View Full Version : Keeping insects out of my 8x10
Northern Canada is beautiful and wild country. My travels there have been mainly by canoe. But if you are there at the right time (or should I say the wrong time) biting insects, especially mosquitoes and black flies, will be out in "Biblical plague proportions". Fortunately biting insects don't bother me much either physically or psychologically. On the Hood River (starts on the arctic circle and drains into the Arctic Ocean), there were times when it was difficult to change the lens on my 35mm SLR - once I trapped a moquitoe between the lens and the mirror. The only time the bugs weren't a problem was when the wind was blowing, and that has it's own set of problems for LF. This summer I'd like to take my 8x10 up north. So my question: I'm looking for advice on keeping the bugs out an 8x10. I foresee multiple bugs trapped in the bellows and crawling on my film at the time of exposure. Thanks.
Jason Greenberg Motamedi
have you tried hanging fly paper inside your camera?
How about a "vacuum back?" Hee, hee!
A large "horse blanket" type darkcloth, sprayed with a product similar to Deep Woods Off insect repellent will help. When setting up the camera, keep it covered with the darkcloth as much as possible.
Judging from my past experiences with trips on a swift moving river, I would be concerned about carrying an 8X10 outfit in a canoe or a rubber raft. Make sure that the camera equipment is enclosed in a floatable water tight container. Sounds like an exciting adventure. Good luck.
Maybe put a frog in your bellows??
Watch that "bug spray" on any finished wood, bellows, plastic parts, etc. It will sure make a mess of many materials. There are fabrics that have built-in repellent I believe. "Bug-Off' might be one brand name? You might make a wrap from that stuff.
Sounds like a great trip! But I'm on the other end of the spectrum from you - I think the bugs would have me batty within hours!
HEY! thats it! Bats! Take along your pet bats! If you have a 'bat bellows' for your camera they could hang out over in the sides and not block the film.
Put a Citronella candle holder on your tripod?
Couldn't you make something out of misquito netting?
Sounds like you need an "ant-i insect-in-side" ...
There are several varieties of permethrin sprays. Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethrin that kills insects on contact.
One variety is sold in pet stores as part of a complete flea remedy. It is approved for use on furniture.
Another is sold in "outdoors" stores as part of the complete mosquito repellent kit. It is approved for use on clothing. I use it when in the tropics, also in Florida. The remainder of the complete mosquito repellent kit is a DEET-based spray. DEET attacks plastics, so probably isn't safe around photographic equipment. You have been warned.
I don't know what either type permethrin preparation uses as propellant etc., so I'd be very careful about applying either to painted surfaces and to plastics. If I were you, I'd get the mosquito repellent preparation, spray some on a Q-tip, daub a little on a not-too-sensitive part of the camera, and see what melts. In the worst case, you can use the stuff on your clothing.
Spray it on the OUTSIDE surface of the darkcloth. It cannot cause damage your camera, unless it is allowed to make contact with the bellows, or the wood and plastic surfaces. Most insect sprays use some type of alcohol as a solvent. One that contains DEET will really work great. I've been attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes along a river bank in Oregon, and it was a memorable experience. Certainly not one to laugh at. Also, watch out for the "no seeum", tiny black flies, in Canada.
Um, Eugene, when using a bug repellent that was 100% DEET I left permanent scars on a plastic Canon point and shoot. I repeat, DEET attacks plastics and must be used with great care around them.
I second the warning about DEET and anything plastic - which could include your bellows, btw. It dissolved all the labeling off the back of my hand-held flash unit (this was shooting 35mm macro years ago) when it just touched my forehead that I had rubbed with some DEET-containing lotion 2 hours before.
I am not new to taking a camera in my canoe. Everything is stored in waterproof cases (such as a Pelican case) and I have never gotten my equipment wet. I have hauled 35mm SLR gear for literally thousands of kilometres by canoe. Last summer I took my 4x5 about 400km by canoe - but there were few bugs on that trip.
Coincidentially I was reading Ansel Adams book - Examples, the Making of 40 Photographs - last night. In the text for "Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake" Adams touches on both problems - keeping gear dry (use a waterproof case), and mosquitoe silhouettes on his film (no solution offered).
One word solution - Thermacell
The units are mosquito traps and come in various sizes including a very small one for protecting an individual. I believe that Coleman makes similar units. Here in Florida they are sold in gunshops, bait shops, etc. Since it's not a spray, I don't believe there could be harmful effects for photo equipment, although I don't know for sure. john
I haven't tried it, but a small strip of dark leather dipped in citronella oil laid inside your belows might work. Place it inside after you have opened the camera and it should discourage insects from flying in there while you change lenses and insert your film holder.
John D Gerndt
It may seem far-out, but for this intense trip maybe you could make a cloth bellows that would hold the repellent and not suffer from it. I recently made a twelve-piece bag bellows and it is not such a big deal.
Always thinking, for better or worse,
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