Camera Care How To Start For Better End
I have travelled a lot. Part of travelling has been the process of meeting people. I feel that when exploring new horizons, you have to unite with fellow travelers. There is a sense of community, a solidarity that has a strong foundation in being an outsider in a foreign country. Meaning? When a crisis arises, I find it in my best interest to be there for my fellow globe trotter as I would hope for the same. Sure, I sat with people and brainstormed how to cope with their recently stolen passport. I have helped people make phone calls back home after having fallen victim to a drunkenly misplaced debit card. I have helped transport dreadfully ill travelers to hospitals and translated when possible. But there is one travel crisis that statistically exceeds those of any other I have encountered. That is the catastrophe of the camera crisis.
Cameras are essential for travelers. After graduating for college, I took off on an African adventure. What did I want for my graduation present? Just a digital camera. Nothing fancy. My only requirements were that it be compact, and able to take pictures quickly. I love my little camera, I am by no means a professional photographer and it certainly didn’t cost a fortune. Regardless of my general lack of expertise and skills, I have no idea what I would do without it. My camera helps me to preserve memories, even the charm of the worse of shots. It’s how I share these memories with people back home. It is, in short, my most faithful and necessary travel companion.
Naturally, I sympathize with the heartbreak of anyone who suffers camera woe mid-journey.
In order to help you avoid this crisis personally, I have addressed below some of the most common causes of camera catastrophes.
Water doesn’t go well with just about anything other than your body and more water. It is the worst substance to which you can expose any electronic. How many of you have dropped your phone in the toilet? Or had a little too much to drink and knocked over a glass of water, or beer, and the next morning realized it seeped into the bottom of your laptop? These things happen. I suggest being conscious of water a few ways. For starters, consider how you’re transporting your camera. I don’t have a water proof camera case and I typically keep my camera in my purse. However, I live in a country where there is a raining season that consists of torrential downpour for two months. Just because I look like a drowned sewer rat doesn’t mean that I have to fry my camera. In order to salvage my camera from tropical thunderstorms, I either leave it at home or I keep it inside of the case inside of a plastic bag inside of my purse. Also, use the hand strap. Water landscapes are beautiful to photograph. With that being said, you really regret it as you watch your camera plummet to its watery grave.
There are few cameras in the world that can survive even the smallest of falls. Be kind to your camera and respect its fragility. Use the wrist strap. Keep the case closed. And don’t leave it on precarious surfaces. Nothing is more devastating than that harsh intake of breath as you watch your camera tumble down a flight of stairs. Nothing is more frustrating than forking out the money for a replacement when the damage was caused by carelessness.
Perhaps the second most common of camera woe that I have encountered in my travels. I have met various fellow English teachers in my travels whom have had their cameras stolen. Two of my coworkers have had their cameras stolen twice in the 6 months that they have resided here. Common places are beaches, markets, the street, their own room, hostels, and buses. I know. That really narrows it down, doesn’t it? Look, sarcasm aside, sometimes theft can’t be avoided. Not all of the people that I work with are bumbling idiots, sometimes you just get hit with a stint of bad luck. But let’s face it; cameras are a hot commodity, right next to passports and money. When you are walking around be aware of where your camera is. If you are walking into a crowded location, don’t keep your backpack on your back. Rather, pull it to your side. If you have a large camera that requires a shoulder strap, wear it across your chest and keep the bag closed-this also helps to prevent collision tragedies. Basically, as jaded as this sounds, assume that there is someone around you who wants your camera. I have seen a lot of stupid people walking around places like the local market with the cases open, draped over their shoulder loosely, and hanging behind them. I can almost guarantee you that they didn’t go home with a camera.
Dust and dirt get jammed in all of the precious crevices and prevent your camera from functioning properly and sometimes functioning at all. A few weeks ago I went to the beach with a friend. She brought her camera, and after snapping a few photos put it down on her towel next to her. A few minutes later, she stood up forgetting about it and thus knocking it off of the towel and into the sand. Sand got into the lens. The cameras wouldn’t function at all. We took it to a repair guy, and after a few days he concluded that sand hadn’t just entered the lens, but many essential crevices. The camera was totaled. All because of a few measly seconds of sand exposure. Keep your camera in the case when you are done snapping your photos, and when you aren’t using it don’t just leave it laying out in your house. Storage is key in camera longevity.
Cameras are kind of like vampires. In order to subsist in this crazy world, they require an optimal habitat. For cameras, heat and sunlight can be detrimental. Heat from direct sun exposure can destroy film and melt various gizmos and gadgets. With that being said, extreme cold can also have a serious impact on functionality. Ready for my confession of stupidity? Let me first precede this by saying that I have had three cameras. Ever. My first camera was a hand me down from my mother and one of the first digital cameras. It was a brick. It was as slow as a tortoise, had terrible image quality, and it lasted pretty much all the way through college-unfortunately, since this meant that I couldn’t justify spending money on a better camera. I did have one camera in the interim between my brick and my graduation present. It was probably the cheapest digital camera on the market, and yet another hand-me-down, but it was sufficient for what I needed. One night, I went out with my boyfriend. Upon getting home, I forgot that I had placed the camera in the front seat compartment. That night, as with many mountainous winter nights, the temperature dropped. It was the kind of night where the next morning you have to spend 15 minutes heating up the car and scraping it off before driving to work. Needless to say, the camera never worked again.
I hope that you take heed to my warnings of camera carelessness. Remember that while solidarity is a good thing, you don’t want to be the one in need of sympathy. Especially for causes that you have the ability to prevent!
I like to take this time to thank Tina Stelling for helping me with this amazing article. Check out her works at www.tinastelling.com
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