I’m dusting off and re-sharing this old post I wrote back when I was doing some destination wedding photography. With vacation season swiftly approaching this information still seems appropriate today. It doesn’t necessarily pertain to honeymoons but to anyone wanting to get some good images in humid conditions. Unless you’re among my more affluent readers who can actually afford a Nikon D3 and don’t have to worry about mud and typhoons and things bothering your camera- This one’s for you.
The types of moisture you encounter in almost all tropical locations and most of the beaches in America can create many situations that are detrimental to good imagery and can often damage modern digital cameras. A big problem that ruins many a good photograph for honeymooners is that of lens fog. Whether honeymooning in a tropical island paradise or a mountain rainforest on the edge of a volcano, the fogging problem can reduce the image of an un-replaceable moment to an un-recognizable blur. Armed with the knowledge of what causes this, you stand a good chance of creating much more memorable photographs of your honeymoon.
When your camera has spent a little time in an air-conditioned resort room and you take it outside in tropical temperatures with tropical humidity, your lens instantly fogs over. It’s the same thing that happens to a glass of ice tea when you take it outside on a hot summer day. I don’t know the scientific explanation of why, but things that are cooler than its surroundings just cause moisture to condense on them. With a camera, sometimes this lasts only a minute or two but could last much longer. Lets say you’re equipped with interchangeable lenses and you walk out your door and see an Iguana perched on the edge of the roof next door. Your first impulse would be to rapidly remove your normal lens and replace it with the long lens in your bag. In the 10 seconds it took you to do that, the mirror became fogged in your camera and both the front and rear elements of the telephoto lens became fogged. When you put the long lens on the camera you just sealed up moisture on the mirror and the moisture on the rear lens element in an almost air-tight space where it will take hours to dissipate.
one of the secrets to always being ready to capture an awesome moment is to find ways to keep your camera and related gear at or near the same temperature that it is outside. This is sometimes hard to do but with a little creative thinking you can find ways to do that in most resort locations. Place the camera next to a hot coffee pot for a few minutes, give it a little blast from a hair dryer, place it near a light bulb, etc. was photographing in Jamaica one time and ran onto a unique situation. We stayed at a really nice all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay but for some reason they felt the bathrooms didn’t need to be air conditioned. There wasn’t even a window to shut, just sort of a quaint “island thing” built in the wall where a window should have been. It was a double louvered opening in the outside wall where you couldn’t see out or in but the breeze, the sounds of the ocean, and the birds etc. made you feel like you were outside. This situation provided the perfect place to store my camera bag because this room was always outside temperature.
The unique thing about tropical destinations is that there’s moisture everywhere. Besides all the humidity in the air you just never know when you’re going to encounter vast amounts of moisture in one form or another. When traveling I always carry a small umbrella in my gadget bag and a couple of large zip-lock bags in my pocket. The bags are large enough that I can place my whole camera inside one if I suddenly encounter a wet situation. I can also leave the camera strap around my neck, pull the bag up around the camera, and pinch it shut in the middle. This leaves the straps coming up through the edges of the zip closure thus protecting it from ocean spray or blowing sand. This leaves my hands free to pick up all the stuff I find while beach-combing and allows me to quickly unzip it if I need to take a picture. This method also works good if you’re planning on attending and “Ibiza Foam Party”.
If you’re out on a day excursion on a tour bus, always shroud your camera inside the bag when you’re on the bus. It provides a small amount of insulation from the bus’s air-conditioning and keeps the camera closer to the outside temperature. You can quickly unzip it if you need to take a picture from the bus
In tropical conditions you just never know when a sudden shower might develop. You never know when you’ll round a corner and see a beautiful waterfall and you would need to walk through a veil of mist to get to the spot to take the perfect picture. Zip-lock bags are available in all sizes that will any size camera. If you have a large camera with big telephoto lenses you may need to shop Home Depot Or Lowe’s for a bag big enough to fit your rig. The key to keeping moisture off of and out of your camera is to plan ahead. Just be creative and think of all the things you can do to prevent rapid temperature changes for your equipment