Introduction: Make Your Hasselblad Not Afraid of Water

About: Maker at heart, and cyclist. Typewriter collector and black and white film photography enthusiast.

It’s this time of year again in Thailand when everybody is stocking up on water guns and ready for a country wide all out water war. It’s Songkran! The Thai New Year and water festival.

Because my favorite past time is making my life difficult, I am on a mission to document this spectacle with my lovely Hasselblad. And because I love my Hasselblad so much, I am making him a custom raincoat specifically just for this event!

This tutorial will allow you to take your camera with you, and capture images in wet environments you wouldn’t be able to otherwise, including, but not limited to: water festivals, rain showers, in the shower, and many others.

Here’s what you will need to get started:

  1. Camera
  2. Lots of Rubber Bands
  3. A Pair of Scissors
  4. Plastic Bags

Okay let’s get started!

Step 1: Fitting the Plastic Water Shield

  1. First of all, take off the hood. If you don’t have one, I advise you to get one, it helps to shield the front element from water.
  2. Place your camera into the left half of the plastic bag. The reason for this is because you will need space on the right to insert your arm to focus the Hasselblad.
  3. Now find a spot that you want your lens to peek through, and start wrapping rubber bands around the tip of the barrel. If you have an 80mm lens like me, there is only one perfect place to place the rubber bands: right below the bayonet ridges for the hood, and above the shutter speed ring. Any higher, the rubber bands might slip off, and any lower, you won’t be able to change shutter speed without twisting the plastic bag along with it.

Step 2: Cutting the First Opening

  1. After you’ve fixed the plastic bag in place with rubber bands, use your scissors to cut an opening for your Carl Zeiss to peek through.
  2. Replace the hood.

You're almost there, let's move on to the eyepiece.

Step 3: Open Up the Eyepiece

Repeat the exact same steps for the eyepiece:

  1. Find a spot you want to use as an opening
  2. Start fastening the plastic bag to your eyepiece with rubber bands
  3. Once the plastic is fixed in place, cut a small opening with your scissors
  4. Because the eyepiece is tapered, use your fingers to stretch the opening big enough so that the excess plastic can be pushed behind the eyepiece rubber

Step 4: Go Out and Get Wet!

That's it. You're set!

Go out and create amazing pictures. But don't forget to bring spare plastic bags and rubber bands in case you will need to fix things up along the way.

I will update this posting after all three days of festivities has subsided to tell y'all how well this thingamajig works.

Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading


Step 5: UPDATE: Epilogue and Resulting Photos

My Hasselblad survived the festivities.

I had to carry a dry cloth with me for times when some kid thinks it's smart to shoot his water gun straight at my lens. The eye piece also fogged up at one point, then I discovered that it unscrews to expose the chasm between the pentaprism and the eye cup lens, so I left it to dry out over lunch.

I also realize that if I didn't have the rain cover on my camera, people will try not to pour a bucket full of water on me. The plastic shield kind of made me "fair game", so after the first day, I carried around the camera naked. There's a few splashes here and there, but nothing really to worry about.

I can't wait to get back stateside and develop the 20 or so rolls I exposed. Let's hope they pass through airport security intact!

Update 2: I finally developed and scanned photos from Songkran. I purchased a Hasselblad light seal replacement kit on eBay before I left for Thailand and did the replacement. It turns out I did a horrible job. 70% of the pictures had a strip of light on the frame. I'll just say it adds to the "artistic" effect :P

Overall I'm very happy with the results :)