Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shooting in "The Field" is Tough on Gear

Shooting in the field offers it's own unique set of challenges, not the least of which are the environmental conditions that are particularly tough on your camera gear. Dust, rain, mud and rough handling are the main challenges. I spent this past week in the field with my unit which was conducting field exercises some where near the Korean Demilitarized Zone and while I have shot photos during training events in the past, this was the first time I was tasked solely to capture images of the training. I was assigned a driver and a Humvee and rambled around the training area capturing photos of all the major events including helicopter medical evacuations, simulated chemical attacks, squad attacks with role players acting as the opposition force and other army training like that. 

I learned a lot as a photographer from having to face all the above mentioned challenges. I'd have to say that dust and dirt were the most difficult to deal with. I had with me my blower and some dust cloths but that was about it. I definitely need to add some canned air and maybe like a brush to dust off my gear. Also, I will be adding a rough and rugged camera bag specifically for use in these tough conditions. The two bags I took out with me (the only two I own) were not made to be used in these types of conditions. They are totally beat up and dirty, almost to the point that I have to throw them out.

Off road driving can take a toll as well. Imagine sitting in the front seat of a Humvee, wearing full body armor with cameras hanging around your neck. You're bouncing around with your cameras bumping into the front dash board and up-armored doors. I have to have my cameras at the ready in case I need to jump out and capture actions as it happens, at a moments notice. So, a well constructed camera body is essential. My Sony Alphas were up to the task.

Stay tuned for more photos from this series...

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