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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been learning photograpy, so I'm taking a camera and some small lenses.

How do digital cameras do aboard boats? I know we must have some photographers on here.

I'm looking for advice in general, and particularly storage and transport options. For stowing aboard, and taking back and forth in the dinghy.

My first idea is pelican cases. Dry bag might be an alternative. I'm not going to want to carry a big pelican case once I get to shore, but would hate for it to get jacked if I leave it in the dink.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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652 Posts
I use a small dry bag. The camera(s) are always in it on board. i also keep moisture sacks (I don't remember the chemical offhand, you know, the ones that say "do not eat" in the bag with the camera.
 

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We had a problem with our digital camera this winter and thought we would have to buy a new one. After a month in our dry apartment we thought we would give it a try and sure enough it's back to normal. There are moisture absorbing packets available and the chemical is SILICA. I found these Dry-Packs Moisture Absorbing Silica Gel Indicating Packets (20 packs): Amazon.ca: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@518mT5OQDoL

They come in larger sizes but I plan to use them in a small camera size bag and this size will be perfect.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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We use a small dry bag to take our camera, iPad, etc ashore. Close to essential when you are in an open anchorage (Easter Island if the swell in the anchorage was less than 3-4' it was a nice day). Also our dinghy leaks so badly that there is always some water in the bottom.

We found out that when you get knocked down when the camera is in the chart table which opens so that the camera falls onto the floor just as a bunch of water is shooting through the louvers in the door to land on the camera - well that is not good. We bought a replacement in Tahiti that has worked fine. Only problem is that it came with 220v charger (we charge with 12v) and instructions in about six languages, not including English.
 

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Pelican made or makes a couple of camera bag/waterproof case kits. I use the smallest one for regular storage onboard and it holds two bodies and a pile of micro-4/3rds lenses quite nicely. This combo appears to be the current version of what I have (though the bag is quite different):
Pelican 1527 Convertible Travel Bag 1520-407-000 B&H Photo Video
Pelican 1520NF Case without Foam (Black) 1520-001-110 B&H Photo

If you look around you might be able to find them in a kit for less. I remember paying about $140, but it was also many years ago.

I have a waterproof (drybag-style) backpack with me on almost all dinghy trips and just throw the camera (in a lightly padded case, not the Pelican) into there. I find this bag to be indispensable. If budget were tight this would be a higher priority than the Pelican case for me.

If it's really rough or I think I'll only be shooting from the dinghy I just bring my waterproof point and shoot and leave the nicer cameras on the boat.
 

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I found a Panasonic camera that retails for about $110. At that price, I don't worry too much. The picture quality is still excellent. It stays in the chart table in a Lowe Alpine camera case.

I priced waterproof cameras, and I can buy 3 or 4 of these for the same price.
 

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I carry my camera everywhere I go as its my bread and butter. I put it in a zip lock freezer bag in my backpack. If its too much trouble I simple wouldn't use it so I keep it simple. I use semi pro or serious amateur cameras depending on how you look at it. They are semi sealed and can be used in rain and heavy salt spray but I still TRY and protect them. While sailing I keep a 3 gallon bucket with a towel in it and a lid loosely secured so it is always ready to go. I learned this trick when I was a pro sailing photographer running around at top speed and small boats, its costs 3 bucks and is evey bit as good as a pelican case. Unlike a pelican case I can wash the towel and bucket and keep it clean. If a pelican gets salt in it its done. I have had almost no issues with the marine environment but my cameras get replaced every two years so that may be part of it. I buy all my equipment second hand and in top notch condition so several thousand dollars worth of gear costs me about 200 per year. I use Nikon but over the years have used both Canon and Nikon. In my very humble opinion they are both great but one is better, as far as toughness is concerned you have to try pretty hard to kill them. This guys lights them on fire after dousing them with water and strapping them to his feet like shoes, they keep going.
 

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Old enough to know better
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Master Mariner
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There are a dozen point and shoot digital cameras on the market that are water proof and shock proof in the us$250.00 range. They are perfectly fine for non professional photography. If you were thinking of professional pics, you are looking at many, many thousands of dollars in equipment to take professional; quality pictures from a moving boat. You will need an air conditioned environment for the camera or it's lifespan will be very short. Our underwater SeaLife system, is waterproof to 200 feet in it's underwater housing, but the camera itself is not humidity proof at all; what a waste of big bucks!
In 1976 I threw a Nikon FTN professional system, bodies, lenses, motor drives, view screens and all into a trash can in Fiji because of a tropical cyclone that capsized the boat a few times (pretty much getting everything inside a tad wet). Water and professional cameras do not mix well.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pelican made or makes a couple of camera bag/waterproof case kits. I use the smallest one for regular storage onboard and it holds two bodies and a pile of micro-4/3rds lenses quite nicely. This combo appears to be the current version of what I have (though the bag is quite different):
Pelican 1527 Convertible Travel Bag 1520-407-000 B&H Photo Video
Pelican 1520NF Case without Foam (Black) 1520-001-110 B&H Photo

If you look around you might be able to find them in a kit for less. I remember paying about $140, but it was also many years ago.

I have a waterproof (drybag-style) backpack with me on almost all dinghy trips and just throw the camera (in a lightly padded case, not the Pelican) into there. I find this bag to be indispensable. If budget were tight this would be a higher priority than the Pelican case for me.

If it's really rough or I think I'll only be shooting from the dinghy I just bring my waterproof point and shoot and leave the nicer cameras on the boat.
This is what I'm looking for I think but one size smaller. It's for a camera and four lenses, plus a little extra room when I get more lenses. Its the same size as the m43 system you describe.

Do you think the pelican 1300 or 1400 series is the right size? No one here sells them in person, so I can't go look. They have measurements, but I don't really know how to interpret those measurements with foam and whatnot.

It's important I have the smallest case that I can get by with. The smaller the more likely I'll take it everywhere and shoot more.

Those desiccant bags are a good idea as well. What kind of backpack are you talking about, does it look like a dry bag, or is it like a lowepro with rain-shield?

I hope the humidity doesn't kill my camera or get in the lenses.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks. So you have been taking pictures from your boat for a while? I'm headed up to your neck of the woods in 16 days. Do you have any advice? Just general advice, anything that comes to mind? Last year I was up there with no cameras and took no pictures. Er, well, I actually took 16 cell phone pictures that I hate. That's an average of one picture every two weeks. I plan to do better this time.

I'm working with a 1.5 crop factor. I have an ultra wide, fast prime, like the 50mm you were talking about, kit lens, and telephoto.

I would like to take mostly landscape, but architecture in cities, and a little street, and some close up when I see pretty colours with lots of bokeh. I'm just learning, but I know I like landscape best.
 

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I could probably give you lots advice but I doubt you need it. What makes your photography so special is that its the world you see. You know the old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I sell a lot of images but I never shoot to sell, I shoot to document my life and eventually good ones stand out. i took 20K images last year and keep them filed for future writing pieces. I'm fortunate because I have a dog so I'm rowing to shore every single day and sunset and dawn, the golden hours that most people miss while still in bed. On those bluebird sunny days I leave my camera behind, I love dramatic clouds and stormy weather. I prefer to get as close to my subject s I can but always leave lots of background to show the whole picture. I shoot 100% raw so if I screw something up I can fix it later. I love explosive colors and always have something in the foreground, usually people to give perspective to the background. I like uber fast lenses and use my DOF to my advantage although there are times when I prefer the snapshot look. My number one tip is learn your camera so you can manipulate every setting in the dark without thinking about it. Don't fight your composition your mind is smarter than you are and dont be afraid to shoot in full auto. I have many presets but will shoot 90% in aperture priority, my camera is smarter than me 99% of the time. I keep my playback off, I know when Ive nailed it and don't like to interrupt the process by checking what I already know. When shooting tourists and street I shoot from the hip very often with a good 35MM its hard to screw up. Last tip I throw all my lens caps away. If your camera isn't out and ready you will miss that one in a million shot. :) If you want some good inspiration on the creative side check out chasejarvise.com
 

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I use the Pelican case onboard. It's extra protection to keep the cameras dry, out of humidity (adding some desiccant bags to the case works well), and protected from bumps and such.

I use the drybag backpack (mine is made by Sea to Summit, but tons of companies make these) to carry the camera that I bring ashore. Common brands are Ortlieb, SealLine, Sea to Summit, and Seattle Sports. I've had trouble with Seattle Sports drybags falling apart at the seams, so I'd avoid that brand. I bought my bag through Sierra Trading Post or REI-Outlet, but neither seem to be offering them at the moment. REI has many options at full price.

On shore I primarily shoot with a 14mm/2.5 (28mm equivalent) or 20mm/1.7 (40mm equivalent) lens. The camera fits with either of those lenses into a small padded pouch that I can throw into the backpack along with whatever else is in there. The drybag is usually with me when walking around town and also has a couple of grocery bags, a rain jacket, water bottle, and space to carry anything I might come across and want.

When I'm back in Seattle that same drybag backpack turns into my "go sailing" bag. I keep it always ready to go with foul weather gear, an extra layer for warmth, sunscreen, gloves, a warm hat and rain hat... all of the essentials. It's what I grab if I'm going sailing on my boat or someone else's.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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1,409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok I've got a plan. I just ordered a camera backpack that has a removable camera and lens pouch. Once I get that I'll measure it and buy the appropriate sized pelican. The backpack isn't a drybag but does have a raincoat.

Barefoot, I looked at your blog, it says you in Friday harbor last summer, I wonder if I saw you there. I was there for a while. It's my first stop this year, I leave in two weeks. If you're up there maybe I'll meet you. You can give me tips.
 
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