You've just returned from a great vacation. You have your gear dialed in the way you want it, and your photos from this trip are epic. It's time to put your gear away until the next trip. It's already nicely packed in your luggage and fits neatly under the bed, so you slide it under and there it lives. Fast-forward several months
Your next trip is scheduled; the flight is booked; everything is arranged and the neighbor has even agreed to feed the cat. It's time to pull out your gear and make sure it's ready for your flight tomorrow. You roll out the bags, unzip and
. OH NO! What is that green goo?! You get a sickening feeling as you dig deeper and start to smell leaking batteries around your strobes. What next? You call Backscatter in a panic and purchase 2 new strobes, new batteries, and have everything overnighted to you. Underwater photography just got a lot more expensive!
What can you do to avoid this next time? How should your gear be stored? Wet or dry? Batteries in or out? Here are a few tips that will help you extend the life of your gear, and make sure it's ready to go when you are.
Unpack, Inspect & Put it Away
The number one mistake people make when storing their gear is to leave it packed as-is from the return flight home. This can spell disaster! In the stress of travel, we often forget steps such as removing batteries. And even perfectly packed equipment can be damaged during travel. There are few things more upsetting than opening your bags the day before your trip to see both housing handles broken. It is important to open, unpack, inspect, and properly store your gear after each trip.
Avoid the Green Goo by Removing All Batteries
We often get calls from customers whose strobes have suffered the green death. They
fully charged the batteries and thought it would be safe to leave them in the strobes for a few weeks. Unfortunately, that few weeks turned into a few months and now the batteries have leaked, requiring an expensive repair. Every battery should be removed from your equipment when you store it. This includes moisture alarm batteries and TTL converter batteries.
Give your Gear a Bath & Work those Controls
Customers frequently complain that a button is sticking on their housing. This can be particularly frustrating if you know everything worked when you put it away. In almost every case, this is due to sand or salt build up in the controls. Even if your gear was rinsed on the boat and dried, there may still be some salt under the controls. After every trip, your gear, completely sealed, should be rinsed in a tub of warm water. While it is rinsing in the warm water, work every control and push every button repeatedly. This will ensure that any remaining sand or salt is forced out. When the gear is completely rinsed, remove the ports and extensions, open the housing and dry everything off as much as possible, then put everything on a towel or rack overnight to finish drying. If possible, set up a fan to help the drying process. This also applies to your strobes, arms, clamps and video lights.
O-Rings Need TLC Too
O-rings stored inside the gear can become compressed over time, not providing the intended waterproof seal. Avoid a catastrophic flood by removing the user O-rings, coat them with a thin coat of manufacturer recommended O-ring grease, and store in a plastic bag.
Storage Tips & More
Batteries last longer when used and recharged periodically. Some batteries require monthly charge cycles, others can sit for several months between maintenance
charges. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
Never store ports or other optics with water stains left on them. Many optics have coatings that can be easily scratched or damaged by cleaning solutions of hard polishing. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendation for cleaning and maintaining your ports.
Always make sure your gear is dry before it is stored.
For an added level of peace-of-mind, consider adding an Airlock to your underwater housing. This vacuum system will verify your housing is leak-proof before jumping in the water.
Read our article that covers the flip-side: Flying With Your Underwater Camera System 6 Tips To Ease Travel Stress
If you have questions about the care and maintenance of your underwater photography
equipment, our staff will be happy to help. Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org