13 Dec Summer Warning
Summer in Western Australia is just starting and already we have had one or two warm days. More will come, and some will be quite hot. Prudent photographers will want to take precautions to prevent damage to their equipment or injury to themselves.
As you can see from the heading image, it is already too late for this Nikon 24mm lens – someone left it on the window sill in full sunlight and it melted. Fortunately our repair department will be able to straighten it up again, but you may not be so lucky with your own gear. Protect it from sunlight – particularly if it is left in a closed car.
You’ll also want to check the condition of electrical equipment in the heat. As you know, batteries deliver less power in cold weather – photographers are urged to put their spare batteries into their pockets to keep them warm if they are shooting in the snow. Well, what do you think happens then it gets hot outside…and you are shooting with batteries that get hot as they discharge? Yep.
This is also a thing with some portable flash guns. If you fire them fast, the tubes inside heat up and can damage the circuits. Some makers put heat sensors in there and make arrangements for the flash to turn itself off in this situation, and it may be some time before it cools down enough to continue shooting. Likewise, some AA batteries get quite hot in this sort of a situation as they discharge energy rapidly – add environmental heat and you’ve got to be really careful that you don’t burn yourself when it comes time to change them out.
A practical solution for the flash shooter is to have more than one flash gun and to rotate them during a busy shoot. Dance shows can be like this and I swap between three guns – opening up the battery door to let the AA cells cool a little.
Some cameras also run hot – no names, no pack drill – but you might check yours to see if it is one of these. Baby it along a little if the outside temp is also elevated.
Summer is also a season when there is more dust about. Consider this as you contemplate changing lenses in the open air. If your sunnies have a film of dust it is a warning that your sensor can quickly acquire one as well. If in doubt, keep it closed. If you do get half the paddock into your camera, bring it in to Camera Electronic and let our technicians clean it professionally. DO NOT rinse it out with the hose…
Summer is also holiday and travel time for a lot of WA photographers. Presuming that you have thought out your camera outfit for your trip and know just the perfect combination of lenses, bodies, monitors, tripods, etc dive for your household insurance policy or your travel tickets and see if there is any insurance protection for your gear while you are away from home. Some policies provide this up to a specified amount.
Then calculate how much it would cost to replace the outfit you are contemplating as a travel pack. Frequently you’ll find that it is way more expensive than the insurance will cover. This is a clue to either take out a special rider on your existing policy for the trip, or to engage especial photographic gear insurance. Come to Camera Electronic and we can advise you of the firms that do this.
All that said, here’s to summer! I am going to take my travel kit to Melbourne and Sydney at the end of January and I’m even going to listen my own advice about how much to lug and how to protect it.