There isn’t much more spectacular than sunrise or sunset at the beach. Immense skies, crashing waves and golden sand can be fantastic elements in an incredible photograph. Unfortunately the sand, sea and salt are all detrimental to your camera gear. The following are some tips on how to protect your camera gear and keep it in perfect working order for as long as possible. Let’s address each destructive element.
Keeping sand out of your camera gear.
Sand is really problematic as it gets into everything and is very difficult to remove. The first step is to keep as much of your gear off the sand as possible. Get a solid bag, we prefer backpacks, preferably one with easy access to your camera gear so you don’t have to put it down. If you do have to put it down find a dry spot or somewhere elevated and watch the tide. The worst thing is to see your gear headed out to sea. Keep it closed as much as possible and reduce the number of times you open and close it. If you need to change a lens change it in the bag pbytected from the wind.
Keeping sand out of your tripod is pretty tricky. Lever locks tend to get less sand stuck in them but it definitely still gets everywhere. One method to achieve increased stability is to push the legs of the tripod into the sand and this of course increases the amount of sand contact. If you are in the water sand will get forced into crevices so try to keep any locks out of the water if possible. By all means rinse and thoroughly clean your tripod after your beach photo trip.
Keeping water and salt out of your gear
The air at the beach is much more humid due to the high water content. This is obviously dependent on climate but try to keep your lens changes to a minimum to reduce water vapor from getting in your camera and lenses. In addition to the water it carries salt which is extremely corrosive. Many lenses and camera bodies are sealed which helps keep out the elements and are obviously preferred for these conditions. Whatever kind of gear you have, by all means make sure to keep your camera and lens well above the water line and watch for rogue waves. If spray is severe it is recommended to use protective covering for your camera and lens. Even a plastic shopping bag will work. Keeping the lens free from spray is a whole other problem entirely.
Taking your tripod in the ocean is a personal choice as it means that it will eventually wear down even if you clean it religiously. We choose to put ours in the water at times as it can greatly enhance the composition. If you do, again try to keep the water below any locks and definitely below the top of the legs and ballhead.
If water does get in your gear. Dry it quickly and hope for the best.
Once you get to a dry and clean environment wipe down and clean all your gear especially your tripod. Rinse the tripod completely and if it needs it, disassemble and clean it thoroughly.
Once its all cleaned and dried get it all ready for your next adventure.
Let’s us know in the comments below if you have any additional tips for keeping the elements out of your camera gear.
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