Keeping Your Gear Safe While Shooting In The Rain

Cover Your Gear Before Shooting
Before you even grab your camera out of your bag, carry it in something that keeps the water off and out. Many bags come with a rain cover and a spot to stash it. These will work wonders in keeping your gear dry while in transit to a location. If your bag doesn’t come with one, they cost all of $5 on the cheap it-will-last-one-season end to nicer covers for $20 or more to last a few years. A simple search of or your local sporting goods store will find you what you need. On the super cheap end, a plastic bag works if they are still availavble where you live. One step further is to wrap your camera itself in plastic to protect it while inside a bag, especially if you have no outer cover.

Know Your Gear’s Limits
Check your user’s manual to see how well your camera is sealed. Just about across the board, the more money you spend, the better the seals are on your camera. By seals means all those openings in the body for buttons and screens and the like. In the highest end cameras, these seals can be found everywhere and do a tremendous job of keeping out most rain, as long as the water doesn’t pool up on the equipment. But on the less expensive DSLRs meant for consumers, there are less seals to keep out water.

Bring An Umbrella
From a small travel umbrella to a larger golf umbrella, these tools do wonders when shooting, especially with a tripod. There are even attachments to clamp an umbrella onto a tripod leg for hands free dryness. Shooting with an umbrella takes a bit of practice, to be able to hold the pole of the umbrella under one arm while shooting. Practice before heading out into the elements. The problem with umbrellas is their size. Go for the largest one you can under your circumstances. Too small of an umbrella and too long of a lens leads to

Cover It With Anything
Don’t have an umbrella or the more specific options listed below? Cover your camera with just about anything to keep the weather off. A coat, scarf or spare shirt. Most cameras can take a bit of drizzle, but they are costly to replace when they can’t take any more.

Buy A Rain Jacket For Your Camera
There are a number of options in this category, from the simple plastic bag with a hole cut in it to a more fancy folding unit. OP/Tech, for instance, has a whole line of options. Some covers only cover the camera and don’t offer a sleeve to also cover your controlling right hand. These are cheaper but harder to use. All controls, easy to use on dry land, now become less tactile when covered by plastic. The options with sleeves to also cover your right hand work best but take some practice to use well.

Use Your Lens Hood
Your camera getting dripped on or slightly damp from rain is not the biggest issue. Water falling on your lens is. With water on a lens and rain falling, it is difficult to dry off the lens to continue with clear shooting. In this case your lens hood will help a bit, especially if it is solid and not the flower petal shape. The hood will keep drops off the front element in most cases when the camera is pointed straight or slightly down.

Buy An Adventure Proof Camera
If you don’t need your large DSLR along on all your adventures, or don’t’ want to take it out when the rain is falling, consider one of the ‘Adventure Proof’ cameras on the market today. Such as the Nikon Coolpix AW100, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 or the Pentax WG-1 GPS. These cameras are good to 10m or more under water and can take the rain and mist and downpours. While not up to the same quality as a nice DSLR, they are an option for certain situations when you still want to get out and shoot.

The rain need not keep you from shooting outdoors. With a little perseverance and motivation, shooting in the rain can produce unique images fair-weather shooters will never find.

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