Photographer Gives His Nikon Gear a DIY “Desert Mirage Lizard” Paint Job


Lebanese photographer Alexy Joffre Frangieh is a professional time-lapse creator, and often puts his camera gear in extremely hot environments to create his shots. In order to help dissipate heat, he decided to give one of his kits a custom paint job. The resulting kit looks like something a military might officially assign its combat photographers.

Rather than use ordinary paints, Frangieh went with “Desert Mirage Lizard Camouflage”, a high-end military-grade compound (it’s something an army might use on its equipment).

Another interesting choice was Frangieh’s decision not to disassemble the gear prior to painting it. Instead, he spent two days applying protective masking to the areas of his gear that he didn’t want painted.

Once the gear was masked, he applied the compound by manually airbrushing the gear — a task that took four days to complete. The compound is dry and firm enough to be used after three days, but it reaches its maximum durability in three weeks. At that point, it becomes “as hard as ceramic,” Frangieh says.

Here’s the sweet-looking camera kit that resulted:












Frangieh tells us that in addition to helping reduce heat, the bright paint makes it easier for him to navigate the camera’s interface at night, since it’s “complementary to illuminated buttons.”

You can find a larger gallery of this “Desert Mirage Lizard” kit in this Facebook album.

You can also find some of Frangieh’s photography and time-lapse work on his YouTube channel and through his Facebook albums.

(via Nikon Rumors)

Image credits: Photographs by Alexy Joffre Frangieh and used with permission

  • Joakim

    I’d expect white would reflect more light than this.

  • Delowa

    The moment his agent rings with a job covering the North pole for a month…
    i just want to be there…

  • Josiah Wilson

    White would also be blinding.

  • EF

    Positive comment: That looks really good. Much better than any white camera out there.
    Negative comment: Shouldn’t the inside of the hoods remain black?

  • Mansgame

    I take it his warranty is now void?

  • Brett Martin

    Air brushing, spray painting or otherwise forcefully applying an aerated paint to delicate camera equipment seems like a poor decision. I know how easily it is for sand and other particles to find their way inside camera equipment, paint would be much worse.

  • Tommy Sar

    Yeah, that’s kind of an oversight in regards to inside of hood.

  • Dave Nunez

    Painting the inside of the hood a light color would be like holding a reflector below your lens – he’s gonna get a ton of veiling glare.

  • Jacob Evans

    I’m guessing the manufacture would of made them as a standard black right or do them come as white also?

  • nope.

    Well, at least his equipment is pretty recognisable should it be stolen.

  • Alan Dove

    The paint is called DuraCoat. It’s designed for painting firearms. It’s also available in hot pink, which would be a great way to theft-proof your gear.

  • guest

    Just hope for his sake that a soldier does not mistake his camera for a homemade RPG of sorts, that would be BAD

  • harumph

    The paint compound he used is insulating, so the heat reduction is less about the color than it is about the insulating properties of the paint.

  • joe

    awesome camera and tons of really expensive equipment.

    mediocre time lapses? something doesn’t jive.

  • Dávid Fehér

    somebody please share this with Kai W and the DRTV Team. :)

  • Pedro

    Speedlight in the desert?

  • Michael Palmer

    Very nicely done, but so fugly!

  • joe

    You can see all his quality agent phoneringing work on his youtube and facebook. truly high quality.

  • Gar Travis

    A pig with lipstick is still a pig… ;)

  • Fred Nerks

    You got in, first. I noticed the same thing as it jumped right out at me.

    Regarding black gear, a photographic magazine reported that black camera bags don’t draw the heat any more than light-colored ones do. I’d have to disagree with that, having worn black T shirts in the sun and found them to be extremely hot and uncomfortable compared with white ones. Alexy was obviously aware of this phenomenon.

  • Rob S

    So now instead of uniform heating across his gear as the manufacture intended he will get bands of hot and not as hot. On the lenses this could cause some serious issues. A simple white cover – like a $1 bit of cloth – would have been more effective. Even better a $20 cloth that is white AND has a Gortex layer to keep out the elements. Of course he does live in the middle east so he might have a hard time finding something like that (Keffiyeh) or someone with experience trying to cover items to keep the heat out………

  • Rob S

    Go to flickr and you will see lots of wonderful equipment taking really bad pictures. You will also see lots of consumer/entry level/inexpensive gear taking amazing pictures. Im starting to think its not the gear……….. :)

  • Charles Unitas

    It’s what you would call “sexy ugly”.

  • SpaceMan

    Hey I don’t see no lipstick on your profile pic…

  • Kodachrome64

    That’s basic science, black objects absorb visible light instead of reflecting it, that’s actually why they’re black! What was this magazine thinking???

  • Doug Gibbons

    Lighting can be harsh in a desert & a speed light would
    fill or balance out shadows or a scene.

  • horatiu

    Looks good, but it’s interesting how he succeeded this without tearing everything apart.

  • Graham

    not to mention his resale value just went down the toilet.

  • David Hwang

    If the paint is a flat color would it really matter? I would understand if it were a glossy type.

  • Simba Thinkus

    you guys are obv photography experts, not paint experts, research the paint used and open ur mind

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    i’ve considered painting my gear with thermochromic paint. black in winter, white in summer.

  • easystuff

    Not only that.. Did you ever think why locals who travel vast deserts don’t wear white? Because it actually doesn’t repel the sun like everyone thinks. I won’t bore you with why so go have a educated read on Google about it.

  • ahmed

    Haha!! You beat me to it. In dessert white is reverse affect! But unless you live in dessert you not know. It funny to see tourist wearing white sweating very much. We have to teach them hard the opposite.

  • Money

    he’s thinking i got 3 more of these beasts. If it doesnt work out well with this one i’ll sell it on ebay and get another one.

  • John

    He saw the video of Kai painting ping the leica m9

  • Attila Halasi

    Attila.-59 days.Hung. Cegléd. Kossuth Ferenc ut 61/A. C. 2.6.

  • Tony Pinder

    Great idea but I wonder about the warranty?
    All gone I suspect.

  • Otto Fauxcas

    Pssst…Rob was speaking with tongue-in-cheek.

  • Steve Nordquist

    Yeah that’s awesome depth of field! Tell me you used NeverWet instead of IR-reflecting paint?

  • Wayne Stacy

    He used Duracoate,….same thing we use on weapons and just about anything else that stays in direct contact with the sun, or gets banged around a lot.

  • Merijn Yona

    Appearently you havent got yourself educated, as white does repel the sun. The only reason why people in deserts wear black is because they themselves are a heatsource as well…. whereas a camera is not a warm sweating human body that needs to cool its self.

  • Ken Swenson

    Nice job, but I wonder if Nikon will honor the warranty on his gear now….

  • rolfen

    I’d say the opposite, regarding the resale value, on condition that the paint holds well.

  • rolfen

    Kai-TV will be hurt in their ego. It doesn’t make the “pinkenta” look good.