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Thread: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

  1. #1
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    Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    I have recently purchased a Canon 60D +18-135 Kit lens. This being my first DSLR, I am unsure about how the elements will affect it.

    I am planning to go on a trip which will include beaches and would like some inputs as to how to protect my camera and the lens from the spray and sand while walking on beaches. This is only going to be a walk around as I have very little time there and I intend to capture the market throng in the evening. Please help.

    Rgds,
    Rajiv

  2. #2
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Bill S

    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    Rajiv,

    A UV filter for your lens is a good start to protecting the front element of your lens. Many photographers swear by them and put them on every single lens and keep them on full time, others say they are useless and only putting a cheaper piece of glass in front of your nice high quality optics in your lens. I won't really go any further into the debate (though I'm sure even bringing it up will start the whole debate all over again), but in specific situations like a beach, I would say it is worth having to put on for at least the time you're on the beach and are at risk for sand and spray.

    Also, since you have only one lens, it looks like this will be a low risk thing, but I would avoid changing lenses or removing your lens while out on the beach. Wind can easily get dust/sand inside your camera body, and sand would easily scratch the inside element of your lens or your sensor/focusing screen.

    I'm not sure how weather sealed the 60D is, but if it is moderately weather sealed, a little bit of spray isn't going to kill it instantly, but I would still carry a towel or something to dry it quickly in the event of any spray. Since you're likely talking about salt water, if the spray is allowed to air dry, it will leave a thin salt residue on your camera which could be very bad. Salt can be very damaging. However - don't ever use this towel (or any other cloth other than a lens cleaning cloth - actually more on that in a bit) to clean your lens - a towel is very good as trapping dirt particles, and if you rub that across the front of your lens, you risk scratching it.

    If for whatever reason, you do feel you got some sand or grit on your front lens, resist that urge to wipe it off! Unless it is really bad, it probably won't affect your photos too badly. Wait till you are in a clean environment and use a blower bulb to try to dislodge the particles that way. Don't jump right to using a cleaning cloth as you don't want to grind that particle into the front element of the lens.

    All in all though, I think you should be ok as long as you take care and don't put your camera in risky situations... If you're by the water, be very careful with it (wear your neck strap), if you're by the sand, make sure your hands are sand free before handling the camera, and don't set the camera down in the sand.

    Hope this helps!

    - Bill

  3. #3

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    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    Keep your lens pointing downward when not in use to prevent spray on the glass. If a bit of heavy spray is unavoidable, turn your back on it and hold the camera close to you for protection. You are more waterproof than your camera.

    Use a protective UV filter to keep the actual lens glass safe.

    Keep well away from sand at all times and make sure your hands are clean from sand grains.

    Op/tech make Rain Sleeves, heavy polythene bags specifically designed for this sort of work. They fully cover the lens and camera but allow normal operation. There is a drawstring around the lens which just allows the glass to show.

    If you can't obtain these, some substitutes could be produced from large polythene bags.

  4. #4

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    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    Bill and Geoff make some good points. I stand on the sand and in the water quite often for photos. I was out just yesterday for a few hours with the grandsons visiting and in the shallow water with them taking photos. Frisbee's, skim boards, wrestling, all the stuff 9 years old's do. This afternoon is dirt biking. Never a problem. Just use the same common sense you would use elsewhere. Use a neck strap, watch where you put the camera down and if kids are around kicking up dirt or sand make sure the camera is covered when you are not using it. If you are taking pictures when kids are playing they are not paying much attention to what is going on around them so back up out of splash distance.

    Unless the wind is blowing hard and lifting the sand you don't have much to worry about as long as you remember where you are and watch your footing. Do use a UV filter. Those who point out putting a filter on in front of an expensive lens is a detriment are using cheap filters. Use a good one and you won't have a problem. If you are expecting the possibility of grungies flying around get one of the readily available plastic rain covers appropriate for your camera and lens. Keep your hands clean and free of sand as indicated above. Barrels on zoom lenses have openings the sand can get into and potentially cause a problem. Accidents happen. Always have a lens brush and blower just in case.

    When photographing in a rough weather environment, salt water spray is usually my biggest concern. During storms with a good wind the spray will easily travel a few hundred yards. Salt water damage won't show up right away. Get one of the plastic covers.

    Suggested accessories for that environment are a lens hood and polarizing filter. Using both will give you a higher percentage of keepers.

    By the way, the biggest summer holiday problem I watch for, and have seen the results of others not being so careful, is suntan lotion. Oil on your camera gear will turn into a sand and dirt magnet that you will find very difficult to get rid of. Carry some hand-wipes and use them often. And have a nice trip.

  5. #5
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    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    Bill, Geoff and Andrew, Thank you for the pointers although I surmised as much.

    Of some of the points from Andrew, my specific area of concern are the openings on the 18-135 barrel side due to zoom. Will I risk salty moisture getting inside my lens?

  6. #6

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    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    Only if it gets wet, which all the people above noted.

  7. #7

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    Re: Precautions to take while shooting on beaches ..

    I also won't get in the debate about the value of using a UV filter for protection. However, if you get water spray on your glass, you are going to have to clean the glass whether it's the front of the lens or the UV filter.

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