FAQ: how do you keep your camera from getting dusty at burning man?!

A: you don't!


if you don't want your camera to get dusty, don't bring it :)


(prompted by a shot of the talented mr. nightshade's camera)


A better question: how do you protect your camera at Burning Man? Gear insurance.

  • Georg Wallner 6y

    I really need to see burning man. Another good reason to get a cheap used EOS 1v.
  • sfritz2994 6y

    I've been to and photographed Burning Man for the last 10 consecutive years. I always used a nonSLR digicam. This year I plan to bring my Canon 5dmk2. So, I'm nervous. However, none of my cameras ever failed at Burning Man. None of them came back looking like sgoralnick's (cool image!).

    I keep my cameras in zipped camera bags (most recently LowePro AW300 Slingshot). They only come out when I'm ready to take a photo, then they go back in, unless of course its going to be a series of photos. Anyway, as much as possible they stay in the zipped camera bag (at Burning Man). No walking around with the camera out unless in a high target area for shooting.

    The other thing I've noticed is that the combination of playa dust with suntan lotion creates a grime that is more likely to stick to the camera. After putting on your suntan lotion, get it off your fingers/palms as much as possible, maybe with hand sanitizer.

    I'm going to try to not do any lens changes (although I will be tempted), and just use the kit lens. I also have an inexpensive Op-Tech rain sleeve that may or may not come into play.

    My burning man photos are here...

  • NikonD80 Mondaze Haze Maze 6y

  • bissonphoto 6y

    In the 90's I lost every film camera I used out there because you would have to expose the innards while changing film. With digital cameras it is possible to protect things much better than with film cameras. I try not to let my expensive gear get too dirty by wrapping the sensitive parts in plastic wrap. It works well as long as he necessary moving parts are loosely wrapped so they are free to spin.

    A front filter is always useful.
  • Jon Ander Rabadan 6y

  • James Addison 5y

    D200 Camera abuse - Playatized by extramatic

    I cleaned my camera back to mint condition and sold it in perfect working order. Let's see if my new Nikon D700 can handle the dust this year.

    I think I'll try an anti-static spray or wipe protectant this year:
    Krylon also produces a clear latex spray for electronics:
    Final Update:
    I will be WAXING my camera with CLEAR CAR WAX. It should be easier to clean off the dust when I return home. I think the dust forms a strong electostatic bond to surfaces which makes cleaning difficult (especially on porous rubber components. I'm hoping it will provide an extra layer of dust protection.
  • Tristram 5y

    copious and creative use of electrical tape helps =)
  • Dan Hiris 5y

    The pictures taken were well worth the damage. You can't see a dust speck in them.
  • LynxPics 5y

    Heh, mine wasn't quite as bad but it's unavoidable out there... if I didn't take my good gear, I'd regret the shots I failed to get. Great shots in your BM collections, thank you for sharing them!
  • Colin Roohan 5y

    who do you use for insurance? recommendations
  • Tristram 5y


    If you're a hobbyist and not a professional (as in, deriving your income from shooting), the cheapest option is to get home owners / renters insurance and do what's called linking or scheduling your photo gear to the insurance. This removes the deductible and, at least with my company, makes the insurance apply anywhere I happen to be-- not just in my home.

    It's just a couple hundred a year.
  • Joel Ogden 4y

    All of this raises the question: What can I do to ensure that the used camera/lenses I buy were NEVER used at Burning Man?
  • Dan Hiris 4y

    Joel Ogden Does it smell like Patchouli? If yes, don't buy it.
  • sgoralnick 4y

    heh. don't buy a used camera ;) as there's lots of other terrible places for equipment to be. the canon techs said gear coming in from burning man is nothing compared to gear that was used here.
  • Eric Harvey Brown 4y

    haha, well-said sg
  • Dan Hiris 4y

    sgoralnick Looks like a job for an under-tomato case.
  • ted939 4y

    Sgoralnick: What insurance do you use for your gear?
  • Martin Clark 4y

    I used an Aquapac SLR Waterproof Camera Case on the dustiest day, which works really well at keeping the dust out, but is a bit fiddly to use. It is only £60 though. I just left it to chance on the other days (although kept the camera in an easy-access shoulder bag when not in use).
  • sgoralnick 4y

    yeah, i just find it easier to brush off the dust rather than to encase it in something that makes it less usable/functional.
  • Keith Alstrin 2y

    I used a EWA Marine underwater soft case($350) for my D4 this year and was really unhappy as it restricted my 24-70mm almost completely to about 50mm and the buttons and toggles were very hard to use. I did have a hard case for my little all manual Canon point and shoot and was extremely happy with it. I make a living with my D4 and only made one claim in paying for insurance for my gear for 15 years so I have dropped my insurance. I do plan on continuing to go to BM every year so I am planning on buying a Aquatec underwater hard case ($2,000) for my D4 for next year. I see all those or you guys out there with the dust coated nice cameras and just can't do it myself so a hard case is my solution and suggestion if your serious about keeping your gear good. Everything else I take out there is never quite the same so I can not expect a expensive piece of electronic equipment to be any different. Or, if I can find a rental house to rent me one for two weeks for a reasonable price I would do that to.
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Taken on September 8, 2008
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