I had the opportunity to “shoot” my first Color Run this last weekend. (If you are unfamiliar with what that is, check Google.) I was pretty excited to be going until I took a few minutes to check YouTube on how to best photograph this kind of an event. I expected to find information on the technical aspects like shutter speeds and f-stops. Instead I found dozens of videos on how to avoid DESTROYING your camera gear at one of these events. I have to say that I am glad that I saw this information before the color run. As a result I spent the last few hours before the runs start frantically digging up materials to avoid the horrors I was seeing and reading about on line.
So here is what makes a color run so devastating for photographers - It’s the colors! The colored powder that is used to cover the runners as they go by at stations along the route is extremely fine. When released into the air, the slightest breeze will turn it into a massive colored cloud. And of course it sticks to everything, especially skin, and sweaty skin all the more. While it’s harmless to the runners and will (they say) wash off and out of clothing, the same can’t be said for camera gear. And (according to the “experts” on line who have experience with this) even a weather sealed professional camera body and lens is no match for this stuff. It WILL get on and into ALL of your exposed camera gear. The solution is to approach the problem like a biological or chemical attack! The secret is to seal everything up. I won’t go into the techniques for doing that here, as there are many good YouTube videos that do that. But here are a few images of my camera after following those instructions.
According to the various videos on the subject, the best thing to use for enclosing your camera is a camera rain sleeve. I didn’t have one so I used a large clear plastic bag “barrowed” from my wife’s scrapbooking supplies. A hole in the bottom for the lens, and a small one for the viewfinder, and a bunch of electrical tape to seal ALL the edges. And I put a clear UV lens filter on the lens and sealed the outside edge with more tape around it and the lens hood. Oh, and two small holes for my neck strap, also sealed with tape. After some practice, the controls were easy to operate through the plastic. One mistake I made, however, was failing to leave enough slack room in the plastic bag to account for the zoom on my lens. So I live and learn! My precautions were well worth it. I returned from the color run covered in blue and yellow powder, but my camera was clean and secure. See, it DOES pay to do a bit of research before a new photography experience!