I spent the last weekend at Lonavala with my close friend Abhijeet Jayavant at his family home in Lonavala. The house is some 600 feet farther up than the main town, on the road to Aamby valley. Thankfully, this also means that it's in a near-pristine location, far-removed from the madness at, say, Bushi dam, where people seem to almost take pleasure in littering and driving on the wrong side of the road.
The monsoon hasn't exactly been intense this year, with sporadic showers between long spells of sunshine. June had a few good downpours, but July has been almost entirely bone-dry.
I was thus hoping to find and photograph bees there for my pollinator project, but as luck would have it, the weather literally put a dampener on my plans. Had we made the trip a week prior, I might've had a little more luck.
When the skies darkened in Mumbai, I knew it'd be pouring in Lonavala, so I took the opportunity to test a do-it-yourself raincoat for my camera.
The road trip itself was mostly uneventful, but we hit some serious fog on the last leg of our journey to Abhijeet's house.
Once we got to his house, we ventured out almost immediately. Immediately after I'd weather-proofed my camera. And after two beers and a rum 'n coke.
Now, I've seen a lot of protective gear for cameras. Short of the underwater housings that cost as much as a camera body, I haven't found any of it to be worth the money one spends on it.
If anybody has recommendations, please feel free to post a few in the comments, but I prefer a DIY low-tech approach. Mostly because I'm a cheap bastard.
Haha, just kidding. I'm a photographer.
We're all cheap bastards.
With that in mind, transparent shower caps and elastic bands seem to work well. The downside is that you can't change lenses once the camera is in it's shower-cap-nappy, and using command dials can be a little tricky. Not that you can change lenses during a downpour with other kinds of protective gear anyway, but I kept wanting to switch to the wide-angle lens that I'd brought along with me but rarely used it.
The upside, of course, is that it's cheap and effective.
Note to folks who might want to try this (or people who've had two beers before attempting to do so): when using a radio trigger and a flash, make sure that the trigger is secured on your camera's hotshoe and that it is triggering the flash before you start wrapping the camera up in a shower cap. Removing the shower caps and re-securing them with the bands is a bit of a chore.
Anyway, here's the camera and flash with their plastic nappies:
Once that was done, we were all set to go shooting six-legged critters. I knew I wasn't going to find bees: it was either continuously drizzling or pouring like crazy, and bees don't venture out in the rain.
But the makeshift protection proved to work and I did manage to get a few good photos of some other arthropods: