I don’t know about where you live, but here in Eastern Canada, summer is most definitely upon us, and has been for well over a month now! Don’t hate me, but I live about 25 minutes from some amazing beaches. Where there are beaches, there is amazing light, and where there is amazing light, I love to take pictures!

However, with this beautiful light comes a few challenges, namely salt air and sand, the nemesis of all beach-loving photo-takers (I think ‘photographer’ sounds so serious, don’t you?).

We often invest a lot of money into our cameras and the equipment that goes with them, so if you plan to take your camera with you on your summer adventures this year (and please do, they weren’t meant to sit in a box or stay safely nestled in your camera bag!) there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep your investment safe:

You, Your Camera and the Beach
  1. Try not to expose the inside of your camera to the air or the sand, meaning don’t change lenses while you’re at the beach unless you absolutely have to. Same goes for memory cards.
  2. Protect your lenses with filters. Lenses are expensive, filters aren’t, relatively speaking.
  3. Apply your sunscreen, wash your hands, and then handle your camera. If you are the sunscreen-applier, then carry baby wipes with you and thoroughly clean and dry your hands before picking up your camera again. Keep a clean towel just for this purpose, and make sure to wipe your face too – sunscreen is sticky and greasy, sand and salt stick to it, you get the picture.
  4. If you’re spending the day at the beach, consider buying an inexpensive cooler to keep your camera in. When you’re not using your camera, put it in the cooler or wrap it in a light coloured beach towel and put it in the shade (even the shade under a beach chair is favourable to direct sunlight).
  5. If your camera is hot to the touch, it’s time to get it out of the direct sunlight, immediately. Heat can melt the lubricants inside the camera and do some serious damage. Do not try to turn your camera on when it’s hot to the touch, let it cool down first.
  6. Do not leave your camera in the car on a warm day for any length of time. If you absolutely have to, then try and put it under the seat or in the trunk.
  7. Often at the beach, it’s windy. Don’t let that stop you! Some of my favourite beach pictures are right before a storm when the air is heavy and the wind is whipping around. Don’t be afraid to wrap your camera in a Ziploc bag, cut a hole and use an elastic band around the lens (that has a filter on it, of course!) and shoot to your heart’s content:
You, Your Camera and the Beach


8. Keep your distance. If you’re shooting pictures of waves or water splashing, use a zoom lens. Water is bad for a camera; salt water is worse.

You, Your Camera and the Beach


9. Check your camera’s manual – often they list what temperatures your camera can tolerate.

Having said all that, there is a risk involved anytime you expose your camera to the elements. So take every precaution, use your best judgment, capture something special and have fun!

By Kathy Thompson Laffoley