I must start off with an observation and a question. Most people love going to the beach, it’s fun, relaxing, and there are countless interesting things to photograph while at the beach. Why wouldn’t you take your camera?
Many people are terrified of bringing their camera and gear to the beach because they fear the sand or salt air will destroy equipment. Just like the odds are better you’ll win the lottery rather than be attacked by a shark, your camera is relatively safe, if you take a few precautions.
Here are 5 ways to prevent sand from ruining your experience
1. Bag It ~ this may seem obvious…well, because it is. Keep your camera and gear in a sealed camera bag or better yet, a zip lock bag to prevent the elements from making contact when it’s not in use.
2. Timing ~ wind is really your enemy, sand is simply the ammunition. Typically the middle of the day will see rising temperatures along with increased wind. The best light is usually at dawn and dusk (or after dark), so take advantage of those times and the relatively low wind speeds.
3. Block ~ Use your body, bag, a small Toyota, or your spouse to block the wind from contacting your camera while you work. The less debris contacting your gear the better.
4. Blow First Don’t Touch ~ After each shoot you really need to clean your equipment. Start with a bulb-type blower and go through every nook and cranny removing any obvious debris. DO NOT wipe anything yet, especially the lens. If there is even a single grain of sand, which is really a very small rock, you run the risk of scratching your glass. Blow, blow, and blow some more. Depending on the conditions you may even want to do the same for your entire camera bag.
5. OK, Now Wipe ~ Once you have finished blowing any large debris from the gear, use a lint-free cloth and a camera safe cleaning fluid. I use a cloth and fluid to clean my entire camera, including the lens. This will remove any salt film, but more importantly sweat, dirt, and anything else on your valuable hardware.
That’s it! Don’t be afraid to take your equipment to the beach, the potential reward of great shots far outweighs any risk.
If anything, at the beach, the condensation and fog will be a larger factor to deal with. Here’s a great trick to stop condensation from fogging up your beach shoot.
Let me know if this helps you relax about taking your gear to more hostile environments? Once you’re comfortable at the beach, try doing a shoot at your local neighborhood desert. The same rules apply. Leave me a comment below. 🙂