Weather can be both friend and enemy when taking photos in exposed locations. What may make for an awesome scene can quickly result in your camera gear being destroyed and the loss of that perfect scene. One of the biggest issues with digital cameras and especially the digital SLR cameras is dust and grime on your camera’s sensor. The best way to avoid dust and dirt spots on your sensor is to always ensure that when changing lens, where you camera’s insides are open to the elements, change it away and out of the wind and weather. Ensure that you put on the camera body caps as soon as possible. If you can, change your lens in your car, tent or shelter. This will minimise any chance of dust and dirt getting inside your camera, which will reduce your camera maintenance bill and improve its longevity.
When climbing high peaks, the temperature at the top will differ from that at the base – the higher you go, the colder it gets. All cameras have a working temperature range (see owner’s manual) that will indicate what temperatures your camera can operate normally. Sub-zero temperatures or very high temperatures will affect your camera and possibly render it useless… just as the sun is setting on the perfect mountain range shot. To avoid temperature issues in cold conditions, put your camera under your first layer of clothing or wrap it well within your bag. Another idea is to use the portable hand warmer patches: place these in your camera bag and this may help keep your gear warmer (just be mindful not to rest the heat bags directly against your camera or lens). Note: Remember that when you take your camera out, allow for it to acclimatise a little, but not too much. You will most likely experience a bit of fogging and condensation when you first take it out. Let that settle, and then shoot away…
Regarding condensation and humidity; is always a good idea to have small silicone satchels in your camera bag. These can be purchased at many retails outlets and can help reduce the effects of water vapour, temperature changes and the effects these have on valuable camera equipment.
Finally, always have a cleaning kit of sorts with you to help remove dirt and moisture from your camera and lens. Treat your camera gear with respect and it will pay dividends into the future.
Award-winning landscape photographer Cameron Blake runs weekend workshops and six-day tours on the Overland Track.