I'm considering a disaster recovery trip to a Caribbean island recently ravaged by hurricanes. Is it foolish to bring my camera? My camera's a lightweight mirrorless camera, and I'm considering bringing along my lightweight tripod as well.

As this place was ravaged by hurricanes and electricity is naught I'm already planning on taking a solar panel (& portable charger) to charge my batteries, and carry extra batteries.

Does anyone have experience with photography in these kinds of environments? Any suggestions or things to avoid?

As far as ethics go, I will definitely ask people their permission before taking photos.

One Concern I have: In reading reviews of my camera, some complains have been a critical system error saying the lens isn't attached, typically reported by people traveling. What's the reason for this, and is it avoidable?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your precautions need not include hiding your camera from us. Please clarify otherwise your question about the lens attachment error is near to unsolvable. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 15:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bringing a solar panel to a disaster area where people lack electricity for the exclusive purpose of charging camera batteries is perhaps more fraught with ethical challenges than whether or not people consent to be photographed. Good luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – user50888
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 15:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @benrudgers, I doubt that one solar battery will help to restore power in the island or make running a water production industry. You could make the same argument about camera battery... \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ How long will you be there? Depending on how long you will be there, it might make more sense to just bring several camera batteries. Also, are you flying in, and if so, will you be flying on a large commercial jet, or will the last leg be on a small turboprop? If it's a small turboprop, quite often you will have strict weight limits, in which case, I'd recommend stocking essentials (food, water, toiletries) rather than digital gear. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Have you seen photos from the island? Then cameras can work there. The photos you will take will be new and unique, so there is every reason to take a camera with you.

While I have never been to a disaster zone like that one, I have been to the jungle which is one of the harshest places for digital cameras. The main concerns are high humidity, which the Caribbean will certainly have, and power. The solar panel is the way to go and I used it for 3 weeks straight but you need a spare battery. Each day you shoot with one, while the other ones charges since you cannot charge at night.

For humidity, bring plenty of ziplocks and keep you camera in there with silica gel to keep moisture out. Also when going in and out of areas with different temperatures, keep the camera in the bag and let it adapt slowly to avoid condensation.

A submersible case is a possibility but probably overkill. If your camera can fail, it can fail at home too but in the Caribbean you will need to keep shooting, so the best thing to do is bring a backup camera and lens, or it could be a small rugged compact, depending on the quality of photos you want to bring back. Having two identical cameras is more practical since you can reuse lenses, batteries, memory cards and charges, so I usually travel that way and only carry a different camera as third one.


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