Imagine a trip of a lifetime to Iceland. You’re at the imposing Seljalandsfoss, a 200’ tall waterfall that you can walk behind. The sun is low on the horizon and you have a marvelous composition. You go to take a picture and . . . nothing. The mist from the waterfall got into your lens, which wasn’t sealed against weather. Nothing works. Frustration!
You walk away from the waterfall and switch lenses. Thankfully, the camera works again. Now you go to Diamond Beach, near Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to photograph icebergs on the black sand beach. The wind is blowing and surf crashing. You put a graduated neutral density filter on to even out the exposure between sky and ocean. The spray leaves droplets on your filter, so you grab a towel and wipe it off and take the shot. Later, you realize your expensive Grad ND filter is scratched. Why? Because, well, it’s salt water and blowing volcanic sand that were on your filter and, as you wiped it dry, they scratched the glass.
Whether you’re in Iceland, Death Valley or Washington, DC, the elements are your friend and your foe. Some of the best photos come during the worst weather. And, if you’ve been taking pictures long enough, you’ve seen these situations where gear gets damaged by the elements. Maybe it’s happened to you.