The holiday season is upon us again and many of you will be heading for sunshine and golden beaches. So I thought I’d share some tips to make sure you capture some great images of your holiday.
And where better to start than with your camera gear itself?
Now is a good time to buy a new camera as prices have come down. That’s mainly because so many people are using their phones these days – and why not? Smartphones produce good quality images and there are some great apps to help you edit them.
But if you intend taking your camera to the beach, I strongly recommend you invest in an underwater camera – they’ve never been such good value. I’ve got a Canon Powershot D30, which costs around £200.
The Olympus TG4 is another good option. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s compact and has a lot of additional features.
I’d never take my DSLR to the beach – it’s far too risky. There’s too much moisture in the air but of course sand is the real danger. It can get on the sensor and into the lens, causing costly damage – even if you think you’re being careful.
Because underwater cameras are tightly sealed units, designed to withstand water, they also cope well with sandy beaches. Just wash the camera out in clean water when you leave. The same goes if you’ve taken your underwater camera into the sea. It’s important to rinse it through with clean water soon afterwards, to make sure it remains watertight.
If you do get sand on the lens, use an air blower rather than wiping it or you will rub grit into the lens and scratch it.
Of course underwater cameras aren’t just for the beach. Their compact size means they will fit into a pocket or handbag so you can use the same camera when you’re out in the evenings.
Keep it sealed
Here’s a tip if you don’t want to spend money on a new camera. Pop your camera into a zip lock plastic bag, along with a sachet of silica gel, when it’s not in use. The silica gel will soak up any moisture in the atmosphere. It’s particularly useful if you go somewhere hot and humid, as the moisture can cause fungus to grow on the lens elements, which will reduce the quality of your photos.
The same rules apply to your phone – sand and moisture can get inside and ruin the connectors and circuits so keep it wrapped up in your zip lock bag with silica gel. And beware! Even the latest ‘waterproof’ phones haven’t stood up to certain water tests, so don’t risk it!
Sun lotion is another potential enemy for cameras. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after applying it or you’ll end up with nasty greasy marks all over the lens, which will result in hazy washed out photos. If that does happen, give it a careful wipe with a soft cloth designed for the job.
Heat too can play havoc with your camera equipment so make sure you keep it somewhere cool. Avoid leaving it in the boot of your car – or worse, the rear parcel shelf – in blazing hot sun. It’s best to leave it at home and get a cheap camera for the beach.
And finally, remember to keep your camera batteries topped up – charge them every night!