Keeping Your Pentax Dry

Tips to keep shooting in rain or storms.

05/10/2012 - 14:51

A sudden downpour while you're out taking photos doesn't mean you have to stop. If you're prepared you can continue shooting and take photos that others would have missed. Landscapes with atmosphere, portraits with a playful aspect and flowers with creative rain streaks.

Flowers rain

All you have to do is protect your camera from the elements and there's no excuse to stop taking photos.

If it's only a spot or two of rain your camera won't be harmed, but you can ruin your photos if you get spots of rain on the lens. Carry a lens cloth and clean the lens just before you take a photo.

Better still attach a lens hood. This not only shields from the sun but can protect the lens from rain drops. It won't stop splashes when taking close ups of waterfalls though.

Attach a protective filter to save you continually cleaning the expensive front element of your lens. Replacing a filter is cheaper than replacing a lens. It's often also easier to wipe clean as it's a flat surface.

If it's raining heavier you need to protect the body unless it has weatherproof seals as seen on models such as the Pentax K-5 and K-30. Also it helps if the lens is weatherproof. Look for Pentax models, like the 100mm maco to the right, with the designation WR.

The simplest way is to shield the camera with your coat but this is not all that convenient as it means you can't move away from the camera if it's on a tripod. An alternative is to use a microfibre towel like the ones sold in camping stores. These absorb water and can be used as a cover for short durations.

Alternatively place a plastic bag (check before hand that it isn't porous) over the camera in between shots. Some photographers cut a hole in the bag and poke the lens through (with hood attached) and have an elastic band grip the bag over the lens so no water can get in. This works well and you can continue shooting with the bag in place, but it looks a bit naff.

With that in mind several companies make special purpose capes/rainsleeves for cameras that work really well and (apart from water on the front of the lens) allow you to keep shooting in even severe weather conditions.

A low cost rainsleeve is the one made by Op/Tech and it's available through the ePHOTOzine shop for £7.50. You can purchase one here: Op/tech Rainsleeve

Op / Tech rainsleeve

If it's not windy another option is to use an umbrella to protect you. Use a lighting stand clamp to support the shaft on the tripod so the umbrella is supported hands free allowing you to control the camera as necessary. Do not attempt this in windy conditions or you may find the tripod is blown off its feet.

There are systems in prototype at the moment that allow a umbrella to be strapped to your body in a chest harness. This means you can walk around taking photos under cover of an umbrella.

Also consider the rest of your gear. Carry it in a weather proof camera bag and it can be safe while you take photos. Many models now come with a separate raincover.

If you do get the camera wet make sure you dry it out as quickly as possible water, especially sea water as that can damage your camera.


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A tip I received from a pro years ago is to pick up the disposable shower cap you get in hotels. Keep a couple in your camera bag, they take up no room so are always with you. The shower cap makes a handy cover and the elasticated ponytail band that comes with the shower cap is handy for holding a filter gell over your flash lens or a foam sheet flag for bounce flash.

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