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Thread: Large Format and rain

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Aylesbury, Bucks, UK
    Posts
    79

    Large Format and rain

    In the past I've always tried to avoid shooting in light rain. If I did it would be briefly with 35mm and not using my Mamiya TLR, too many places for water to go. Now I use large format more, again I'm concerned about the camera and lens getting wet, especially folding up my Toyo 45A with rain or snow trapped in the bellows. Should I be overly worried, and what is the best way of protecting a camera in light rain or snow?
    Steve Bell
    Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Posts
    745

    Large Format and rain

    I was recently taking some pics in Scotland where I experienced both light drizzle and snow - but having driven 500 miles for just one full days photography I couldn't afford to be "fussy". So I simply sheltered the camera beneath an Ebony All Weather focus cloth! It not only enables you to compose/focus but is so light it can be left "on" the camers and acts as a waterproof cover! They may seem expensive for a focus cloth but are a real boon!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Aylesbury, Bucks, UK
    Posts
    79

    Large Format and rain

    Paul, I'll have to look into that. After last weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, often with snow under foot, I found so much light reflected back from the ground a nuisance. I currently use a traditional black/red cotton cloth (not water repellent), I was going to consider a wrap around tunnel type cloth. With 35mm I'd often hold a brolly over the camera as you could operate it with one hand, not so now.
    Steve Bell
    Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK

  4. #4

    Large Format and rain

    I've taken to carrying a plastic garbage bag (a bin liner?) in my backpack. If I want to shoot in the rain, I slice the bottom open far enough to get the front standard through, and use the bag as a big plastic tunnel to hold the camera. The only nuisance is getting a hole in place for the tripod mount...the bags tend to slide around and you have to fuss with the camera a bit when you're mounting it onto the tripod. Once it's mounted, however, the setup works fine for me (and the bags are long enough that if it's not bright out - which it rarely is here when it's raining - I can use the end of the bag as a dark cloth).

    I set up the camera inside of the bag before I step out of my car, and mount the camera on the tripod inside of the car while I stand beside it (getting wet in the process...a small price to pay).

    Not the most comfortable setup, but it protects the camera nicely from rain and snow and allows shooting in conditions when I might otherwise be reluctant to take the camera out.

    One other thing to keep in mine...make sure the bag stays out of the shot. There's enough extra plastic hanging around that you have to keep track of any that falls in front of the front standard.

    As I type this, I realize that I really should find a rubber band that will stretch around the front standard to hold the bag in place there. I'll give this a try sometime and let you know if I have any luck with it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Posts
    745

    Large Format and rain

    Steve - good to hear from another UK LF'er! I've adapted the Ebony cloth to make it a bit more user-friendly! The standard cloth is a blanket-type so I (okay it was my wife!) sewed a hem (at the camera end) and inserted an elasticated drawstring and also sewed both halves together halfway along the bottom edge - result ... a "hybrid" tube-type cloth! No more reflections from snow or water! But the open end is large enough to get head and arm in for louping!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,789

    Large Format and rain

    Steve,

    I've also used the Ebony all weather focusing cloth and it works pretty well. It requires the Ebony lens shade clip and it will blow about in wind a bit. It's also large, so if your close to the ground, it will be on the ground unless to attche some extra velcro or something to cinch it up a bit.

    But it does keep mist and light rain off both the camera and lens as well as anything and better than most, and is a pretty good "compndium" shade too.

    Steve H.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,742

    Large Format and rain

    I used to be very concerned about taking my metal camera out even in a light drizzle. But after a recent 10 day trip to Ireland, during which it must have rained at least twenty times off and on, I'm now an all-weather photographer. Photographing in rain wasn't fun but with care in draping something water resistant over the camera while it's on the tripod (I used the rain protector that came with my F64 back pack), and care in drying everything off at the end of the day, no harm was done.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

    Large Format and rain

    Indeed, rain is more of annoyance for the photographer than for the camera. All that must be protected is the lens and it's shutter (the film standard perhaps) - the rest can take a bath and be dried after with no consequencies.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    215

    Large Format and rain

    Steve,
    Your gear will tolerate a lot more moisture than you think, just be sure that it has dried out completely before you store it.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    285

    Large Format and rain

    Steve, I recently photographed in the rain forest in Peurto Rico and used a small black travel umbrella wedged into the side strap of my Wista VX. It was kind of a PITA but worked OK. I got home and the newest issue of Outdoor (digital) Photographer arrived. They have a section called infocus where they hawk photo accessories. Low and behold there is an umbrella clamp that is sold by a company in Montana called Crazy Creek. They have a website, but it doesn't have the clamp on the site yet. I called the 800 number(800-331-0304) and ordered one. I will report on it's Utility after my next trip in about two weeks in the Smokies. One side benefit of the umbrella is it can be used to block light from the rear of the camera and make the groundglass easier to see while using the folding focusing hood.

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