Protecting Your Camera While Filming Nature and Wildlife In High Heat and Humidity

Some of the most beautiful places in the world to photograph are in some of the most hazardous places. While not necessarily hazardous to humans, elements like heat and moisture can wreak havoc on expensive camera equipment. Whether going out to film nature or storing camera and video equipment between shoots, it is necessary to take the proper precautions in order to ensure the safety of a hard-earned investment.
Heat and humidity can have many different effects that will destroy a camera. Heat can melt down the lubricants that are inside digital cameras and result in expensive repairs or, worse yet, cause permanent damage. Moisture is the other killer. There is little worse than condensation collecting on the inside of a lens and then drying to leave permanent watermarks. Heavy condensation can build up and cause short circuits within the camera as well as creating a breeding ground for rust and mildew on all internal components. Condensation can form rapidly when a filmmaker moves his or her equipment from a hot to a cool environment or vice versa.
Protecting equipment while in the field is easy enough with the proper knowledge. Primarily, one should be aware of the temperature range that the camera is designed to operate in. This will give an indication of when problems might arise. When moving gear from one heat extreme to the other, one should introduce it slowly, allowing it to sit in a bag or other safe storage until it acclimates itself to the new environment. Make sure equipment is stored away whenever it is not in use. Special insulated camera bags can be purchased as well which will help fight against both moisture and heat.
Certain functions in digital cameras, such as Live View or HD video recording, generate large amounts of heat that add to the problem. Some of these heat sources can be lessened in order to counteract this effect. Using an AC adapter can remove the heat from the battery. Using an external monitor, if possible, will eliminate the heat caused by an LCD screen. Setting camera and video equipment in direct sunlight should be avoided at all costs and one should always make sure to keep the lens cap on when not using a camera.
When storing gear the trick is to make sure that it will not collect any moisture while being left alone for long periods of time. Airtight plastic bags are one solution, as are a wide range of special boxes and cabinets that are specifically designed to be airtight. Using silica gel packets in everything will remove much of the threat of damage from condensation. If boxes and bags are not immediately available, then wrapping equipment in a dry towel works as a temporary alternative. A dehumidifier and a humidity gauge are two more must-haves for those with expensive gear they wish to protect.

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