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Thread: Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

  1. #1
    Leonard Metcalf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Sydney, Australia

    Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

    Have just moved to Darwin, and plan on staying over the wet season. Any advice in the group for using my large format equipment in the tropics? Any advice would be appreachiated, from storing developed film, storing lenses, maintaining cameras, drying out saturated equipment? Humidity issues and advice... How to stop dripping on my camrea gear with sweat? Thanks

    Leonard Murray Metcalf BA Dip Ed MEd

    Len's gallery
    Lens School

  2. #2

    Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

    I lived 10 years in Houston and I know what you mean about humidity. So, my lenses when they were not in use were stored in a gun safe that had a dehumidifier. This is a little of overkill but it was good for the lenses and the guns. When I went out to photograph I never worried about sweating on the camera, I made sure at the end of the day I took the bellows off and wiped all of the camera very well. If you have a wooden camera, whatever you do, dont use the liquid polishers. If you get the polisher in between the wood and any metal parts you will cause wood rot. Just wipe the camera down with a damp cloth. If you are in a dry climate then once in a while is good to protect the wood with wax, just remember to apply the wax to the cloth and then apply it to the camera.

    If you get caught in the rain, then the same thing applies, take off the bellows and hang to dry. Wipe the camera throughly and leave unfolded until it dries.

    Good luck and good hunting.. :-)

  3. #3
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998

    Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

    I visited Darwin a few years ago briefly during the "wet" season - mould can grow on your clothes overnight - no kidding! It's tropical with a capital T

    I think they had a decent little museum there - see if you can talk to someone there such as the conservator and find out what tricks they use for keeping the excessive humidity out of stuff. As Jorge says, don't worry so much about it in use, but rather when you get back and store equipment (plus your film, pritns etc) for the time you ar enot using it, having given it all a good clean down.
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn blog

  4. #4

    Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

    If you do not have air conditioning keep your gear in a closet with a 50 W lightbulb constantly lit in the bottom of the closet. Build a cage around the bulb for fire protection. If you keep your gear in a air conditioned house so much the better, But moisture will condense on surfaces when you bring the stuff outside . Same as keeping it in a car with the A/C on. best to keep it in a case or pack and let the camera and gear come up to ambient (outside) temp before using it...same for film. It does not take long to warm up.
    A good anti corrosion prduct for metal is Boeshield, a spray that leaves a dry, thin, hard wax like coating on parts that does not attract dust or grit.
    Some lessons learned after living 18 years aboard a sailboat in the tropics and 16 years on dry? land in the Florida Keys.

    Richard Martel,
    Florida Keys

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Large format in the tropics - hints & advice

    I am currently living in Singapore and it is always at 90%-100% humidity here. If you can get an airtight box, use it with silica gel - the thing that turns red when it absorbs moisture from the air. What I do is to always keep a camera and lenses within those boxes (I use large food boxes that are airtight and have a rubber seal) and then take them out only to shoot and return them to these boxes ASAP. In most cases, I rotate between using the crown graphic and the Arca swiss so that they would always have some time in the box. It takes about 3-4 days for mold to start growing on my lenses, cameras and leather items. I try not to use the items in differing temperatures due to the risk of condensation.

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