Is your gear up to the task?

Camera bag and tripod covered in freezing rain
My Gitzo Explorer tripod and Think TANK Streetwalker Hard Drive camera bag covered in freezing rain.

Many people may underestimate the necessity for your photography gear to be weather-sealed, or properly taken care of. It may not be a necessity for some, but if you love the outdoors, and will take your gear out in sub-par weather, then take good care of your gear, and it will take care of you. Don’t take care of your gear, and it’ll be susceptible to rust, mould, and who knows what else?

While I don’t shoot in many extreme situations myself, there are times when I’m thankful my gear will stand up to the crappy weather that even Toronto brings.

One frozen tripod!
One frozen Gitzo tripod!

The day that I happened to go out by the lakeshore, it started to rain freezing rain. I wasn’t expecting it, so I wasn’t as prepared for it as I should have been. I had no cover for my camera, lens, my camera bag, and tripod so it all got covered in freezing rain, making for some unwelcome cleanup afterwards.

Fortunately, my camera and lens were up for the challenge with its weather-sealed protection and sturdy build, there was no chance any water was getting in…or I hoped it wouldn’t have!

Camera gear after shooting in the freezing rain.
My Nikon gear after shooting in the freezing rain.

Even still, proper care is at the utmost importance after-the-fact. Climatize your equipment when changing from one extreme environment to another, wipe clean any residue, and keep things at their best relative humidity (RH) as possible. Before bringing my equipment from the outdoors into my warm house, I packed it up in a plastic bag and left it sitting by a dehumidifier for a good hour or so. I took it out of the bag, wiped the equipment dry of any residue and let it sit by the dehumidifier for a couple more hours just in case. I brought my camera bag in without opening it for a few hours as well, to protect all of my lenses that were inside.

Camera and lens during a shoot in the freezing rain
Nikon camera and lens during a shoot in the freezing rain.

A quick tip to keep your lenses from getting too wet is to keep some of those silicon gel packs in your camera bag. I always have a few in there just in case, and just take them out when I know I don’t need them. They work well, but maybe not in cases like the above!

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