Whether we are outdoor or indoor photographers, one thing is for sure. We give our camera and gear a workout. And like any workout machine, there's always a few things we should do to keep it in tip top, ready to go shape. Now is a great time to apply little bit of nice care to our camera gear.
- Keep the camera bag clean and organized – How many camera bags have you been through? Do you need a new bag or does your current one need a refresh? As camera and equipment collections evolve, so does the need for reconfiguring your camera bag or getting a different one. Take a few minutes to clean out the bag in its entirety. Wipe out debris and junk. Complete the process by readjusting the compartments to make it easy to access your gear quickly while keeping it protected.
- Clean the sensor (or have the sensor cleaned) – Even when we are careful with our cameras and lenses, dust finds its way inside. Sensors can be cleaned by a professional for a fee or you can do it yourself. Note: before cleaning the sensor, read the instructions as the sensor is fragile and it is very costly to repair. Check out Jason Row's article of: Essential Photography Tools which highlights tools for sensor cleaning.
- Change lenses efficiently and cleanly – We all need to change lenses from time to time while out in the field. To keep dust and debris far, far away from entering our camera:
First, be prepared with the lens swap. Have the exchange lens ready to go. To protect the front of your lens, leave the lens cap on the front until the exchange has taken place.
Second, when changing lenses, ensure that the camera is turned off and facing down. Take the top of the lens you will be exchanging with and then quickly and gently put the new lens on the camera.
Third, when changing lenses outside, lens changing bags are available, such as the Lowepro LP36446-0AM S&F Lens Exchange Case. If in a car, it's also helpful if the heater or air conditioning is turned off. The lens that you removed from the camera should have the top put on quickly and then put into storage.
- Keep a rainsleeve ready and a towel on hand – Our cameras are tough pieces of equipment. Yet, with all of the mechanics, we need to be prepared to protect our gear from the elements. A rainsleeve in every gear bag ensures you can keep shooting when the rains, sleet and snow persist. If your camera gets wet, use a towel on the body (not the lens, use lens specific cleaners only!) to keep it dry.
- After photographing outside in the cold, let it reach room temperature before downloading and operating your camera indoors – As warm air forms condensation on cold surfaces, this can happen when bringing our cold camera into a warm house, coffee shop, etc. Easy prevention tip is to leave your camera in the camera bag and let it warm up naturally. Another option is to put it in a plastic bag before bringing it inside.
- Clean your lenses & filters regularly – keep a blower accessible to clear dust particles from the lens and other areas of the camera.
The photo above was taken during an early snowfall in Michigan. It started with a few flakes before turning to heavy snow and bitter cold. To protect the camera, I used a rainsleeve during the shoot. Before going back in the house, I ensured the camera was dry and in my camera bag before going inside. I waited several hours for the bag and camera to normalize to room temperature.
And lastly, give your camera a massage. Kidding! Just checking to see if you'd notice this one.
Our camera gear serves as a workhorse, an escape and sometimes and extension of who we are. Taking care of your gear is also taking care of you.