First and foremost, every photographer should have multiple backups for everything because something may go wrong, and it generally does, and you do not want to lose those once-in-a-lifetime images you worked so hard to obtain. Make sure your save-a-camera kit is well-stocked for the minor disasters.
I like to label myself an amateur, recreational underwater photographer and videographer, and because of this I’ve come across a few good tips during my travels that I thought I’d share with you.
Have multiple memory cards for every camera you bring. (I generally have my “land” camera, my underwater camera, and my GoPro in tow with me when I go on a trip.) Cards are relatively cheap these days, so in hopes of preventing the loss of precious images, I suggest bringing 3 cards per camera so you can rotate them. I have cards from 16GB to 64GB depending on what I’m shooting and how much memory it will use up. I like to put a fresh card in my camera each day just in case there is some camera malfunction, or dreaded housing leakage. This way not all of my recorded memories will be destroyed. To further insure my images make it home with me, I download my memory cards every day to a flash drive and/or external hard drive for backup.
When your GoPro won’t record underwater
Speaking of memory cards, I have a tip for when your older model GoPro inconveniently stops while recording or keeps turning off every time you press record underwater. Once you’re back on the boat, or in your resort room, make sure you are dry and are in a dry area. Take out the memory card and replace it with one of those fresh cards you have in your dry bag. Then later take the disk you pulled out of your GoPro, download it to your backup drive, put it back in the GoPro, and format it. Generally this will clear out the bugs and you are good to go again.
Save your equipment from humidity
You see them under many names, in different sizes, sold by different manufacturers for different cameras, but they are available in your everyday packaging and a way to save a few bucks. I’m talking about those desiccant packets you find in your vitamin bottles or shoe boxes. I collect them at home all the time when I come across them in packaging. When I travel to tropical places and the humidity starts to get to my cameras, I just put them in a gallon-sized plastic bag with a bunch of these packs, zip up the bag and generally in a few hours my camera is good to go again. I also like to store my cameras, my memory cards and flash drives in this bag when I am not using them, just for good measure. These packets come in a variety of sizes, so generally you can find one that will fit in your housing too to keep your underwater housing dry on the inside while you’re diving.
Pack a well-stocked save-a-camera kit
As I mentioned early, having a well-stocked save-a-camera kit can sometimes be a true vacation saver. Make sure to have all the spare o-rings you might need for your underwater housing. Also, don’t forget to pack a tube of silicone to lube your o-rings for a proper seal. Always make sure to use the lubricant recommended by the o-ring manufacturer because mixing brands may lead to the o-ring swelling and failing. And don’t forget to test your housing for leaks without the camera in it when you get a new housing, haven’t used your housing for a while, or have put a new o-ring on it.
Pack your power and cables
Along with multiple memory cards, I always make sure I have a couple of backup batteries for each camera. I bring these along with me each day in my dry bag, in case I drain them while shooting, so I can change batteries out between dives.
Other things to keep in mind when packing are the necessary strobe connectors, fiber optic cables, usb chords and all the accompanying chargers that come with your cameras and strobes. If all your equipment uses the same usb chord to download or charge, then maybe think of packing only one chord to save some space.
One last thing. Pack yourself a travel size surge protector chord to make sure you have plenty of plug-ins. Also, check electricity outlets available at your destination to make sure you have the appropriate converter.
Do you have a photography or travel tip you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it.
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