Most cameras you buy today come in colourful cardboard boxes. Once opened, the packaging is pretty impractical to use. That may not be a problem if you are planning to use your camera exclusively inside your home. But hey, who would only want to take pictures inside their home? Beyond the front door there’s a garden, or a park, or a landscape, or another country… You want to up your creativity by recording more than just baby throwing a bowl of food from the High Chair, or the cat jumping up on the table. Good. Get out there. But make sure you protect your investment. Here are some ways to ensure your camera is up and running and ready for shooting all the time you are outside the comfort and security of your own home.
Just getting to and from the destination can be a right adventure for you and your camera. Bangs and batterings at the hands of airline security staff, taxi-drivers and other holidaymakers can be avoided if you use a camera bag or case. Yes, they may be expensive, but isn’t your camera worth it? There are many different styles and designs, and some manufactured specifically for your make of digital camera to ensure a snug fit. But stop and think before you rush out any but a camera bag or case. Will you want the bag or case to carry spare lenses? Film? A mini-tripod? Think about this to make sure you get something that will take all your kit, and will meet the needs of your trip. If you really think that there’s a chance your equipment is going to get a right royal bashing, then a hard case would be ideal- and you can then use the case to stand on for a few extra inches of height when taking pictures over the heads of others! Most of the time, and for most people, a padded camera bag is best- bit it may not be waterproof. Are you planning to be out in the rain?
Talking about the weather, if you don’t have an all-weather or waterproof camera you can try keeping the camera sealed in a plastic bag to protect it from water. But beware of condensation when moving from outdoors to indoors and vice versa.
Also, never underestimate the audacity and bravado of thieves and robbers. Even a cheap compact may be a target in a foreign place. Hide your camera. You wouldn’t walk the streets of an unfamiliar city holding a wad of cash in the open. Don’t wander with your digital camera in plain sight except when you want to take a picture. Keep it hidden in a bag or your pocket until you’re ready to use it. Make sure it’s attached to your wrist by a strong strap to avoid snatchers. Other simple precautions to protect your camera from theft include not leaving it sitting unattended on a table, bus seat, or on the towel next to you on the beach.
To protect your photos rather than your camera, make sure you back up your images at the end of each day onto memory cards. Unless you are in the Andes or a desert, any store that allows you to make prints from your digital photos should be able to copy the photos on a memory card to a data CD or DVD if you don’t have the means to load your photos onto a scan disk/memory card.
Finally, sand and salt are the two big enemies of a camera that you are likely to encounter on a beach-type holiday. Beware of salt spray when taking shots of those impressive breakers on the rocks, and treat sand like acid. Keep sand well away from your camera.
By the way…have you got a UV filter on the lens of your camera? They cost very little, reduce the light entering the camera by a miniscule amount, do not affect the photo quality, and stop the main lens from getting scratched. Click here for more information on digital cameras.