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How to keep your camera gear clean and safe this summer

December 1, 2018

How to keep your camera gear clean and safe this summer

It’s the first day of summer here in Australia! I’m based in Queensland and already our temperatures are settling in the mid-30s ° Celsius and humidity building.

Heat and humidity can be killers for our camera gear. Here are a few tips to keep your camera gear clean and safe during summer.

1 – Don’t leave your gear in a vehicle in the sun.

And especially not in a compartment like a glovebox. A car’s interior temperature can rise by more than 40 degrees within one hour, even when the exterior temperature is only 22 C (72 F). Here in Australia, it is not uncommon for interior car temperatures to be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. On a 29-degree Celsius day, a car can reach 44 degrees in just 10 minutes and a deadly 60 degrees in 20 minutes.

Big Red (8)_1_1280Image courtesy Danielle Lancaster

2 – On the beach

It is beach time here in Australia, and we all love to capture those fantastic family shots. Our summer storms provide an amazing landscapes creating one-off photo opportunities. Seaspray is another killer of our gear. Use a Protector or UV filter to protect your lens from sand and sea-spray. Try and keep your gear shaded under an umbrella for example. A towel still absorbs heat and is not good enough. Never, ever, ever change lenses, memory cards or the battery on the beach unless you absolutely have too. After your outing, use an air blower first to clean the lens as this may avoid scratching the glass then wipe your camera and lens and anything you used on the beach, including a tripod (we prefer to wash ours) with a damp cloth to remove any sea-salt as its highly corrosive.


_DSC2859 _1400Image courtesy Danielle Lancaster

3-Avoid condensation and mould growth

Place packets of silica gel packets in your camera bag. These absorb moisture from the air and come in so many products you may already buy so it’s great recycling. Don’t use the ones that come in food packets though. Our camera bags are literally lined with them. Every couple of months we empty the camera bag, give it a good vacuum out and place all the silica packs in the oven at around 180 degrees for around five minutes to help draw out moisture. At the same time our bags are empty we wipe them inside and out with either white vinegar or Domestos as both are known to kill mould and various fungus – another one of the destroyers of our gear. Like cancer, mould spreads silently at first. We wipe the inside and outside of our bags, lens bags etc and allow everything a good amount of time to dry before placing back in. If you have any gear stored in cupboards, make sure there is air flow.

Warm, humid conditions are ideal for mould growth. Most moulds need temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) or more to grow.  Air conditioning units can assist in the control the temperature and humidity in your home, which can decrease and even prevent mould growth. During the hot, humid summer months, set your air conditioner to between 20- 22 Celsius (68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit), switch auto off and if you are looking to install a unit there are ones on the market now also designed to reduce moisture. Checking the energy rating is advised.


MouldMould is invisible as it starts growing

4- Gradually adjust temperatures

If you are going from a cool air-conditioned room into the heat and humidity allow time for your gear to adjust. If your lens is fogging you simply have to wait. NEVER blow on it as your breath has moisture in it and you are creating condensation and the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Usually, around 30 minutes is an average, but I have had situations where it has taken longer. I try and slowly acclimatise my gear before I leave the cool indoors so there is less shock and less horrible fogging. Taking your lens caps off during this process and when you first go out can assist but I recommend having a blower on hand to gently blow the lens for dust as well.

1920097_10203614651635208_1102599179_nImage courtesy Danielle Lancaster

3. In the rain

Sometimes we do get caught out in a downpour – for me recently this was in Thailand on a canoe trip where it came down fast, heavy and relentless. Carry a plastic bag big enough for your whole bag and a raincoat for yourself. Ponchos can be great as I can fit my bag under the poncho for added protection. Your rain coat should be a long one measuring to your mid thigh at least – it keeps you drier.

If you want to shoot in the rain, use your lens hood to help protect your lens from water droplets and use a rain sleeve. I use a plastic bag and rubber band – see this video on ‘What’s in my bag”.

Whats in the bag


Once home, remove all your gear from the bag and place in a nice airy location (not facing a sea breeze) to dry out. If you are unfortunate enough to have your gear totally saturated by rainwater, place your gear in a bucket of rice to assist drying.


Hope some of these tips assist you for a fabulous summer of photography!


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