Early morning, Inland Kaikoura Ranges, Middlehurst, NZ
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Kreuznach, f11 @ 1/20 second, ISO 50
Whenever I take a rain cover for my camera, it doesn’t rain. But if I travel to a desert region, where it hasn’t rained for 50 years and I leave my rain cover behind, it pours!
Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. And maybe we don’t need a rain cover to save our cameras from a sprinkle of rain. Most modern cameras have a plethora of dust and moisture seals, as do the lenses, so a little rain is probably more of an inconvenience than a problem. The main thing to remember is to wipe the water droplets off the front lens element (although if you’re using a lens hood, you’re probably pretty safe).
For more persistent rain, or if you’re on a trek or a walk with no chance to dry out a damp camera between shoots, then prevention is indeed better than attempting a cure. A rain cover is a great accessory for travel photography – which invariably includes landscape and wildlife work from time to time. And it should be light and compact, so not an issue in terms of additional weight.
A look on photo retailer websites will reveal a range of different rain cover designs and sizes. Some of the more elaborate units will certainly do a great job, but as a travel photographer we’re probably looking for a small, simple affair. A tube of plastic material with a tie or two will do the job, assuming it is large enough. And you don’t even have to buy a camera cover when a plastic bag (assuming you can still find them) is probably good enough.
Friend Mike Langford put me onto the best free accessory in the universe: the shower cap found in most hotel bathrooms. While both Mike and I might struggle to explain to hotel management why we need a shower cap at all, there’s no doubting one makes a great camera cover and I always keep one or two in my camera bag.