Random in Country Fixes . . .

Or what to do when Murphy’s Law Strikes.

Fogged lenses – While trying to shoot during the summer in Oman, my lenses, viewfinder and internal glass would fog up continually ruining every shot. I was given one day to capture the Chedi Hotel in Muscat while temperatures reached 42% Celsius with 100% humidity. My camera had been inside air conditioning during the night and the swing in temperature was to great for it.

Solution…leaving the camera in its sling bag, I left it outside for one hour before shooting. This gave the camera enough time to slowly warm to the outside temperatures reducing continual condensation. Before shooting, I took a micro filter cloth and cleaned the moisture from any area of the glass or body that still showed humidity. Given that the shoot was done in three stages during the day and night, this added three hours to the job but ensured that once I started shooting, the lenses stayed clean and free of moisture.

Desert Rain – Given that a considerable amount of my work is done in the middle east, I have had to adapt processes for keeping cameras working while shooting in the desert. Blowing sand is deadly to the workings of any camera and will make the sensor almost unusable after even a quick lens change. I am accustomed to this, so I always carry two bodies whenever I shoot in the desert. I fit a wide angle lens for landscapes on one and an 18 – 200 lens on the other. This covers 95% of my shooting needs and ensures I won’t have to change lenses exposing the sensor until I am back inside.

This time was different, however, since a freak rainstorm provided me with a rare opportunity to capture the flooding of Wadi’s (river beds) that typically remain dry for years. Not having expected rain in the desert, I had no umbrella and the storm was too strong to risk shooting without cover.

Solution…I always carry a large zip-lock freezer bag for the rare case that I might have to change lenses on location. Using it and a bit of common sense, I have been able to avoid ruing the sensor even in sand storms. By putting the camera in the bag, pointing the lens out the opening and tearing a small hole for the tri-pod mount, I was able to protect the camera almost entirely. The only part exposed was the front glass which I wiped with a micro-filter cloth before each shot. I was drenched by the end bt the camera remained dry.

For the future after speaking to some fellow photographers, I have decided to buy a diving bag for my camera. A plastic bag with lens fitting, this will protect against any weather conditions while still allowing the flexibility to control all aspects of the shoot.

Oops…I dropped the camera. Ok, it happens to all of us. In the excitement to capture a dam in Jordan, I lept over a guard rail only to fall flat on my face…camera first. The power block broke and the camera stopped working. As luck would have it, I only had one body with me so, for all intensive purposes, my assignment was over. Renting another body was impossible at Petra, Jordan, so what could be done.

The solution – not wanting to return completely empty handed, I found a photo shop that sold disposable digital cameras. It was a beautiful day; the light was perfect. With my assistant making numerous unkind jokes about the quality of my equipment, I set out to see if my eye was good enough to take usable shots with no ability to change lenses, adjust white balance or even the focus settings. I spent hours finding the perfect angle, light and position for each shot.

When I returned to civilization, I had the camera developed for high res CD…and, the final results (with a little help from photoshop) were more than acceptable to the client, who intended to use the photos in a travel book to augment prior work.