Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer photo tips

The calender says it's still spring, the temperature in North Central Arkansas says different, with daily averages running in the low to mid 90s.
Just as winter conditions place challenges on photographers and equipment alike, so does the summer season.
The first concern I have as a news photographer, is not to leave my camera gear in a hot car. I just have to remember to grab it on my way out the office door.
In the winter I leave my camera in my Jeep to avoid moisture build up by going from outdoors cold to warm buildings. But in the summer time I try to always take it inside whenever possible because I often leave my vehicle windows rolled down. And open car windows are an invitation for anyone walking by to help themselves to expensive camera gear.
Extreme heat can be generated in a closed car. A camera left for extended periods in the cabin or trunk area is very likely to incur internal damage to sensitive electronics.
Summer photography often involves outdoors events where dust can be a real problem, especially around little league/soccer parks and rodeo arenas.
It's important to keep the lens capped when not in use and then use a soft brush to clean dust off the lens before use.
If at all possible, DO NOT change lenses in dusty conditions on SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. Pick the right lens ahead of time and stick with it. Every time that lens comes off the camera, dust will be going in to either clog up the internal works or put specks on photos.
If you have a question about whether your lens has inside dust, do a "sky check".
This simply means point your camera upward toward an open sky, any dust on the lens will show up as dark spots on the lens. Use an air bulb and brush to clean the lens.
Blowing into the camera by mouth can cause spittle to splatter and still not dislodge dust. Use of compressed air can cause dust to scratch camera mirrors, as can use of the shirt tail.
Cameras aren't water proof, but a light sprinkle won't be a major threat if you can keep water from entering around the lens connection. During a hard downpour keep the camera dry!
In several instances as a news reporter I find myself at an accident scene where rain is soaking everything in sight. This is when you (A) stay inside and skip shooting (B) use an umbrella (it can be done one handed), or (C) keep camera under cover until time for shots and then get into dry area and towel it off thoroughly before changing lens or opening any compartments.
Sun flares on the lens can be hard to notice in bright sunlight. Check for them before you take the shot. If necessary use a hat, or hand, held above and slightly in front of lens to block sun from shinning directly into lens. Careful not to get hand too low, otherwise you get a shot of your palm.
Now about the photographer.
When you know you are going to be outdoors in extreme heat, wear appropriate clothing. This means light colored and loose fitting. A hat and water are important as well..
Remain hydrated. A small water bottle with a belt clip can keep water with you during a shoot. A small ice chest with water and an energy bar and kept in your vehicle can be of great value too.
Keep a light colored towel handy for wiping down camera and removing sweat. This same towel dipped in water of ice chest and used on the face can serve as a reviving breath of life. Be careful of heat exhaustion.
Other things to consider on an outside summer shoot are:
• sun screen-get the water proof, non-greasy type
• mosquito and tick spray for wooded areas
• anti-itch ointment for the ticks or mosquitoes that got past your spray, and for poison ivy
Summer camping trips to a lake or river where you can get a shot of the sunset over the water can give you some really awesome pics.
Some cameras offer a special setting that enhances any colors you see. A rotating polarizing filter can also give some great color intensity. Some of the best sunsets can be shot in mid summer when the humidity is high and reflects back the sun's rays into a rainbow of colors.
But just like winter photography the main thing is to have all your batteries charged and your cards clean before you hit the outdoors with the camera.
Summer is a great time to introduce a youngster to the world of photography by getting them an inexpensive digital camera and teach them to scrap book their summer adventures.
Good luck and good shooting!

No comments:

Post a Comment