 2012:
You're welcome. Living in the tropics definitely has its benefits but unfortunately many cameras aren't made for the climate.
Enjoy your birthday and thanks for the comment.
idigwebsites from United States on October 18, 2012:
I'm planning to gift myself a new camera for my birthday this month, and what a timely hub! We live in a tropical country so these tips are a must to remember and follow. Thanks very much. :)
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 18, 2012:
As they say, forewarned is forearmed. Unfortunately we learned the hard way. My husband has fungus growing on one of his camera lenses and it will have to be sent away to be cleaned by Canon. I wish we had realized the necessary precautions to take sooner.
Thanks for your comment.
flashmakeit from usa on October 17, 2012:
I am glad I stopped by to read your useful hub and if I get a new camera I will know how to protect it.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 17, 2012:
My husband had some odd looks from the ladies at the store when he purchased those diapers. He is over 60 and I am in my 50's. They kept saying, "No, no, those are for babies."
Thanks for the comment.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 17, 2012:
What great ideas! We don't have much of a humidity problem here in Washington, but I will remember what you wrote. Love the idea of the diaper. Great info!