Pattaya (Thailand) – Thailand’s new year festival and world’s largest water fight has started and I was told that it would be stupid, no actually insane, to carry my digital SLR and good lens through hordes of crazed kids with water guns, drunk adults with buckets of ice cold water and smiling old ladies smearing talcum powder on my face. But don’t you dare tell any self-respecting photographer that he can’t get a shot because of a little bit of water.
Traditionally Songkran lasts several days with monks blessing people by dabbing a little water on people’s heads, but somehow it has mutated into an all-out battle with high-power water guns, high-pressure PVC hoses and LARGE buckets of ice-cubed-filled water. Many photographers take pictures with a cheap disposable camera, but I was hell-bent on using my Canon Digital Rebel XT with the 70-200L lens. There had to be a way.
I emailed a few military friends who had been stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq and they gave me some very good tips. Apparently keeping out fine talcum powder like dust in the deserts is a similar problem to keeping out water. So I went to the local store and picked up a box of GLAD ClingWrap and some double-sided tape.
I have a decent UV filter which screws in over the front of the len, so that would take the brunt of the damage. I figure the filter will be damaged beyond repair by the end of the week, so I didn’t bother to put any protection over it.
The basic plan was to wrap the camera and lens with the ClingWrap and then secure the seams with the double-side tape. First I stuck the tape around the seam where the UV filter and the main lens met. Then I put another circle of tape around the end of the lens where it met with the camera. I exposed the sticky second side and wrapped my first layer of ClingWrap around the lens (leaving the UV lens open). I then wrapped the lens with another layer of wrap and the camera body with two layers of warp and tightened it down with another layer of tape. After about 15 minutes, I had something that resembled a shiny plastic cocoon.
Now it was time to test it out and judging by the screaming coming from my outside the hotel, the world’s largest water fight was in full swing. I’ll let you know tomorrow if everything worked out ok, but I’ve included a teaser pic in the gallery to whet your appetite.