While most folks might find the idea of living and photographing in Hawaii as paradise, for a photographer living at the edge of a rainforest, the battle to protect his cameras and lenses from fungus is a constant threat.
After losing a 300mm 2.8 lens to the stuff, Maui photographer Zane Mathias decided to get proactive to win the battle. He created a camera/lens storage box, powered by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, to keep the fungus at bay.
Mathias started with an old steamer trunk that doubles as a coffee table in his tiny jungle home. He gutted the interior, then drilled some holes in the back – one for an electric cord and the rest to dissipate heat.
The next step was to affix extra lens butt caps onto a board, one per lens, and placed the board at the bottom of the case. Each lens stores vertically, attached to its own butt cap.
“Make sure you test the spacing,” he adds, “and leave room for future purchases.”
The final step is to install a shop light with a regular incandescent bulb.
“Sixty watts will do it,” says Mathias. “Don’t use fluorescent lights. They don’t give off the heat required to stop the fungus.”
Then close the case and turn on the light, which burns 24/7. That’s it.
“Since creating this storage case,” he adds, “I’ve been fungus-free for more than eight years. Living in a place where it rains every day, that says a lot.”