Where to go? What to see? What to bring? When it comes to travelling, preparing can be almost as much fun as the trip itself. Let’s think ahead about how to keep our camera’s healthy.
Taking a trip often requires some preparation. Booking transportation and accomodation, sorting out travel documents, packing your bag, finding someone to take care of the cat… It can be a drag. But preparation can be fun as well. Soon, I’ll be going on a winter hike in Norway, and preparations are well underway. The boring bits (tickets, passport, etc.) have been taken care of, now it’s time for the good bit: shopping!
New shoes and a better sleeping mat were in order. The old shoes were torn and no longer water proof, so in exchange for a sizable amount of my January salary, the nice people at the outdoor shop provided me with a pair of sturdy boots and a Thermarest.
More importantly, I also really needed a small lightweight camera! I’ll be taking my digital compact, but that doesn’t really count, right? I needed another analogue camera. Not too expensive either, please, there wasn’t much money left by then… Thanks to the great Lomography Safari Hunt and a 20% off code, the Diana Mini entered my life. She’s small, light, and can cram 72 pictures in one roll of film. The people who thought of this camera must have been hikers, too!
Now that I had all my gear in order, the next problem arose: how to stuff everything in my pack? It’s a big heap of junk, and it all has to be safely packed away. Not problem with sturdy things like my sleeping bags (yes, plural, it’s going to be COLD!), tent and food. But how to protect my precious camera’s? I’m not really worried about shocks or bumps, but what about the cold and – more importantly – moisture? My digicam already has some suspicious spots – mould – in the LCD screen, and I don’t want my Diana or the film inside getting mouldy.
I expect to get my cameras wet. When walking, I usually keep them in the chest pocket of my coat. Close to my heart, warm, and easily accessible. Disadvantage: I sweat when I hike, and my super breathable coat wicks away the sweat from my skin (good!), right onto any camera inside my pockets (bad!). So there is the next challenge: how to keep the moisture away from my precious Diana when walking. Of course, most of the Diana is made out of plastic, which is waterproof. But I don’t want to get water seeping in trough the cracks and ruining my film. At first I thought of wrapping the body in a condom or balloon. But I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to advance the film or change from half frame to full frame.
So I thought of the following solution: tape off the seams of the camera with electrical tape. But a bit annoying that I’d have to peel away the tape and re-do it every time I change film. Not very convenient when it’s sub-zero and there’s half a dozen frozen hikers waiting for you to get a move on…
And finally I thought of the obvious thing to do: for heaven’s sake, woman, just buy the camera bag! In happy buttercup yellow as a reminder not to eat the yellow snow. Even when I leave off the top part it should keep away the worst of the dampness.
At night, I can’t keep my camera’s in my coat pocket. My coat turns into my pillow, and sleeping on top of your camera, I don’t know… So usually when camping, I keep my camera in Ziploc-bags at night. These bags, which can be closed airtight with a kind of zipper, are a godsend for hikers. Camera’s, spare film, phones, ipods, passports, everything that needs to stay dry, stays dry inside them. And for those of us who like to recycle: check your local grocery store for re-sealable bags of frozen fish. Eat the fish, wash out the bag, and voila: a sturdy, waterproof camera storage bag.
I’m interested to hear what you do to keep your camera’s dry.
Photos and words by Maaike van Stratum. Located in flat and crowded Holland, Stratski loves to go hiking in empty mountainous regions, especially when it’s cold. Read more articles on the Analogue Travels series.