Summer photography tip – hotel induced condensation


Condensation is one of the enemies of  photographers.  It occurs at the most inopportune times.  A lot of people associate condensation with the colder seasons, but it can also happen on your summer outing.

About 3 years ago I was all set to shoot the airshow in Atlantic City, NJ, “Thunder over the boardwalk“.  I had my 20D with a 100-400 all prepared, batteries charged, I was raring to go.  About 20 minutes before the show was set to begin, I got in the elevator, camera in my bag, got out on the boardwalk, walked up the hill I had scoped out, took the camera out…and waited…and waited, with the camera back in the bag, for it to come up to the ambient temperature, which was probably around 90°F.

F16 Climb with vapor trail

Why did this happen?  The situation is that you are in your nice air conditioned hotel room, along with your gear, you wake up early to go out and shoot, and voilà, you @#$%&! as you miss the sunrise, or the opening act, or…

What can you do?  A few options

  • Wrap your camera bag in that spare blanket in the closet, and, keep it in the closet.  Typically there is less cold air circulating around in there, and, the ducts are frequently near the windows
  • If security is less of an issue, consider keeping it in your trunk overnight, or, as you get ready, go put it in there, move your car to another level and spot to feign leaving the parking lot
  • Get out earlier, expecting to wait for the temperatures to balance out
  • Keep your gear in air-tight locking style bags

Do you have any other tips for me to add?  Let me know in the comments!