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Summertime Series #2 - Camera Maintenance On Vacation

Greetings fellow photographers…it’s time for a summer vacation! Picture this: the bags are packed, the mail is stopped, the dog is at the kennel, and the kids are buckled up. Anything you're forgetting? Your camera of course! Today we're going to continue our Summer Series by talking about general camera maintenance while on vacation.

Prepare before you leave. Ever had to buy batteries at a remote roadside gas station or amusement park gift shop? The batteries are old and cost at least twice as much as your local camera store! A little preparation before you leave for vacation can go a long way to help avoid those sneaky extra costs. Buy your batteries and other camera accessories before you leave. If your camera accepts rechargeable batteries, buy two sets and a charger – it is well worth the investment. Charge both sets before you leave, then put one set in your camera and the other in your camera case. At the end of each day, charge the batteries you used that day and rotate the unused set into the camera. If your destination has no electricity (we're very jealous!), bring lots of extra batteries – cameras tend to eat up batteries like a teenager at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet!

Protect your body – your camera body that is! Cameras are easily destroyed when you get caught up in the excitement of a vacation. Many people tend to strap the camera around their neck without thinking twice, and as soon as they bend down to tie their shoe, BAM! The camera smashes into a rock. Don't let this happen to you! Always carry your camera in a protective pouch that you can wear at your waist, over your shoulder, or around your neck. Make sure the pouch is easy to access for those once-in-a-lifetime moments, and that it has a few zippered pockets for extra batteries, memory cards, cash, lip balm, and anything else you like to keep in there.

Keep it clean. Cameras don't like dirt, sand, and messy hands as much as we do, so be careful to keep your camera away from those kinds of things, especially sand! Nothing wreaks more havoc on a camera than sand. It gets into the lens cover mechanism and the flash card portal, and like a kid in a swimming pool, it is very difficult to remove once it's in there! If possible, wash or wipe your hands, or brush any sand off your hands before grabbing your camera.

You may also want to carry a mini can of condensed air to blast any sand out of your camera, as well as a lens cloth and some cleaning fluid. Remember to always put the cleaning fluid on the cloth and then wipe your lens; never put the cleaning fluid directly on the lens. And unless you are a camera veteran, never attempt to clean your digital camera sensor. They are very delicate and easily damaged; leave that to your local camera store. If you don't know what a digital camera sensor is, you probably shouldn't be messing with it anyway!

Well, that does it for now. Next time we'll talk about the benefits of transferring and organizing your photos while on vacation. Until then, enjoy your summer, travel safely, have fun, and bring us back a T-shirt!
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